building of the week #10, Blewcoat School, SW1

blewcoat schoolJust off Victoria Street, tucked away behind Transport for London HQ and just minding it’s own business amongst the modern office blocks, is Blewcoat School.  Well, what was Blewcoat School anyway – established in 1709 but now, and I don’t know why I find this so disappointing but I do, the National Trust’s main London shop.  It says a lot about the Heritage Industry, as surely that is what The National Trust & English Heritage have become, that they have a building that you don’t actually visit to look around, you visit it to do some shopping.  I’m not knocking The National Trust, heaven forbid I am close to ‘that’ age when membership becomes compulsory, and I like a good Castle/Tea Room/Stately Home along with most people.  But having a historic building as a dedicated shop just feels slightly wrong to me, it’s not something I’ll lose a lot of sleep over or will move me to picket National Trust HQ, but it just irritates me.

But it is a lovely little building, all the more so because of it’s position in what is not one of London’s prettiest corners.  Hemmed in by a fair few shit modern office blocks, including one that houses the Korean Embassy in Buckingham Gate, Blewcoat School offers a bit of light relief as you recover from the horrendousness that is the modern extension of Wellington Barracks.

It’s only a wee building, so there isn’t much left to say, read more about the history of the school by clicking the highlighted link above, or just have a wander by if you are in the area.  Or, of course, if you have a desperate need for a National Trust Green Welly Pencil Pot you now know where to go.

blewcoat school IIblewcoat school III


2 thoughts on “building of the week #10, Blewcoat School, SW1

  1. I received a lovely National Trust birthday card yesterday, which included a token for a free pot of tea for two at a National Trust tea shop. Most of the year has been made dismal by surgery, which has left me unable to get out of London. So I was delighted to see, on the back of the token a list of participating National Trust cafes and the Blewcoat school listed among them.
    This was really good news, suddenly the prospect of a real National Trust tea room (with cakes) appeared as the most delightful and tempting prospect imaginable after a year of cloned chain coffee shops.
    First the card had to be validated with a unique code. I did manage that successfully and filled it in, hardly able to contain the impatience to make the vision a reality, rang to check opening times. I logged on to the website, where a lovely picture of the historic tea room promised tea room nirvana barely 20 minutes away.
    The telephone number rang interminably with no response, they must be really busy. Good. You want them to be successful. Closer study of the website showed a curt and unexplained message that this operation no longer functioned as a gift shop or tea room.
    The air slowly seeped from my party balloon, leaving a limp mound of disappointment. No tea pot, no cakes, no historic tea room. There’s a Starbucks at the end of my road.

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