There we were, fresh off the plane and standing in the lobby of our hotel near Buckingham Palace, when we learned our room wouldn't be ready for a few hours. What's a girl to do, except go paper shopping? Never mind that we hadn't slept on the way over, or that we could use a shower and a change of clothes .... musn't waste this opportunity! So off to Southampton Road to visit Falkiners Fine Papers, also known as Shepherds Bookbinding, for a paper grab. My husband was happy to walk over to the nearby British Museum while I shopped; he was longing to see the parts of the Parthenon that were missing on last year's visit to Athens.
This is one fabulous paper and bookbinding supply store! They have, literally, everything you could want ... hundreds of beautiful decorative sheets of paper, delicious paper for the text blocks, quality hand tools, pastes and glues, sewing thread, large wooden equipment, all located on two floors and with floor to ceiling paper racks. Amazing! There are many sheets of decorative paper stored on ladder-like bars, and even more sheets to buy, stored in large sample books at a counter and organized by type of paper ... Japanese, hand marbled, utility papers. You can settle in with a nice long list and a pencil, and just keep writing in your selections until you run out of room on the sheet.
I surrendered once again to the sirens' call of the hand marbled papers .... gorgeous big sheets, very nice quality base paper and reasonably priced, all made by Payhembury Marbled Papers in Cambridge. I have not seen these before in the U. S. or my other travels; they are exquisite, using an interesting color palette very different from the French, Spanish or Italian papers. Lucky for me, several of my selections from the books were out of stock at the store, so that left room to add from the Japanese screen print collection as well as some lovely little screened prints that will be perfect for endpapers.
My prized find of the day, however, was beautiful red sewing thread. You know how hard it is to find linen thread in a good red color here; I was so excited to see it I bought several "hanks" of it. The thread is 18/3 weight and unwaxed; although I haven't measured, there seems to be a generous amount in each bundle. Now my decorative spine bindings are going to be so much more colorful!
The staff there is very helpful and graciously allowed me to leave my purchases there for two weeks while we went off on our cruise, giving me the perfect excuse to return before we left for home. A great way to spend our first day in London!