Meet Maggie Owen
The jeweller and owner of her own shop, Maggie Owen tells us why she loves Bloomsbury…
“There’s something very gracious about Bloomsbury. Perhaps it’s the squares, laid out in the 18th and 19th centuries, the elegant Georgian houses and terraces, and the fact that it has some of the most unspoiled shopping streets in London, including Marchmont Street and Lamb’s Conduit Street. It’s in the architecture of University College London, the hotels, and the attractions including the British Museum - the area’s crowning glory – and wonderful smaller finds like the Foundling Museum at Brunswick Square.
It’s an area that is renewing itself, while retaining a real flavour of true London
Perhaps it’s also that Bloomsbury is the centre of publishing and British literary life, which is a living tradition: for example, there’s an exquisite publisher’s bookshop near my shop owned by Persephone Books. The bulk of London’s law firms are nearby as well, so it’s no wonder there are several good places to go for lunch.
What this all means is that Bloomsbury is a very agreeable area to walk around and take the air. There are lots of independent shops in which to browse, and although big fashion brands have moved in, such as J.Crew in Lamb’s Conduit Street just around the corner from me, Bloomsbury’s appeal is definitely not ‘high street’. Since I came here in 2006, I’ve noticed the area become more of a shopping destination and Saturdays have become busier - without losing that special atmosphere.
Culturally, Bloomsbury is one of London’s richest areas, and it attracts cultivated tourists because of its literary connections. There’s Dickens Museum in Doughty Street, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath honeymooned on Rugby Street opposite our shop, and of course, that long association with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Set. But Bloomsbury is no museum. It’s an area that is renewing itself, while retaining a real flavour of true London.”
Maggie Owen, 13 Rugby Street, WC1, www.maggieowenlondon.com
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