Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Love Letter Featured, and a Chop House

Recently, a lovely lady from a website called Be In Style contacted me to say she wanted to feature Love Letter from London in their weekly series which hand-picks style blogs of interest from around the internet. You can read the feature here, which focuses on vintage and crafty style blogs, and which also happens to include one of my regular reads, Molly-Made.

For the article, I was asked to pick a picture which encapsulated Love Letter from London - which was a lot harder than I anticipated! I wanted to include my two main interests and usual focus of my blog - vintage style and historic architecture... but no one, individual picture captured both those things. After I'd looked through lots of pictures and rejected them all, I ended up popping out to grab some photos of one of my favourite local (and very London) buildings, with myself stood in front, in what I happened to be wearing one Sunday.

After emailing the above photo off to Be In Style for their feature, I thought I may as well turn the pics into a blog post! This was a casual Sunday outfit for a trip to the National Portrait Gallery to see the very satisfying Annual Portrait Award. (Recommended by me! And free!)

Top: Beyond Retro
Trousers: Off-cast from a friend
Shoes: Jones Bootmaker
Handbag: Beyond Retro
Earrings: Boutique shop (of which the actual name escapes me as it was many moons ago...)

The building has been glimpsed in a very early blog post. Located on Farringdon Road, near Rosebery Avenue, it's a late Victorian building, which was converted to a working class restaurant in the very early twentieth century, a place where someone could get a good, hearty meal for a reasonable price.

Alongside its fellow Victorian neighhbours

"London's noted cup of tea"

"Quick service" - important for working lads and men

"Civility" - as should be expected

"Progressive working class caterer"

"Jellied eels" - a familiar working class London food

... and less expected - "Caviar"!

The interiors are amazingly well preserved with fixed benches and tables, timber panelling and decorative pressed tin wall coverings (known as "steleorite"). The wonderful state of preservation of the original fittings and fixtures is one of the reasons this quirky piece of social history has been designated as a Grade II listed building. Sadly, it is presently closed, so this historic picture of the interior is all I can provide at present:

A festive, historic photo of the Quality Chop House (Image source)

Next time (or at some time in the future): the equally lovely Edwardian fire station opposite the Quality Chop House, as glimpsed in the glass reflections of the above photos. I just have to see if the firemen will agree to posing for some pictures for me...


  1. What a wonderful building! So many lovely details, I must visit it in person.
    Congratulations on your feature, very well deserved lovely lady. xx

    1. I'll let you know when (and if!) it opens back up again. I think I've known it closed for business more often than I've known it open, sadly. But hopefully it re-opens soon and the owners have good luck... I think it gets overlooked by all the people eating on Exmouth Market around the corner, as they don't realise the wonderful gem that's so close by.

  2. Such a fascinating place, love the tiles in the front, congrats on the feature! xxx

    1. Thank you! And yes, they're lovely aren't they. And I just love all the quaint things written on the glass.

  3. This was really interesting. I love seeing examples of working class buildings and representations of historical working class life much more than the upper-class equivalents. I have to admit that I never tried jellied eels when I was in London--I did see them somewhere and thought they looked thoroughly revolting! One day maybe...

    1. I think I agree with you there - for one thing, it's a little bit easier to identify with. Plus it all just seems so much more real. But no, I've never tried jellied eels either. I'm not much a fan of jellied meat of any kind so I'm not too enticed by the idea!

  4. Oh congratulations on the feature very well deserved! That building looks wonderful what a shame its not open! (I have tried jellied eels and can honestly say no matter how much of a Eastender I am, I will never try them again... yuck! They taste of cold salted slimy jelly with a bit of a fish taste... Shudder!) xxx

    1. I can't say that your description has enticed at all! I might keep my safe distance... Thanks for the warning! x

  5. Oh that is brilliant about your feature! Good on them for finding you too. Yes, I also agree about the working class buildings. A kind of honest, unpretentious feeling. The soul is closer t the surface or something. I love the "civility" and your comment - and the "progressive working class caterer". Interesting that they've made a point of the class.