Friday, 17 February 2012
Aperture - Rathbone Place W1
Fitzrovia - one of my favourite London neighbourhoods and luckily also where I work, so I get to hang out there at least 5 days a week. I used to think of Rathbone Place as my quickest route from Charlotte Street and also as the location of the Jerusalem bar which was a bit of a dot-com/Millennium hangout. The huge Royal Mail delivery & distribution centre dominates the western side of the street - but not for long as Royal Mail has sold it off and the last I heard it was going to be a major development called Newman Place (as the building runs through to Newman St). Over the last couple of years Rathbone Place has definitely poshed up - but in a good way. Tapped & Packed brought top quality caffeinated beverages in April 2010 and since then we have seen the opening of a Lazarides gallery, Byron Burgers (in the old Black Horse pub) and East Street, a vast pan Asian eatery (which I must say is a tad style over substance). Whilst some may see the last two openings as a sign that Rathbone Place is getting bland and chainy - be heartened by the opening this week of the second Aperture shop - what a gem. Selling beautiful old cameras (lots of Leicas that I covet like anything) and developing film, this beautifully set out and peaceful shop also has a charming tea area at the back where you can discuss white balance and focal length with your fellow camera-geeks. The original shop is in Museum St (in my other equal favourite London area, Bloomsbury) and I love the fact that such a unique, specialised shop has chosen to open an outpost in Fitzrovia. If you are in the market for a classic camera, or you want some film developed or indeed if you just want to relax over a cuppa - be sure to go and visit Aperture.