Decorum Explores: World of Wedgwood

This year Christmas came early for Decorum, in the form of a visit to the newly opened World of Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent.

decorum times world of wedgwood 6

In the past few months we have worked closely with Wedgwood on the Wedgwood Home Fabrics and Wallcoverings collection by Blendworth, officially launched at Decorex International in September. Having gained insight into the brand and fallen in love with its archive, we jumped at the opportunity to visit the newly opened brand experience, bringing to life Wedgwood’s 250 years in the British ceramics industry.

Our visit started with – courtesy of Chris, Wedgwood’s Group Business Development Director – a tour of Wedgwood’s new office space and its thriving design studio. We were privileged to see the collections launching in 2016 and while we can’t share any details we can reveal that they present a striking and contemporary creative direction for Wedgwood.

decorum times world of wedgwood 2

We explored the brand’s museum which is home to the Wedgwood Collection, one of the most important ceramic collections in the world. It presents the illustrious history of the brand, from its beginnings with Josiah Wedgwood revolutionising the ceramics industry, through its global expansion, to today’s wealth of designs and collaborations. Among the tour’s highlights were the discovery that Josiah Wedgwood was the grandfather of Charles Darwin, seeing tens if not hundreds of trials for developing their famous Jasperware, as well as seeing the Frog service, a 50-person set intended for dinner and dessert, featuring a total of 1222 views of British landscapes, antiquities and gardens. The set was created especially for the Empress Catherine II of Russia.

decorum times world of wedgwood 3

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Following the museum visit, we entered the Wedgwood factory, which was the most enlightening part of our experience. Here we discovered the labour-intense process of creating Wedgwood ceramics, involving hours of craftsmanship from Wedgwood’s skilled artisans. Casting, figure making, pattern decorating, hand painting, ornamentation and gilding are only a few of the techniques honed at Wedgwood. For me the most captivating was the precision of craftsmen hand painting and gilding individual plates and cups as well as creating Jasperware pieces with carefully cut and placed relief decorations.

decorum times world of wedgwood factory

decorum times world of wedgwood factory 2

We also had a chance to test ourselves at the potter’s wheel, throwing our very own vases – it was a great fun, yet even creating a simple design like ours required detailed instructions from the Wedgwood potters who showed great focus and skill.

decorum times world of wedgwood potter wheel

Our day at the World of Wedgwood had an exquisite finale with an afternoon tea at the newly opened Tea Room. We can confirm that the teas and food were as delicious as the interiors were beautiful! We had the pleasure of sharing our afternoon tea with Chris from Wedgwood, gaining further insight into the company, its plans for 2016 and beyond. We’re already looking forward to seeing the Wedgwood Home collection launch at Maison et Objet in January and to working on the second collection of fabrics and wallcoverings developed in collaboration with Blendworth later next year.

decorum times world of wedgwood tea room

decorum times world of wedgwood tea room 2

If you’re passionate about design, love ceramics and heritage and are simply after a wonderful day out, make sure you book your tickets to World of Wedgwood immediately – it’s a perfect Christmas gift!

Little Luxuries: Rebecca’s Christmas Wishlist

I always have a wishlist on the go, but Christmas is the perfect opportunity to dream a little bigger. This year I’m asking Santa for a selection of luxurious accessories inspired by this season’s trend for warm metallics.

Stocking Fillers:

A must-have for anyone who rejects Kindles for the joy of leafing through the pages of a traditional book, ‘The Bookworm’ is Tom Dixon’s range of six bookmarks in etched brass. Including a fountain pen, a magnifying glass and a finger pointer, my favourite is this delicate quill. It would be perfect twinned with a  great design book or to glam up some book tokens.

Tom Dixon Quill Bookmark - Christmas Wishlist

Tom Dixon Quill Bookmark, £12

Tom Duxon Quill Bookmark Detail  - Christmas Wishlist

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a healthy serving of chocolate, and I’ve been waiting to try Amelia Rope’s range. They are made with Madagascan, Ecuadorian or Tanzanian couverture (depending on the percentage of cocoa solids), and are available in boxes of colourful, foil-wrapped cubes, boxes of truffles or bars. I need someone to help me choose between Dark Mandarin, the Dark Coffee Bean Bar and the Pale Lemon & Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, or to help me decide which order to eat them in!

Amelia Rope Chocolate  - Christmas Wishlist

Amelia Rope, The Pale Chocolate Connoisseur’s Collection, £36

Amelia Rope Chocolate  - Christmas Wishlist

Under the tree:

As my life becomes increasingly digital, the daily act of writing becomes more significant. Having used Parker fountain pens for over a decade for work, diaries and creative projects I’ve come to appreciate how much a pen is a statement of personal expression. Did you know that the nib of a fountain pen will be shaped by your writing style, making it individual to you?

Parker Pens Sonnet Fountain Pen, Pearl Pink Finish  - Christmas Wishlist

Parker Pens Sonnet Fountain Pen, Pearl Pink Finish, £149.95

Parker Sonnet Subtle Pearl and Grey Fountain Pen - Christmas Wishlist

After seeing the Sonnet collection I am not sure I will be able to return to my current pen. The elegant combination of pearl lacquer, rose gold and finely engraved details check all of my boxes. The most classic style in Parker’s range, Sonnet comes in a variety of different finishes including the equally feminine Ciselé, a black finish with 18 carat gold, and vibrant red.

Tom Pidgeon Prints - Christmas Wishlist

Anstruther Haar, £75 and Harbour 2, £50 Geometric Prints from Tom Pigeon

Newly relaunched, the Tom Pigeon store is a carefully curated selection of products which you won’t be able to give to others without buying something for yourself. My pick is these A2 geometric prints, hand-pulled on luxurious GFSmith Colorplan paper with metallic foil detailing. Inspired by the natural forms of rural Scottish coastline, they’re equally suited to a modernist home or a sleek urban office. I’m also planning out spaces for the Luna and Sol series!

Tom Pigeon harbour 2 - Christmas Wishlist Tom Pidgeon Anstruther Haar - Christmas Wishlist

Finally, something for the home. In case you haven’t noticed, in the past few years designer Jo Sampson has been giving British heritage brands a style overhaul and one of the products was this gorgeous decanter set. Part of her Rebel collection with iconic crystal brand Waterford, the set includes amber, blush and plum coloured crystal containers on a golden tray, with matching tags meaning you’ll never mix up your spirits. The range also comes with matching glasses, so you can have everything you need to toast the season. Barware has been a growing trend in the last few months and this would be the ideal time to polish up my collection before New Year’s Eve entertaining.

Waterford Decanters 1 - Christmas Wishlist

Waterford Rebel Decanter Set, £365

Waterford Decanters 3 - Christmas Wishlist Waterford Decanters 2 - Christmas Wishlist Now dream shopping is another point checked off on my Christmas to-do list, it’s time to start researching what to give friends and family!

Decorum Loves: Danish Design

It’s hard to remember a time when the interiors world didn’t have an appreciation for Scandinavian design, but recently it has been given a new form, around the concept of hygge. Used across Scandinavia but most famously by the Danes, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) can be roughly translated as a warm, cosy and sociable feeling experienced at home. It was the subject of Ilse Crawford’s talk at 100% Design this year, and with the publication of BBC articles and niche bibles like The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes it’s clear that hygge is coming to the forefront of popular consciousness.

The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes

The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes

Spurred by my newfound love for hygge, here is my selection of some key Danish (and Danish-inspired) design pieces to create the desired level of cosiness as we head towards the winter months.

Sinnerlig Dining Table, Ilse Crawford for Ikea

Sinnerlig Dining Table, Ilse Crawford for Ikea

Starting with SINNERLIG, Ilse Crawford’s collection for Ikea, the true centrepiece is the dining table. While cork stools might look far better than they feel, the table’s surface is pleasantly tactile, and embraces the honesty and sincerity of using natural materials – a concept central to principles of hygge design. The launch of this collection has seen a resulting micro-trend in cork home accessories, which work excellently as affordable table accessories if you wouldn’t consider a piece of statement furniture.

Tea with Georg, Georg Jensen Home Collection

Tea with Georg, Georg Jensen Home Collection

Hospitality being one of the central tenets of hygge living, a tea service must be on the list. While Georg Jensen was originally a purveyor of silverware for the Danish monarchy, this collection (designed by Scholten & Baijings) is made with stainless steel and porcelain – note the pot-warmer and cake stand which elevate communal food and drink to centrepieces of your sociable evening.

Hay Mags Soft Modular Sofa

Hay Mags Soft Modular Sofa

Of course, one of the key pieces you will need for providing a hyggelig evening for your friends is a large sofa where everyone can relax and chat. Hay’s furniture designs embrace the classic Scandinavian principles of clean lines and a grey and pastel colour palette, and I love this modular grey sofa, available from Nest. Just make sure you layer up with plenty of blankets and cushions.

Fuss Cushions from Such & Such

Fuss Cushions from Such & Such

These Danish cushions from FUSS tick all of the boxes, woven with beautifully soft merino wool and available in homely neutrals or playfully bright colours, with simple geometric detailing. Available from Such & Such.

Candles from Future Found & Barlby Carlsson

Candles from Future & Found and Barlby Carlsson

Finally, candlelight is a must for creating the perfect hygge atmosphere, and the moulded design of these candles is both simple and clever – you can arrange them wherever without the need to worry about holders or drips. Available from Danish design boutique Barlby Carlsson, you can also buy a range of colours from UK store Future & Found.

Now all that’s left is to pull the curtains closed, heat up some mulled wine and enjoy the season.


Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

You can live in London for years, passing streets, buildings, monuments without even a second glance, not realising their significance. But if you open your eyes, you will see the city afresh, aided by our guide to the secret historic places of London. With over 8 million people living here, there really are no secrets but these places will enable you to wander a little off the very well trodden track, if only for a while.

Leinster Terrace’s fake house facades

Leinster terrace/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

When the first tube line was built through W2 in the 1860’s the underground trains needed periodic venting for the engines to cast off steam and smoke. The fake house facades at 23-24 Leinster Terrace were cleverly built to hide the tracks and belching fumes behind. They still exist today and without paying too much attention you would believe they were real houses!

Carting Lane’s Sewer Lamp

Carting Lane Sewer Lamp/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

On Carting Lane WC2, just off the Strand stands London’s last remaining sewer lamp.  Sewer lamps were used as a low cost way of keeping London lit up at night in the late 19th century. This lamp was powered by waste produced by guests staying at the Savoy Hotel – Methane was collected by a small dome in the roof of the sewer and the gas was diverted into the lamp on the street above!

 John Snow’s water pump

Broadwick Street John Snow

You can still see the original water pump that spread the cholera outbreak of 1854 in Broadwick Street. It is situated close to Soho and is commonly named John Snow’s water pump. Dr. Snow traced the area’s many cholera deaths to contaminated water from this source. Before this remarkable evidence-based deduction it was believed that Cholera was an air-borne disease. The water pump still has no handle today – a symbol of how Snow stayed the epidemic.

York Watergate

York Watergate/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

The York Watergate marks the site of the original course of the Thames before the construction of the Thames Embankment in the 1860s. Once part of the York House mansion, built in 1237 for the Duke of Buckingham, the York Watergate provided easy access onto the Thames and was located at the bottom of the great house’s garden. York House originally stood on the Strand (the street’s name means ‘shore of the river’) and was considered the finest of the 13 palaces and mansions that lined the historic road. The Watergate is now situated within Embankment Gardens, 150 meters inland from the River Thames today.

The Pretend 10 Downing Street

the pretend 10 downing street/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

Photo opportunity? Number 10 Adam Street, The Strand is the only location in London with the same façade as the iconic No.10 Downing Street. It is the perfect backdrop for photos and many Royal and politically based films have been shot at the House as it can be hired for location filming. Which is the real 10 Downing Street? Can you tell?

The Victorian Pet Cemetery in Hyde Park

pet cemetery hyde park/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

Situated in the North West corner of Hyde Park by Victoria Gate Lodge is a tiny Victorian Pet Cemetery.  It began accidentally as a kind favour by the lodge-keeper Mr. Winbridge in 1881, and carried on through to 1903. It has over 300 graves dedicated to cats and dogs. It is closed to the public but you can take a peek through the bars, it is the ultimate reinforcement of our nations love of our four legged friends!

The smallest police station in London

Police station Trafalgar square/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

Located at the South-East corner of Trafalgar Square is the often overlooked smallest police station in the UK. It was built in 1926 so that the Metropolitan Police could keep an eye on troublesome demonstrators. The building was created by hollowing out an existing ornamental light fitting. A set of narrow windows were installed in order to provide a view across the square. It also housed a direct phone line to Scotland Yard in case reinforcements were needed. Whenever the police phone was picked up, the ornamental light fitting at the top of the box started to flash, alerting any nearby officers on duty that trouble was near. Today the box is used as a broom cupboard for Westminster Council cleaners. It’s said that the lamp on top came from Nelson’s ship, HMS victory.

Lost Little Compton Street

Little Compton Street/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

Little Compton Street connected Old Compton Street at Charing Cross Road to New Compton Street at Stacey Street. The Street was built over but if you stand at the crossing and look down into the gutter you can see the old street signs and brickwork!

The inspiration behind the red London telephone boxes

Sir John Soane

Sir John Soane’s mausoleum at St Pancras Old Church was said to have inspired the telephone box. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was a trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum. He designed the iconic red telephone box or kiosk as they were known at the time. His cast iron telephone kiosk won a Post Office sponsored competition in 1924. Scott also designed the red post box and the red London bus.

The Monument

The monument/ Decorum explores: secret historic places of London

The Monument to the Great Fire of London is now more commonly known simply as the Monument. It was completed in 1677 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.  This memorial to the Great Fire of 1666 is shaped as a fluted Doric column and made of Portland stone. It stands 60.6m tall. It is situated in the city of London, at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill. You can pay to climb the 311 spiral steps and take in the view at the top.


Happy exploring! You may find that you already pass one of these spots everyday and never knew its history. I hope this list of the secret historic places of London has helped you to find this great city an even more exciting, vibrant place.


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