Beautiful and bespoke umbrellas at James Smith & Sons in the West End

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the four years I’ve lived in London, it’s always bring an umbrella! Rain or shine, I know I’m likely to need one. I usually keep a simple, compact umbrella with me, but I aspire to having a James Smith & Sons umbrella one day.

After visiting the British museum on a rainy day a few years ago, we stumbled upon this historic shop. It would be hard not to miss its Victorian frontage with the shop’s name draped across the building in bold, red letters. What caught my eye first that day, though, was a woman with a pretty pink umbrella admiring the shop.

After stepping inside, I could see what drew her attention. The shop is filled with beautiful umbrellas in a diverse array of colours, prints and patterns. Not only are their fabrics stunning, but the wooden handles and general craftsmanship are to be admired. You can also make an appointment for a bespoke umbrella, which I love the idea of.

While I was there I saw the proprietor carefully repairing an umbrella. Umbrella repair is not something I’ve ever thought of and it reminded me that things weren’t always so disposable and people really took care of what they had, instead of just throwing it away when it broke.

April showers might bring May flowers, but I’m sure I wouldn’t mind so much with a James Smith & Sons umbrella.

Images by Leigh Metcalf

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Meet Leigh

This was kindly shared by Leigh Metcalf who loves spending time with her family, exploring markets and shops off the beaten path, wants to bake any recipe that includes cardamom, stitch up something pretty for her daughters, and document it all for you to read on her blog.