The quaint little store that is said to have inspired a famous Dickens novel was only given its name after the book was released.
Tucked away amongst the buildings of London’s School for Economics is a small, wood-beamed shop.
Dating from the 16th century, its sloping roof, overhanging second floor, and uneven Tudor gabling mark it as one of London’s oldest shops. Dwarfed and out of place amidst one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the little creaking shop, constructed from salvaged ship wood, survived not only the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the devastation of the Blitz. Living in neighbouring Bloomsbury, Charles Dickens visited the quaint shop on a number of occasions. Although the name was added after the novel was released, it is thought to have became the inspiration for his 1841 novel, The Old Curiosity Shop.
The Old Curiosity Shop was so popular, legend has it that readers in New York, desperate to find out the conclusion, stormed the wharf of Lower Manhattan when the ship bearing the last installment docked.
The original shop itself started as a dairy, given as a present by King Charles II to one of his many mistresses. Hidden away on Portsmouth Street just south of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Old Curiosity Shop today is a retailer of high end shoes and is still open for business, as it has been for over 500 hundred years.
And the location: