“The most beautiful shop in the world . . .” – that is how Esquire magazine described the wood-paneled splendour of the London premises of John Lobb, Bootmaker. In the shadow of the great gate-tower of St. James’s Palace, built by Henry VIII, and echoing to the stamping feet of bear-skinned guardsmen, St. James’s Street has been traditionally the home of coffee houses, gentlemen’s clubs and elegant outfitters; a mecca for the noble and the fashionable for centuries.
Here, where once aristocrats won and lost fortunes on the turn of a card; where Lady Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron scandalized London; and where Beau Brummell turned dress into haute couture, it is still possible to find a firm where boots and shoes are made by hand to the exacting standards of the ancient craft. The current Lobb premises at number 9 is on the very spot once occupied by Lord Byron’s bachelor establishment.
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