Did you notice my gorgeous wood-mounted rubber stamps in my homemade Christmas cards post? Well, if you’re ever in Bloomsbury I heartily suggest you make a trip to one of my favourite shops in the area, Blades Rubber Stamps. For those of you who wish to team this up with some of the best Bloomsbury sights, I’ve added a footnote at the bottom of this post with a recommended route.
No prizes for guessing what this shop specialises in!
Blades has a beautiful, classic shop frontage; dark green and gold. It’s nice and bright inside which draws you in on a cold December day! This shop has enough to satisfy every craft project and stamping whim, with stamps made by a variety of manufacturers as well as Blades themselves. I won’t go through every section they have but there is basically something for everything in a range of sizes. My personal favourite sections are the transport selection – there’s a London taxi and a Routemaster bus, and the post selection, which includes some old style postmarks and snail mail stamps. There is also an incredibly wide selection of ink for the stamps at a range of budgets, colours, sizes and for a variety of uses. Some of the ink is archival, some water-based, some saturated, others are sparkly.
Their Christmas selection is great too. Not only stamps but there are also lots of stencils for motifs in different sizes – snowflakes for example.
However, when I went to Blades recently, I noticed that their stock is becoming much more varied from rubber stamps. They’re starting to stock a small but really exciting, well-curated selection of stationery. I spotted some very popular and famous brands, including Blackwing pencils, Midori Travelers Notebooks, Apica notebooks, Iconic, Midori stationery and Life Stationery notebooks.
I also spotted some newer products that I hadn’t seen in person before, such as Silvine (an old-school post office British brand which are having a resurgence, Adam (as in Desk Of) blogged about their new notebooks here. Also, I couldn’t believe this, but there was also had a Hobonichi Techo for 2017 in stock. They kept that one quiet!
To accompany these products, a really nice selection of well-presented washi tape, writing paper sets and a very small, slightly disorganised-looking but effective collection of pens – notably Sakura Pigma Microns, Gelly Rolls and metallic inks. There are also paper punches, wax seals and embossing tools.
Downstairs is small and mostly stores craft supplies. However, there is a large variety of paper to interest you. I picked up a couple of sheets for future craft projects.
This is a great shop to spend some time in. The stationery collection alongside the rubber stamps is geared towards small-scale letter-writing, personal note-taking and journaling and the selection is small to reflect this, but it is high-quality. They also make bespoke stamps for individuals or businesses and their online custom stamp maker is excellent. I find rubber stamps a lot of fun to have in my toolbox, and I have built up a very small collection from Blades (as well as some other stationers) that I use quite often for letters, cards, journaling, adding a bit of novelty in notebooks, and so on. Happy stamping!
For those of you who may be interested – My Usual Bloomsbury Walk
Blades Rubber Stamps is located in a wonderful part of London, full of literary shops, interesting streets and history. Take a few hours and follow my usual jaunt around Bloomsbury which mixes all of these fun things.
Everything is a very short walk away from each other. My walk usually starts with a long nose round the London Review Bookshop (and a coffee in their sweet café) and a good look around Blades Rubber Stamps which is just next door.
If I’m here I always pop into the British Museum and walk around the fabulous atrium, it’s dramatic, open and bright. I’ve been to several ticketed exhibitions at the British Museum, including ones on Pompeii and Colombian gold, and they’re always so interesting. The majority of the museum is free entry though.
From ancient civilisations to modern architecture; a walk through Russell Square takes you to Marchmont Street. The Brunswick Centre a very unique brutalist building quite dissimilar to most of the architecture in Bloomsbury. Through the lovely Brunswick Square Gardens you can access the Foundling Museum, which is a museum in the location of a former home for abandoned and orphaned children. It could be that Charles Dickens took some inspiration for some of his books, as he lived nearby in a house which is now the Charles Dickens museum. I love looking around London houses and this is a classic one, with a lovely garden cafe that is gorgeous in the summer.
Finally I always like to peruse the shops on Lamb’s Conduit Street. The People’s Supermarket is a food co-operative which aims to provide local people with affordable food that is fair to both consumer and producer. And, maybe predictably in Bloomsbury, my trip is bookended by another bookshop: Persephone Books. This is a small shop stocking books printed in the signature style of a grey cover with an internal fabric print. Books are published on the premises and there’s an amazing selection of female writers.
By the way, if you don’t fancy using my hand-drawn map, I’ve plotted my walk on a handy Google Maps below.