One of the silver linings of being out of work is going on 'holiday' in your very own city - you have time to go places with random or short opening hours. Phoebe told me about The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library when I first came to London and said I would just love it, and I let out more than a few sighs of delight upon entering the former Grice's Granary (1795). Nestled under old ship timbers is a slice of pure heaven: thousands of over-sized scrapbooks on every subject you can imagine, from mens' 17th-century underwear to Rotherhithe to architecture, graphics and shoes (!), to name but a few.
Since the 1970s the Library has been clipping pictures from newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, postcards, you name it. You can snuggle up with the book of your choosing and a cup of tea (I know, pretty crazy for a library!) at one of the weathered work tables for as long as you like. The staff are super-friendly and have the kind of job I've been dreaming about - surrounded by history, nostalgia and ephemera. I tried my best to capture the magical space but to see the true twinkle make a visit if you can!
The Picture Research Library sits within Sands Films, most well-known for their production of Little Dorritt. They have an extensive costume collection on site with costume hire and costume workshops, and since the 1970s have provided or made costumes for films like Marie Antoinette, Bright Star, North & South, The Duchess and many more you can read about on their website. When I'm next in London I hope to catch their Tuesday nite 'Cinema Club', with rarely seen and silent films screened in one of London's smallest cinemas. Oh, and a tour of the costumes and shoes! And afterwards a drink at the Mayflower just opposite.