Warwick Leadlay

One of those institutions without whom Greenwich just wouldn’t seem right, I was endeared to Warwick Leadlay the very first day I moved to Greenwich. I had decided I’d like a couple of ancient maps of my area to hang on the wall and frankly The Warwick Leadlay Gallery is the only place one ever needs to go to buy old maps and prints in Greenwich. It’s on that lovely parade of shops at the Regency end of Nelson Road, and retains the lovely old curved glass windows and corner door as the shop butts on to one of the furtive little entrances to Greenwich Market. The windows are filled with a changing display of locally related prints and maps or sometimes feature a local artist’s work. Always worth a look, Warwick Leadlay’s gaff …

I had been a little concerned that this shop might be like so many antiquarian bookshops/galleries/print rooms, where some miserable, crusty old codger looks at you like you’ve come to smash the shop up then follows you around the place grumbling about “young people…” I was served, I found out later, by Warwick Leadlay himself, a delightfully eccentric, white-bearded gentleman with a solicitous manner. I explained that I wanted to look at some old maps featuring my house or at least the site on which it was built – which he duly showed me. On watching me nearly faint when I heard the price of them, he discreetly steered my grateful carcass towards some prints of the same at £12.50 without that peevish condescension that so many shops of that type muster.

I still have those prints, but I have recently found out more about Warwick Leadlay (amazingly by reading an old copy of Period Living in the dentists. A traditional jazz fanatic, he used to run a jazz festival from the back garden of his home in Edenbridge – one of the smallest castles in England, and he still organises many local jazz events. From his delightful office over the shop he hosts the meetings of both the Riverfront Jazz Festival and the 1805 society – a group of Nelson nuts who are into anything to do with Trafalgar. This man is a gem – and long may his delightful little shop continue to sell ancient maps for hundreds of pounds to the well-heeled and £12.50 prints to the likes of me…

www.warwickleadlay.com


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