Pickwick Papers and Fabrics

Nelson Rd

A sparkling little jewel of a shop, Pickwick Papers and Fabrics is one of those sumptuous decorating emporia which look like they really belong in Kensington or Chelsea. The black painted exterior shows off the display of rich fabrics in the window and the curiously-clad wire dummy just finishes the look nicely.

Inside they do a vast range of wallpaper and fabric samples by all the big names – from Sanderson and Cole & Son to Cath Kidston as well as a bunch of smaller, more exclusive designers. A very pleasant young assistant was immediately on the case as soon as I walked in, so I didn’t feel lost or ignored; she then left me to browse. Downstairs they have a big squashy sofa for lounging with a cup of tea whilst pouring over the sample books, and there’s a very odd glass-fronted display at the bottom – a bit like a shop window in reverse.

They can mix up certain paint ranges on the spot, but if you want something a bit more upmarket, like Farrow & Ball or Zoffany, you need to order a couple of days in advance.

There is a good range of sewing notions and haberdashery too – from bobbins and thimbles to threads and scissors, and those extremely girly tools with floral handles that seem to be all the rage at the moment. The whole place is wonderfully louche – even the bit where they seem to have had a small leak and have ironically lost their own wallpaper is somehow rather fitting.

In fact the only thing that spoiled my visit was the woman (one of the owners?) with the posh voice who talked VERY loudly and persistantly on her mobile phone the entire time I was in there trying to concentrate on fabrics, totally breaking the spell. It was quite clearly intended to be heard and prove how “cool” she was, but it actually had the effect of my not buying anything because I couldn’t bear the noise pollution any longer… Horrid.


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