Nelson Road.

SE10

What a sad looking street. This should be the most attractive shopping street in Greenwich and it has more shut shops per metre than even Trafalgar Road.

I’ve had several worried emails about it this week – here are just a few concerns:

What is happening with Warwick Leadlay gallery?? I walked past this morning and all the windows are papered over! The notice on the door – which mentioned additional premises around the corner – was ambiguous as to whether the Nelson Rd site was going to reopen…
Please tell me that this is just a short-term thing and that they’re not closing or moving the gallery we all love so much!”

“Where’s Pistachios Cafe? I used to like eating there. Have you noticed its absence….? Is it closed permanently or undergoing renovations (signs on the door say re opening in mid march)”

“Rococo- gone overnight it seems!”

As far as Rococo is concerned – yes – that was a big surprise – there and seemingly flourishing (and a classy shop too) one day, dead and gone the next without a whimper.

But the other two – well – I’m cautiously optimistic. I have heard that Warwick Leadlay is actually expanding – its art department has already moved into Marcet Book’s old site, and (or so I’ve heard) Warwick is devoting the Nelson Road shop to the antiquarian side. I hope and pray this is true. Ditto Pistachios – I walked past yesterday and frenzied activity inside suggested that the sign on the door is correct. I was never that wild about Pistachios myself – but I will give it another go when it reopens – hopefully much smarter.

But the rest of the street – and all those empty shops – what on earth are Greenwich Hospital Trust thinking? All the shops we’re losing are the independents. GHT just HAS to do something about it – if not for our good, for its own. If Greenwich goes the same way as every other high street in Britain, full of bland chains, visitors will stop coming and GHT’s income will go down. The shops look great – but they have nothing in them. I truly believe that GHT needs to cast a few sprats to catch a few mackerels – to give good rent deals to independents to keep Greenwich’s individuality and visitor levels – good for all in the long run.

There is one small glimmer of curiosity. The old Thai place that burned down a couple of years ago seems set to rise out of the ashes in Japanese form. Itoshi, from what I can see from pressing my nose against the glass, will be going down the conveyor-belt-sushi route. I can’t it’s a chain – yet. BTW, Japanese definitely seems to be in just now – what with the likes of Zin and the superb Ginza, and a new Japanese grocery store down Trafalgar Road I haven’t tried yet. Anyone been in there ?


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