Friday, 9 July 2010

Stanford, 12-14 Long Acre WC2

Stanford was Mecca for explorers, empire-builders and travelling salesmen, supplying maps of the world when a third of it was coloured pink. Now it sells Rough Guides to backpackers, but its Flemish renaissance style headquarters still has plenty of Victorian confidence and panache.
It was designed in 1900 by Read & Macdonald, who covered plots all over Mayfair with similar items.
The name over the door is flanked by map-making impedimenta - a pair of compasses on the left and pens and ink on the right.
The first-floor panel had the royal arms (Stanford was By Royal Appointment) and the arms of their principal suppliers - on the left the Board of Ordnance, on the right the Hydrographer of the Navy.

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