Wickham’s Department Store

The old Wickham’s Department Store, designed as the ‘Selfridges of the East’ looks good in the early morning summer sun.   The original owners gradually bought up a run of shops on the north side of the Mile End Road, all except a small family clockmakers called Spiegelhalter.   When it came to construct a grand new building in 1927, the Spiegelhalters refused to sell, with  the result that the grand Ionic façade is interrupted by a gap occupied by a single, now completely derelict shop.   Ian Nairn loved it and described it as , ‘one of the best visual jokes in London, a perennial triumph for the little man, the bloke who won’t conform.   May he stay there till the Bomb falls’.

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