Tuesday 31 January 2012

My visit to Butler and Wilson shop South Molton St London

On Saturday 28th 2012, I had the opportunity to visit London with my daughter. I thought I would go and visit one of the Butler & Wilson shops in London and buy myself a couple of brooches. Something that was on my bucket list!

Because my daughter had an interview very early on that morning, we left the West Midlands at 3 am.
Now I was really looking forward to seeing lots of lovely jewels and sparkling brooches as well as soaking up the atmosphere of a successful costume jewellery company of the UK. I have in my own collection a couple of necklaces and a brooch (that has had to be repaired). I had tried to buy a Christmas tree pin last year from Butler & Wilson but had been unable to. I had looked at their website and on QVC's website in September and again at the and of November, but there was not one tree brooch available. So in early December I went elsewhere. Unfortunately I would have loved to watch QVC to see if they had one in the run up to Christmas, but as I can only dip in and out occasionally, so this was not an option.

Those of you that read my blog and visit our website, can hazard a guess that I am quite patriotic and believe that we should be proud of our heritage and support UK companies, etc. However sometimes I find myself shaking my head in frustration and I think I can confidently say - my visit turned out to be such an occasion.

After a successful interview, my daughter and I arrived at the South Molton Street shop at around 11 am. There is so much walking to be done in London, that after a long debate I had worn an old and very comfortable pair of walking come gardening boots. It was the only way that I could have managed this trip. The shop is just off Oxford Street, so taking the tube to Bond Street we took a long walk through the crowds and eventually located it.
Happy with the morning, we first ambled around the small sized shop looking for the brooch section. However unable to find any and realizing that they had only sale stock, old stock, stock that was seconds and some Native American style items in a dark show case. Unlabelled and difficult to tell what they were. We ended at the front of the store quite quickly. If you are planning a trip to the store - I would ring first to make sure they have the jewellery item that you want as there were very few "glitzy" jewellery but lots of necklaces with agate and quartz.

I next turned to look at the jewellery in plastic bags located in boxes that were in the middle of the store. There were also racks around the walls with a few pieces of jewellery hanging on them.
We had already been asked once if we needed any help. Pet hate - usually send me fast to the exit. But we had been busy looking at something and had acknowledged the request with a polite "no thank you".

So trying to hold onto a walking stick and open plastic bags was difficult enough; and when a sales assistant waved a small basket in front of me and asked (well I think it was to me - she was looking down the shop at the time!) "did I want to use one of these". I explained no, and went on to say that it was difficult with holding and using a stick. The sales assistant didn't answer or even look at me. So I went back to what I was doing and then over heard her say to a colleague (within my poor hearing) something about not wanting one in case you spent to much!!

Now I am not known for my tact or keeping my mouth shut. But I was in a good mood and not wanting to ruin it - I just carried on looking and didn't make a fuss.  Besides I didn't want to be thrown out of the store for telling them what I thought!!

I eventually brought the above necklace. Its a tad too short but looking at the chain, it should be quite easy to add an extension chain and so not have the tag and clasp on my shoulder. Would have spent a lot more but very unusually for me - I couldn't find anything else I wanted.
When I came to pay - the same "basket" assistant took my plastic bag with the necklace in. Again she did not look at me the whole time. It must be a practiced art form to stare ahead of you and not acknowledge someone being there at all. There is of course autism (that makes eye contact very difficult) and I wondered if this was the case or was it just plain rudeness.

Before I forget - The items are priced with tiny tiny labels - so I would recommend taking a magnifying glass with you - if you have anything other than perfect sharp eyesight.
It took 2 shop assistance to take my purchase and money. Another sales assistant with her back to me keyed in the price in the till (located on the back wall) and when I had payed, the first "basket" assistant bagged my purchase into a blue plastic bag - no don't expect a "Butler & Wilson" bag, you just get an ordinary plain one.

Saying thank you and extracting my purchase from the "basket" assistance, who was holding it in front of her by two fingers. I wondered if  this woman was suffering from severe PMT or had she been stood up the night before (can you blame them)? But miserable face seemed to be endemic as I didn't see any of the staff smile.

My daughter and I took our leave. Unfortunately the floor is uneven and slopes towards the door. The building does seem old. Managing to trip as I do so many times - my trusty walking stick came to my aid. This shop is too small for any form of disabled equipment and if you use such - I would advise ringing to see what they have to assist you. The floor assistant/bouncer (a nice young man) opened the door for me - how nice I thought, but he followed it up with "I hope you get better soon" which left me stunned. Oh my god I look ill I though.............

So thank you Butler & Wilson company for making my visit enj.....memorable.

PS I probably have multiple sclerosis. My consultant neurologist is as yet undecided and I am looking forward to seeing him next week. Last year I was up and down like a yo-yo with bouts of dizziness and it has taken since 2006, to get to the level of fitness that I have today. Difficult in moving and at times comfort eating (who wouldn't be upset when suddenly without warning life turned upside down and you are literally thrown in the gutter by society) it has meant I have piled on a few pounds to 12 3/4 stone. Pleasantly plump no just too fat and hating it. This year I started with the resolution to get fitter, loose weight and enjoy life to the full. Follow this blog to see how I get on. Oh and will I be visiting Butler & Wilson in the future - what do you think?      


Thursday 19 January 2012

Five brooches for the new year!

This is our first post of the New Year 2012. Just been a bit busy making a few new collection categories to Jewels and Finery. Our vintage brooches has been split into themes. So over the next few weeks we will be showing each new collection category.
New additions to vintage brooches over the next week to come and here are a few already available:

Crescent garland vintage brooch by Jewelcraft
Pretty vintage brooch by Jewelcraft which was the mark Coro used in the UK.

Wheat or grass vintage brooch
Unusual vintage brooch - think it looks better pinned this way. Very 3D and well made. Unsigned beauty.

Fish brooch by Poole Potteries
The three vintage brooches and pre owned brooch will be added shortly, just a few of the many we have photographed and will add soon.

About Me

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Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
I preserve the past. Researching family and local history. Finding about mine and other people's ancestors, is just one of my passions. I also love vintage costume jewellery made here in the UK. I write about my finds and like to research.