Meanwhile, back in the City of London …
The last few weeks have seen mixed fortunes for Foxes of various descriptions. Foxy Loxy has been acquitted of murder, “Dr.” Fox has been forced to resign as a result of some incomprehensible imbroglio involving his “friend”, and – though I doubt too many tears will be shed in – say – Consett over this – I am sad to record the demise of J. Fox of London Wall, as a result, apparently, of “adverse trading conditions”. It cannot have helped, either, that the rest of this late-Victorian block has been erased as collateral damage to the Crossrail works around Moorgate, leaving only the supposed birthplace of the poet Keats and a branch of the Carphone Warehouse standing.
As the frontage announces, J. Fox was founded in 1868, and specialised in the making and repair of bespoke umbrellas, supplying them to John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, James Bond and Steed of Avengers fame.
Quentin Lake, who has clearly looked into this more thoroughly than I have, describes it thus –
“The extremely stylish exterior was installed in 1936 and was, at the time, the latest in shop-front design. Curved non-reflective glazing later used at Heals on Tottenham Court Road was used for the windows, and the framework was made from black Vitrolite a type of black glass used in the 1930s and chromed steel. Two prancing silver foxes and a neon sign were the finishing touches. Inside, the shop is fitted with cabinets made of solid Canadian black walnut. The staircase boasts framed mirrors, with original advertising graphics dating back to 1868.”
Mind you, I suspect the real reason that this always raised my spirits so much whenever I passed it was that it reminded me of Grace Road.