Do you dream of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Well with winter practically upon us, you may be drawn to cosy evenings drinking wine in front of a log fire. Great idea and you've got the wine, but yikes, no fireplace! What to do... Oh I know, why don't you head over to Westland in Shoreditch. It's an old disused church which is now home to an enormous architectural emporium, full to the brim with all sorts of magnificent artefacts and more fireplaces that you can shake a burning log at.
Westland was first established in the late 1960's when it specialised in sourcing and restoring 18th & 19th century English furniture and decorative ware, which was sold onto dealers, designers and architects. In 1977, it relocated from its original premises in Islington, to the heritage-listed former Church of St Michael in EC2.
As the owner of a small, yet beautiful London flat, I'm not currently in the market for such decadent and enormous splendour, although I do dream of owning a pad grand enough to house such luxuries one day. But Westland isn't just for punters with mansions. Its wonderful museum-like feel makes it a perfect place for anyone to amble around and admire its wares which are displayed throughout the numerous galleries and chapels in the spectacular vaulted interior.
Everywhere you look, there is something intriguing to catch your eye. Be it Gothic, Art Deco, Renaissance or Victorian, there are weird and wonderful items originating from different centuries, different countries and from traditional style to the exotic. The vast collection includes stained-glass windows, wooden plane propellors, antique rocking horses, brass beds, ornate fire grates, grand pianos, decorative screens, giant clocks, gilt mirrors, wooden carvings, chandeliers, marble mantels and old chimney pieces. I even stumbled upon an old casino gaming wheel from Chicago.
If you already can't move for Baroque fireplaces and chandeliers at home, then perhaps you may be interested in one of the elaborate garden ornaments or water fountains which can be found outside. And if you live in Timbuktu? Don't worry, Westland ship far and wide. It's an unusual find in the heart of Shoreditch and I personally like going there just for a mooch. But one day I shall have me a posh fireplace, just you see...
St Michael's Church
020 7739 8094