Chronicles of Londinium

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Portobello Road, Portobello Road

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Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road.
You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road.


“Portobello Road” by Robert & Richard Sherman is a song about Portobello Road in London in the 1940s.  It was written for the 1971, Walt Disney musical film production Bedknobs and Broomsticks and sung by  David Tomlinson. This is one of our all time favorite Disney movies and one of my favorite scenes!! In case you missed the movie, here is the scene I am referring to:

It was nothing like this of course and I was extremely disappointed. And yes I expected some dancing!! We didn’t plan to go to the market this weekend, but stumbled upon it during our Cultural Friday outing at a museum in Notting Hill. To be honest, I really wanted to check out Portobello Road, but everything I read said it was the most over crowded market in London. I think they were right!


Too. Many. People.

We powered through it and found a stall selling old printing blocks and printing letters, and we fell in love. The Old Printing Shop of London was established in 1975 by Michael Fenton, who served a 6-year apprenticeship as a compositor/printer handsetting wood and metal type. Working since then with his wife and two sons, he has been collecting printing equipment from all over Great Britain, including wooden and metal type, illustrative blocks, printing presses and many other items.


It was so fun talking to the two guys about where they came from and getting to know a little bit about the history of the printing blocks. Of course we had to buy something and we picked up this little gem! It’s my favorite London purchase thus far!


We ventured on a little bit more but didn’t anything else we HAD to have, well besides a bicycle pillow cover! But that was it. 🙂

We enjoyed walking around the rest of Portobello Road and checking out Notting Hill.


  1. Next time you go, let me know! I live at the end of the road!

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