Industrial, concrete and a hint of spice

Yes, it’s another post about loos! This latest edition of the Loo Series is from a visit to the City last week, when after a successful meeting and an even more successful time sipping G&T in the pub, we headed home via Nandos at One New Change.

So the title of this post could have contained the word cheeky, and I’m sure you’ll all be familiar with the saying, but well it doesn’t as there was nothing cheeky about this stop. It was all about the fuelling. It’s been a while since we’ve been to Nandos, in fact I think it’s more likely that I’ll have been on a office lunchtime celebration expedition, when ordering a whole or half a chicken probably isn’t the done thing. Although…

But anyway with our menu choices chosen, sides deliberated over and realising that water would be just fine as an accompaniment, and opting for the medium chilli sauce to add to the flavour, a trip to check out the loos was called for.

Red, black and grey in the ladies at Nandos at One New Change

I really wasn’t surprised to find the industrial look here, the whole place has a modern, industrial feel. And the concrete sinks and ceiling were a good fit. The red, or the hint of spice, should have been expected - I mean, it was totally on brand.

A closer look at the sinks
tiles around the door
an industrial ceiling too

The artwork too - small in size, mighty in flavour - with its red on red, on red, meant you knew exactly where you where, and what to expect.

a hint of spice as you'd expect

The floor concerned me though. Not the pattern, I was a fan. But I spent a little bit too much time, albeit from a distance, trying to work out if the lighter tiles were patterned with the darker shadow, or if it just needed a really good clean. If I’m honest, I’m really not sure. The more I looked, the more I wondered, but as it was all over, and outside the loos too on the landing, I could be doing them a very big disservice. But maybe I’m not, although I can’t work out why anyone would want such a lived in feeling for their tiles, so who knows?

A geometric - and possibly grubby - floor

So who knows, but I know if they were mine and it was part of the pattern then, well actually they wouldn’t be mine if that was part of the pattern. I think MOH would be constantly cleaning them too, so at least I wouldn’t need too - small mercies, and all that. But if they were ours, and they turned out to be dirt attracters, wouldn’t that be disappointing as there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern or the boldness.

a selfie but still contemplating that floor

As you know it’s becoming tradition to include a shot of myself, in this one though, it seems I’m still contemplating that floor. Thankfully the rest of the space, and the restaurant was as you’d expect, so phew.

The loos with the succulents

Sometimes good loos come at you thick and fast. Or they seem to for me anyway. And as you know by now a good loo deserves to be photographed. Some of these photos might be a little blurry-er than usual but when I tell you these are the loos in a City of London pub, I hope you'll forgive me.

These light fittings meant I was off to a good start. And the central island of offset sinks didn't worry me either.

Hanging individual light fittings in the loos at the Anthologist in the City of London

And then in front of the mirrors I spotted these terrariums complete with succulents, on pebbles and moss.

Succulents in terrariums in the loos at the Anthologist in the City of London
succulents in terrariums in the loos at the Anthologist in the City of London

Large succulents too. Larger than mine.

And if you needed an excuse to stare in the mirror, then you could also pick up some cocktail recipes here at the same time.  The Summer Nights vodka and watermelon cocktail sounded great, one to hint at with MOH I think...

Cocktail recipes written on the mirrors in the loos at the Anthologist in the City of London

And then it struck me, the whole space had the feel of Rockett St George to it - not a bad thing, but not what I expected in a City of London pub either.

A very Rockett St George looking area in the loos at the Anthologist in the City of London

And if you're wondering where these loos are, they're in the Anthologist on Gresham Street in EC2. Well worth a look - with maybe a beverage or two, or even a cocktail - if you're ever that way.

Discovering the story behind the Baltic Exchange Gallery

Just a short post from me today, and another one that I've been meaning to share for a week or two. A couple of weeks ago I told you of my bonkers week and of my lunchtime visit to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. My plan for that lunchtime was to scout out inside places to spend my lunch hours, and to check out the cafe there too.

I decided to take in one of the galleries while I was there, but soon found myself diverted towards the Baltic Exchange Gallery. It's not something I'd seen before, either in person or on the signposts so I was intrigued to see what I'd find there. I never expected it to be this.

Stained glass from the Baltic Exchange at the NMM in Greenwich


I was mesmerised. So much so that I spent my lunch hour in this relatively small space taking in each of the windows, and the story of how they'd painstakingly been restored after they were damaged by a terrorist bomb in the early nineties. I think partly the fascination was I remembered that bomb as I was working in the City at the time. I remember the devastation and the shock of the event, but had no idea these windows existed, their story, how much they were damaged and how much work went into piecing them back together.

That all changed in that hour though.

The information boards alongside these windows were excellent and told their story in a compelling way. I can sometimes flit through a museum and its exhibits, but these held my interest.  So much so that I had no time to fit in a visit to the cafe, so I think that tells you all you need to know.

The windows were commissioned shortly after the First World War and formed part of a memorial to the sixty members of Baltic Exchange staff who lost their lives during the war. They were unveiled in 1922 and consisted of a half-dome with five large windows below it. 

The information board told me "the subject is heroic and likens the British Empire to the Roman Empire." 

A section of the restored Baltic Exchange stained glass window

Above and below are excerpts of the two outer panels of the dome which names the major battles of the First World War.

Part of the restored Baltic Exchange stained glass windows

The half-dome is over three metres in height and is just fabulous. Standing in the middle you get the most wonderful sense of history and my photo below hardly does it justice. If you're in Greenwich, then you really should make time to see this as however I describe this, I know I won't be able to do it justice.

The half-dome stained glass window from the Baltic Exchange London

While I stood learning about the restoration work I was completely oblivious to The Virtue Windows behind me. Originally these would have been under the panels of the half-dome. And you may have already worked it out but they're named for the Virtues of Hope, Fortitude, Justice, Truth and Faith, which the Romans established as qualities that all humans should aspire to.

What a way to spend a lunchtime.  

the Pigeon Pair and Me