Design showcase: Retailer treasures from map store Stanfords on display

Specialist map and travel book retailer Stanfords has opened its first-ever exhibition of maps, documents, and artefacts, collected over its long history.

The retailer moved, earlier this year, from a store on Long Acre in Covent Garden that it had occupied since 1901, to a new unit on Mercer Walk that had been designed by Caulder Moore. An events space was included in the new store to help the retailer share its collection. However, such a large collection was unearthed during the move that a separate venue – at 10 Langley Street – has been used for the exhibition.

Artefacts on display include letters from historical figures such as Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, complaining about the accuracy of a map, and pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale, thanking the retailer for the gift of a mounted map. They are being displayed alongside items on loan from the British Library, landlord The Mercers' Company, and the Royal Geographical Society.

“We’re so excited to be sharing with the public the overflowing chest of artefacts that are so special to us here at Stanfords,” says Vivien Godfrey, the retailer's CEO. “Our visitors will be able to explore the history of travel and be astonished by a wealth of stories of intrepid adventure. Many of the exhibits and activities are also suitable for a younger audience, including our one mile trail through Covent Garden and a dressing up area within the space to fuel the next generation of explorers.”

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