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B&Q, toilets, Soane, compost and Chelsea

January 19, 2011

Earlier today I went to the B&Q Spring/Summer 2011 press show. I must admit that I was looking forward to seeing the venue as much as anything else. The last B&Q show I went to was held at Sketch in Mayfair – an intriguing gallery-cum-restaurant (or is it the other way round?) affair – where the toilets resembled a scene from Cocoon and a disconcerting applause emanated from hidden speakers behind the loo whilst you did your business.

Alien toilet pods (Sketch, Mayfair)

Today’s show was at the rather more conservative venue of One Marylebone. It’s a Grade I listed building (formerly Holy Trinity Church), which is now hired out as a venue for parties, corporate events and weddings. But it’s not just any old church. It was designed by Sir John Soane – most famous for designing the Bank of England and the Dulwich Picture Gallery (the first public art gallery). His house on Lincoln’s Inn Fields is now a museum*. I must have driven past the church a hundred times on the ring road and never even knew it was there. But I do now, and it didn’t disappoint.

One Marylebone

Side view of the former Holy Trinity Church

It was fantastic to be able to see the interior and in such well-restored condition. Although I’m not sure what Soane would have made of all the 21st century home and garden paraphernalia that was adorning it on this occasion.

One Marylebone interior

Daylight flooding in from huge windows

Speaking of paraphernalia, these new B&Q wheelbarrows caught my eye today (could it be because I’m in the market for one?). It’s a pick ‘n’ mix system – choose your colour and size of pan, frame and wheel then assemble them together yourself. And because it comes in bits you’ll easily be able to get it into the boot of your car no problem. Prices start from £38 for a complete barrow.

Pick n mix barrows

I also chatted to the affable Patrick Collins about his design for Chelsea this year. He’s one half of the team working on The B&Q Garden. He and Laurie Chetwood are creating an edible garden aiming to show that everyone can grow their own food, whatever space they have. Working with the tricky triangular site at the bottom of the main avenue they have a huge 9m tall tower as part of the design. It’s going to be covered on one side by a vertical allotment of edible green wall and window-boxes whilst the other side will have a vertical potting shed, compost bin, water storage and wildlife column. It all sounds a bit barking but I’m very much looking forward to seeing the end result!

I didn’t see any mention of this today but for anyone that missed it …the latest issue of Which? Gardening trialled composts for seed sowing and growing on young plants. “Best Buys” were awarded to two B&Q composts (both peat-based I’m afraid**): B&Q Multipurpose Compost and B&Q Sowing & Cutting Compost.

After the show I went for a wander around the new Regent’s Place development next door, which I also didn’t know was there until my ex-Editor took me through it en route to a catch-up-coffee (10 years in London and still so much to discover!).

Triton Square

Regents Place

Regents Place Pavilion

* Soane’s house is a fascinating museum and one of my favourites in London. It’s free to visit but if you do go I would recommend paying for the tour. I think the museum is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and the tours run on Saturdays only. Check before you go.

** The two best peat-free composts were both from the New Horizon brand

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Thomas permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:55 pm

    One Marylebone looks stunning thanks for sharing all photos. Do you know we drove past it on Saturday and Brendan was asking what the place was and now we know! X

  2. January 27, 2011 9:03 pm

    Dear Sui, I am so delighted to have discovered your weblog in the labyrinth which is Blotanical. One Marylebone is indeed a marvellous place although I should be far less interested in the B&Q elements. The Soane Museum is in my view one of the best small museums in the world and is, as you say, well worth frequent visiting.

    • January 31, 2011 1:04 am

      Hi Edith, Thanks for visiting my blog. I haven’t really got my head round Blotanical – I’m not convinced. Labyrinth is the word! Is it worth sticking with?

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