In 2018 Stanfords made the decision to move from Long Acre – where we had been trading since 1901 - and relocate to nearby Mercer Walk. The move was completed in January 2019. During the move a large number of antique text books, historic travel books, maps, atlases, artefacts and historical documents were uncovered.
It was the discovery of these historic items that prompted Stanfords to create a free exhibition for members of the public. The newly discovered artefacts are on display alongside others of significant historical interest from Stanfords’ archives, together with copies of pictures and maps on loan from the British Library, The Mercers’ Company, and the Royal Geographical Society.
Stanfords Archive Exhibition
10 Langley Street, London
18th October to 3rd January
tuesday:10am - 7pm
wednesday:10am - 7pm
thursday:10am - 7pm
friday:10am - 7pm
saturday:10am - 7pm
Visitors will discover some of the greatest and most influential explorers of all time who shared a unique and special relationship with Stanfords. Various letters and bills can be seen relating to purchases from well-known historical figures including John Ruskin, Winston Churchill and H.M Stanley. Letters on display include Florence Nightingale thanking Stanfords for a mounted map, a card from General Gordon in Khartoum, and Captain Scott complaining about a Stanfords map of the Antarctic. A copy of the offending map is on display.
The building now occupied by Stanfords at Mercer walk is part of a large estate owned by The Mercers’ Company. The history of The Mercers’ Company and the Mercers’ Maidens who adorn many buildings in Covent Garden is explained. Historic plans of the 6-block estate dating back to the 1700’s are on display for the first time in the exhibition.
A photo booth with selectable backdrops will ensure visitors are put in the picture and will have a memento of their experience. Children can step into the boots of intrepid adventurers by dressing up in explorers’ gear for a jungle or arctic adventure.
Young visitors can also complete the Stanfords Exhibition Trail which will lead them to discover areas of historical interest in Covent Garden and give them challenges to complete along the way, with a more complex diversion for older children, requiring some work with a compass and elements required to complete the Scouts navigation badge.