John Barkers and Whole Foods
This time at my visit to London we stayed at a hotel in High Street Kensington just opposite the Kensington Gardens. On our walk to the tube station of the same name as the street I was struck by the beauty of a huge Art-Deco building. The name Barkers was printed high on top and some of the floors is now used as a “Whole Food Market”.
We bought some lovely healthy food there to eat at the hotel. You can even take a seat in the big shop and eat there if you want. The concept was new to me, that all they sell are without artificial ingredients. The halls pointed back to a former time of wealth, but no staff seemed to know what it had been before.
I looked it up and a man called Barker had started a small business in the 1870s selling draperies. He developed it into a department store and bought up other houses and firms in Kensington. In the twenties it was decided to rebuilt both the Barkers and the Derry & Tom store. The WWII delayed to finishing of the Barkers building and the owner was House of Fraser, when it was finished in 1958.
Derry & Toms’ building was opened in 1933, an adjacent building and it has the famous “Kensington Roof Gardens”on the top. If you want to come up and see it the “London Walks” take you there on their Kensington tour on Saturdays.