North London Food & Culture

Blustons ladieswear: what should it become?

Readers flooded our forums with comments yesterday. Now you can have your say in the future of this iconic shop with our vote below

Yesterday’s news about Grade II-listed Blustons caused a massive reaction. Readers left dozens of comments underneath our interview with owner Michael Albert, who confessed that with his children “doing other things, all I can do is try to sell it as a going concern – and at least no-one can change the frontage.”

Michael Albert: "I couldn’t be very modern, I don’t know how. It wouldn’t suit me. Let’s leave that to somebody younger and in the swing of things." Photo: Tom Storr
Michael Albert: “I couldn’t be very modern, I don’t know how. It wouldn’t suit me.” Photo: Tom Storr
Albert lasted fifty years at the helm of the clothes shop because, he reckoned, he knew “to sell to your clientele. That’s how we’ve managed to survive over the years. We’re the only place round here where an older woman can buy classic styles. Youngsters used to be the biggest market, but it’s a different world now.”

The news prompted much nostalgia and reminiscing across our social media channels: “When my (divorced) grandparents got back together in their 1980s,” said reader Laura Murray, “and got a house in Kentish Town, my grandad bought my granny a £50 voucher for Blustons on her birthday. It was The. Cutest. Thing. Ever.”

Paul E. added that “my gran shopped there most of her life, as well as Daniel’s Department store, I think they had display floors next door to Blustons.”

The famous red dress in the window at Blustons
The famous red dress in the window at Blustons. Photo: Tom Storr
“This was one of a couple of shops I loved as a child,” remembered Donna. “Playing chase around the outside of the shop with my younger brother, trying to see each other through the central display, while my nan shopped inside.”


Read the other comments from locals here. But what happens now? Should the listed shopfront enjoy a second life as a “vintage tea room”, as reader Sue Odell suggested? Or what?

And how to preserve the spirit of its legendary display – pictured here in British Vogue – especially that famous polka dot dress?

Join our campaign and vote now using our nifty little box below: it’s pretty clever as all results go directly to Camden Council, so it means everyone’s voice is heard. And don’t forget to leave a comment, too.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.