13 September, 2011


With the sudden onset of autumn, its time to for us to start introducing some of our warmer and woolier lines; these Irish Cottage Socks are a real treat for frozen feet and one of our most popular winter products.  

Available in our Redchurch Street store now, or email us for more info.                 

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  • 09 September, 2011

    The Map of Spitalfields Life

    Who is the Gentle Author? This mysterious character is as much a part of Spitalfields’ myth and mystery as any of the personages past and present featured in the exquisite historical and sociological blog Spitalfields Life.

    We are very proud to have appeared in the backpages of this fascinating online record of the life and times of this part of London in which we settled ten years ago, and which we now call home. So we were intrigued by the appearance of an invitation to the unveiling of the Map of Spitalfields Life.

    Drawn by Adam Dant, himself a Spitalfields character of no little renown, whose beautifully drawn, delicate and detailed maps of the East End of London have entertained and intrigued locals and visitors alike, this map promises to reveal the stories of fifty of the people who have made Spitalfields so distinctive.

    The map, devised and drawn under the strictest security, will be unveiled by Sandra Esqulant, Queen of Spitalfields, at 7 o'clock sharp on Thursday 15th September, at Town House, Fournier Street. We’ll be there, and we can’t wait to see who’ll be on the map.

  • See more: 2011, The Gentle Author

  • 09 September, 2011

    Shoreditch Design Triangle

    From the 17th to the 25th of September Labour and Wait will be taking part in this year’s Shoreditch Design Triangle. Thirty four local shops, galleries and studios will be hosting a variety of events and exhibitions showcasing the best in contemporary design. 

    As part of this, and to tie in with London Design Week, we will be launching the Turner and Harper range of brushes, as well as participating in the Late Night Shopping event on Tuesday 20th. This will be a chance to meet the designer of this exclusive range, as well as to have a browse of our Redchurch Street store, and to see all the interesting events taking place in and around Shoreditch.

    The Design Triangle is coordinated by SCP with their media partners Dezeen, and a map and guide to the events can be found here.

  • See more: 2011, Shoreditch Design Triangle

  • 27 August, 2011


    We are pleased to present Labour and Wait’s collaboration with Tokyobike.

    The resurgence of interest in urban cycling is one of the most remarkable stories of the past few years.

    Perhaps the influence of ‘fixie’ culture has worked its way into the mainstream, for there is no avoiding the brightly coloured, narrow handlebarred single-geared machines weaving in and out of the London traffic, nor the classic ( and not so classic ) racers and their hunched and frantic riders. All these cyclists now take their place on the roads alongside the town bikes, the tourers, the Dutch bikes, mountain bikes, Bromptons, shoppers, choppers, BMXs, and cruisers; and lets not ignore the invigorating renaissance of the bike shops, workshops, renovators and restorers and, most curiously, the birth of the bike café.

    Those of us who have cycled for many years recognize the freedom and the spontaneity of cycling, as well as the pure and simple pleasure of getting on your bike and pushing hard on the pedals, and it is a joy for us that this is something that more and more people are taking pleasure from. And it is also worth noting that at the start of the twenty-first century so many people are turning to a machine that has survived virtually unchanged for over one hundred years.

    So we are delighted to be able to reveal our collaboration with Tokyobike. We first became aware of this company a couple of years ago, both through our Japanese contacts and through their British distributors, when we were taken by the simple, clean lines of the bicycles and the thoughtful, curated appeal of their pop-up shops.

    The best way to describe the Tokyobike classic – the basis of this bike – is with the word that appears most often in our blog, in our shop and in our thinking: timeless. The Labour and Wait Tokyobike is truly timeless, for we are neither neon hipster nor tweed-clad gent, but we are who we are. 

    We love the mix of modern and classic on this bike – the full steel frame and Shimano gears with our specification Brooks B17 leather saddle and Carradice Junior saddlebag. The bike is a hybrid of Japanese and British style, the frame designed and built in Japan, the accessories handmade here in the UK.

    This bike represents Labour and Wait, for it is not about ‘retro’ or nostalgia, but the simple pleasure of a well designed, functional and timeless product.

    With most blogs and articles on cycling, it seems correct to quote H.G Well’s famous words ( “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race” ), but in this instance we should turn instead to another author, Iris Murdoch, for our closing sentiment:

    “The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.”

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  • 17 August, 2011

    Turner and Harper

    Here is a sneak preview of a collection we will be launching as part of London Design Week.

    These boxes contain hand made brushes which, in the words of the designer, ‘combine a material quality that nods to tradition with a contemporary design aesthetic’. They will remain hidden, however, until their launch in September.

    Based in North Yorkshire, Turner & Harper are a new British company focused on the design and manufacture of timeless, functional products for the home, and we are delighted that they have chosen to launch their brand and their products through Labour and Wait. 

    The launch will take place in London Design Week 2011 ( 17th - 25th September ), when all will be revealed!

  • See more: 2011, Brushes

  • 21 July, 2011

    Syussai Pottery

    Our recently arrived – and long awaited - delivery of Japanese products included amongst it a small selection of Syussai pottery. The story of the Syussai kiln is a fascinating one, a story that crosses back and forth across the globe and which makes clear the connections between English Arts and Crafts and Japanese Mingei, between British studio potters and Japanese craftsmen and which links the Cornish town of St. Ives with a small kiln on the banks of the Hiikawa river.  

    The Syussai kiln was established in 1947 by five friends who each shared the aim of making simple, utilitarian crockery for everyday use. Their work was influenced by the Mingei “folk craft” movement founded by Yanagi Muneyoshi in the early years of the Twentieth Century, and which saw pure and natural beauty in ordinary objects created by unknown craftsmen for practical purposes. Mingei products celebrate the work of the artisan and the fulfillment of an object’s innate purpose.

    Tatano Hiromitsu, one of the founders of the Syussai kiln, learnt about Mingei through his studies of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, the celebration of artisan craftsmanship which was in part a reaction against the industry and mass production of late Victorian England. Together with Kawai Ganjiro, an associate of Yanagi, Tatano came up with the idea of creating a kiln where individual craftsmen could create utilitarian pottery in a traditional manner. 


    The Syussai kiln was strongly influenced by the English potter Bernard Leach. Born in Hong Kong, Leach studied at the London School of Art and travelled and worked extensively in Japan and China before, in 1920, opening his own traditional Japanese “climbing kiln” in St Ives with his friend the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada. For the next 50 years, this kiln was the focal point for the studio pottery movement. Throughout Leach’s career he advocated that the potter’s focus should not be on decoration or embellishment but in the tactile and functional perfection of objects designed for everyday use. This belief, shaped by the principles of Mingei, defined the studio pottery movement and the St Ives kiln became the college for a new generation of potters making their way through Leach’s apprentice system. 

    Leach’s philosophy of pottery is contained in his classic A Potter’s Book. The required manual for any studio potter, practical tips are combined with aesthetic ideals and Leach’s interpretation of the values of Mingei -  “Enduring forms are full of quiet assurance. Overstatement is worse than understatement.” 

    The Syussai kiln is one of the few remaining where Bernard Leach originally stayed and where he shared his designs and expertise; the jug we are selling is one of Syussai’s Leach products. The most noteworthy feature of it is the handle, in a Western style, and which Leach called the ‘wet handle’. This is made from a ball of clay and shaped using the heat and humidity of the hand, imagining a branch growing from the trunk of a tree. The shape of the potter’s thumbprint remains, making an ergonomic grip. Even within Syussai there are only a few craftsmen who can make this handle.

    After 60 years, the Shussai kiln still insists on using local materials for its clay and glazes, and despite its fame, it continues to make practical crockery for ordinary people in the Izumo area. We are delighted to be able to provide this beautiful pottery to our customers here in England. The thread between English Arts and Crafts and Japanese Mingei, between St Ives and Hiikawa, runs through this Syussai pottery and defines the concept of studio pottery as laid down by Leach - the Marriage of East and West.

    The Syussai jugs are available in three sizes from our Redchurch Street store.

    The Leach Pottery in St Ives is still open as a studio, museum, gallery and shop.

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  • 20 July, 2011


    A selection of samples, seconds and shop soiled products are now available in our Redchurch Street store.

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  • 12 July, 2011

    Bulbs, Holders, Cable

    We’re delighted to introduce our new range of lighting accessories. Bulbs, bulb holders and fabric cable are now available in store and online, the perfect partners for our enamel lampshades.

    The delicate appearance of the Swiss-made filament light bulb belies the strength of its illumination, and as we have them above the counter here in our shop we can vouch for their quality and longevity.

    The 60Watt bulb has a bayonet fitting, as have our bulb holders. These are available in brass, nickel and bronze and have a plastic grip to ensure a tight hold on the cord.

    The Italian-made fabric cable is available in four colours; brown, red, black and white. With four colours of lampshade also available, there is plenty of scope to create your own fabulous lighting arrangement.

    More information and pictures of our enamel lampshades can be seen below.

    All products are available online from our website.

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  • 25 June, 2011


    Enamel Lampshades are now back in stock.


    We will have some interesting news about fixtures and fittings for the lights very shortly, but in the meantime make sure you come in or reserve your shades, as they are going fast.

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  • 19 June, 2011

    Safety Razors

    As any visitor to Labour and Wait knows, we are a fairly hirsute lot. We wear a variety of beards, moustaches and ‘designer’ stubble, but we still acknowledge the importance of a good close shave, and so we are very excited about our new selection of safety razors and shaving accessories. 

    The Merkur range of razors, manufactured in Solingen, arrived in store recently. This area of Germany has long been renowned for the quality of its metalwork, particularly in bladed metal, and these razors are no exception. The Nickel plated safety razor is a design that can be traced back to 1904 and the first Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor, and is a simple, timeless design that should last a lifetime of shaving. 

    The Deluxe Safety Razor comes in its own case and is supplied with ten blades. The cream dial handle rotates to open the head, allowing easy replacement of the blade, and the razor itself has a wonderful heavy feel in the hand.

    For the perfect shave the razors are ideally accompanied with either our Valobra Shaving soap, long a favourite amongst our discerning male customers, or with our new Proraso shaving soap.

    Proraso has being making shaving soap in Italy since 1926, and is respected the world over for the quality of shave it provides. This shave cream has a delicate eucalyptus and menthol scent and is perfect used in conjunction with our 444 After Shave Balm.



    All these shaving products are available from our website.

    For a fantastic site full of information about classic razors and some beatiful illustrations and adverts, why not visit Mr-Razor?.

  • See more: 2011

  • 09 June, 2011


    We are delighted to introduce our new range of footwear, available from our Redchurch Street Store.

    We have searched for a long time to find the right espadrilles, and we are glad to have found the perfect supplier. Although these may look similar to those available in many other high street shops, we know these are of the highest quality, hand-made in Spain in the traditional manner and authentic in every detail.

    As any visitor to Barcelona knows, La Manual Alpargatera is the place to go for your espadrilles, and we are very happy to be the first British stockist of their classic artisan footwear. Established during the Civil War, La Manual have been making their espadrilles in the traditional way ever since. 

    Really, though, we should be calling these slippers espardenyes, after all that is the original Catalan name ( before the French corruption of espadrilles )And as these are made in Catalonia, it is only right to give them their true title. 

    Espardenyes are available in sizes 39 to 44 in Natural, Navy, Black, Brown and Red.


  • See more: 2011

  • 28 May, 2011

    Feuerhand Hurricane Lanterns

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  • 25 May, 2011

    Labour and Wait in The Independent

    We’ve had a visit from The Independent

  • See more: 2011, Press

  • 27 April, 2011

    Chopstick Rests

    After seeing the unfortunate events in Japan recently, we were thinking about ways in which we could help out, when we received an email from Mizuyo Yamashita, a Japanese ceramicist who asked  if we would be interested in carrying some of her chopstick rests.

    We loved the look of these little houses so we agreed to sell them for her, with all profits going to the Japanese Red Cross and Civic Force. These have proved to be very popular with all of our customers and, thanks to their generosity, we have had to ask Mizuyo to bring us in new stock each week. 

    As we have suppliers, colleagues and friends in Japan we were glad to do our little bit to help and we are planning more for the future, but in the meantime please visit Mizuyo’s blog and have a look at some of her exquisite ceramics.

  • See more: 2011

  • 21 April, 2011

    Vintage Welsh Blankets

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  • 16 April, 2011

    Brush Museum

    Labour and Wait was honored to received a visit from Spitalfields Life this week. A figure familiar yet mysterious to those of us living and working in the area, the Gentle Author is the chronicler and curator of all things East London, a modern day Charles Lamb and a single-handed reincarnation of the Illustrated London News. 

    Our esteemed author was here to visit our Brush Museum, a collection of curios and keepsakes assembled over many years by Simon and Rachel, Labour and Wait’s founders and owners. Now displayed with pride on our staircase, these brushes are only a small selection of those collected over the years, and range from a nineteenth century clothes brush to a modern Japanese plasterer’s brush and a Swedish floor scrubber. The gentle author, however, can write about this collection with far more style and charm than I ever could, so please take a trip to this wonderful blog for more on our repository of sweepers, scourers, scrubbers, wipers and washers.

    Spitalfields Life

  • See more: 2011, Brushes

  • 13 April, 2011

    Usefulness in Small Things

    At Labour and Wait we believe in form, function and affordability. Everyday jobs and tasks can be completed with ease and enjoyment - pleasure, even - if only the right tools are used.

    The joys of simple, effective and affordable design are explored in Kim Colin and Sam Hecht’s new book ‘Usefulness in Small Things’. A collection of items from small local shops around the world, brought together through the theme of 'Under a Fiver’, the book is an examination of function and design, and of the relationship between object and user.

    As well as contributing a foreword to the book, Paul Smith is also hosting an exhibition to celebrate the launch, timed to coincide with the Milan Furniture Fair, and we are very pleased to have been able to supply some useful items of our own for this exhibition.

    Small Ostrich Feather Dusters

    Monkey’s Fist Rope Doorstop

    Portuguese 'Couto’ Toothpaste, Vaseline and Handcream, Enamel Soapdish, and Zambuck Herbal Balm.

    “Usefulness in Small Things” is on display at Paul Smith Milan, Palazzo Gallarati Scotti,
    Via Manzoni 30, from the 11th April.

    For more information on Paul Smith, check out his blog.

  • See more: 2011

  • 10 February, 2011

    Independent London Store Guide

    The second edition of Independent London is now available at Labour and Wait. This great little book is your guide to the best of London’s independent shops, cafes and workshops.

    We know how much time, effort and energy goes into running these small businesses, whether in retail or publishing, so a book like this is perfect in spreading the word about all these great companies. The London independent scene is vibrant and exciting, with new shops appearing all the time, especially in local areas traditionally ignored by the major high street brands. So support your local shops, support your local area, and shop independent.

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  • 09 February, 2011

    Goodbye to Cheshire Street

    So, after ten happy and successful years we finally bid farewell to our old home, number 18 Cheshire Street. All the stock has been packed up, the shelves have been taken down, the holes filled, the walls repainted and our vast collection of bits and pieces removed to Redchurch Street. All that remains is to give it one last clean, pull the shutters down and hand back the keys. 

    Simon and Rachel’s famous American Gothic pose, as seen in magazines worldwide.

    We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us at Cheshire Street, we have really enjoyed our time here and have felt lucky to be a part of this community. The street has changed so much since 2001, when we first opened, and it looks set to keep evolving with a new generation of shops and shopkeepers soon to establish themselves. Cheshire Street has had a huge role in the revitalisation of the East End and we’re glad to have played our part.

    Packing up and moving on… 

  • See more: 2011

  • 23 December, 2010

    Merry Christmas from all at Labour And Wait!

    Merry Christmas from all at Labour And Wait!

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  • 21 December, 2010

    Christmas Opening Hours

    We will be open as normal on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December, and for last minute shoppers we will be open until 8pm on Thursday the 23rd.

    We will then be on our Christmas holidays until Tuesday the 4th of January.

    Thankyou for your support and custom this year, and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  • See more: 2010, christmas

  • 09 December, 2010

    Christmas is coming

    And the mail order department is running at full steam…


    To ensure your delivery arrives before Christmas, please make sure your order reaches us before Thursday the 16th December.

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  • 02 December, 2010

    Redchurch Street Opening Party

    Many thanks to those of you who made it to our opening party last week. Particular thanks go to Rochelle Canteen and Truman’s Beer. It is always good to work with local suppliers and businesses, and we were particularly pleased to have two firkins of beer from Truman’s, who have brought their famous name ( and their famous beer ) back to the pubs of East London.

    Our thanks also go to our generous friends and suppliers who provided us with the goodies for our gift bags:

    Aesop, The Boundary, Ally Capelino, Caravan, Historic Lighting Company, Kornflake, Old Town Clothing, Sunspel and Spitalfields Life

  • See more: 2010, Redchurch Street

  • 18 November, 2010

    The Dolphin on Church Street

    Labour and Wait’s new premises was once the old Dolphin, a Truman, Hanbury and Buxton Co. public house. The distinctive tiled exterior has long been a feature of Redchurch Street and we are delighted to bring this building back to public life. 

    The above photo, of the Dolphin in the 1930s, is taken from the Dead Pubs website, and when we found the image we were delighted to see the writing on the curved corner window. One of our original intentions for this new store was to have handpainted signage and lettering on the windows, and this was completed for us in some style by Peter Hardwicke. 

    Peter’s work is in evidence all over London, and in particular the East End, and he completed the finishing touches on our new store, helping to link the new Labour and Wait with the old Dolphin.

    For more information on Peter and his signwriting, visit the ever-fascinating Spitalfields Life blog, from where this picture is taken. ( Photo by Jeremy Freedman )

    The Dolphin on Church Street

    Peter Hardwicke on Spitalfields Life

  • See more: 2010, Redchurch Street

  • 04 November, 2010

    Welcome to Labour and Wait

    So after ten successful years on Cheshire Street, Labour and Wait are proud to present our new home! Converted from an old Truman Brewery pub, 85 Redchurch Street is a short walk from our old store but represents an exciting new era for us. Open 6 days a week, the new store is bigger and brighter and features many new products alongside all the old favourites.

    And alongside the new shop we’ll also be easing ourselves into the 21st Century with this blog. We’ll be keeping you updated with news of products, events and various interesting bits and pieces. Welcome to Labour and Wait, we hope to see you in the store soon!

  • See more: 2010, Redchurch Street

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