In the Beginning
David Drummond toured the country as an actor in the early 1960’s, he began picking up interesting objects which he added to his personal collection of theatre ephemera. In 1961 he began selling the surplus at various London markets, Camden Passage, Bermondsey and Shepherds Bush, before gravitating to the more vibrant Portobello Road in 1962. The business eclipsed his acting career when the stall evolved into a small shop at 1A Ladbroke Grove. Then in 1967, Pleasures of Past Times relocated to the heart of Theatre Land in Cecil Court. A note, found in the back room dated July 1967, stated, “You’re wrong, you’ll never survive in the West End!”
As the visitors’ book confirms – see below – many famous performers, actors, musicians, conjurors and artists crossed the threshold. Equally, the much significant material has passed through the doors; everything from a withdrawn 1st edition of Alice in Wonderland, to the original artwork for the 1911 Peter Pan novel Peter & Wendy.
Ultimately the shops’ stock reflects London’s current preoccupation with its own past. Originally selling 19th Century Music Hall and Henry Irving material – now it concentrates on popular (and unpopular) culture, This, in part, reflects the new owner Paul Drummond.Whereas once mime artist Lindsay Kemp (who once described P.O.P.T as his favourite shop) would have taken centre stage, he’s been succeeded by his protégé, David Bowie…Whereas previously bawdy song meant Music Hall, now it means Punk. The shop has updated, while still being 50 years out of date… The shop’s philosophy has remained the same, yet evolved to reflect the next generation’s interests.
For our 50th we decided to ask some of our long term customers to write postcards…