My name is Hester Baldwin and I manage Green and Stone. I am also the daughter of Rodney Baldwin who you may know as the mastermind behind this iconic shop.
I am passionate about Green and Stone. Having been in the shop since I was old enough to talk I have witnessed the changes to the Kings Road. Shops that I have loved are no more. Yet, over the years, due to our fiercely loyal customers we have remained; and I am proud to say we are the longest running shop in Kings Road. We have kept Green and Stone exactly as it should be; a creative hub of information for the artistic and with an eclectic mix of curios. It serves as a peaceful escape from London’s modern revolt.
We have welcomed the locals of Chelsea and tourists from near and far; those who have sought us out, those who stumble upon us, the artists, writers, directors, movie stars and musicians, and everyone in between. Having served some of the greatest contemporary artists like David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Lucien Freud, Quentin Blake and Henry Moore to name but a few, we are considered the best art shop in Europe.
The shop was originally based within the Chenil Gallery, whose directors were Augustus John and Bernard Shaw and Green and Stone moved to its current site at 259 Kings Road in 1934, where Mr Alfred Green and his sons Alfie & Peter continued to run the shop primarily as a picture framing business, with what was then, only a small Art Materials section. Before becoming our home, 259 Kings Road was previously run as a shop for the Women’s Suffragette Movement. My father, Rodney, bought the business in 1972 and what you know as Green and Stone is of his making.
To remain in the same building has its perks. We are a landmark destination; the black cabs know where to find us if you can’t. Our nostalgic shop front suspends you in a time now past and we can be relied upon as a location for a meeting place as we have been here for 85 years; indeed, Green and Stone is an institution.
However, as with anything old, 259 Kings Road has its downfalls too. Without the TLC the building needed our dear shop has started to shake its head in protest and sent floods of biblical proportions through the basement; more than once, I hasten to add. I believe, after 85 years of trading here at 259 Kings Road, this old gal wants an early retirement. This day would always come, but we were not expecting it quite so soon.
After long discussions and support from the Sloane Stanley Estate about what could be done, moving out of her definitively, was the best answer. The works needed to get the building back to fit and healthy could take several years, which would be impossible to live with. I won’t lie, it is a devastating blow to have to leave the Kings Road; even if we are only moving to (almost) the same address on the Fulham Road.
I have watched my father build the Green and Stone legacy into something that is truly magical. The lilts in voices of children and adults alike as they wander through the emporium makes me proud to work here. The constant cooing throughout the day of ‘this is the best shop in London’, only fuels my passion to want to continue his dream. After 45 years of working tirelessly, on what we all know and love, at Green and Stone, it is time I take the helm. Under his patient and passionate eye we will hopefully steer this great ship on for another century!
Green and Stone doesn’t need to change its raison d’etre, and anyone reading this with suspicion twitching across their face should know that in every year of my 30 years young, lie the roots of Green and Stone. The amount of joy she has given a multitude of families over the years is staggering, I know of scarce shops that are handed down through generations like jewels.
Whilst a shame to move, what does come with it is my chance to expand on what my father has created - not change it. With the move we will have more space. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is about running art classes. It’s a tragedy we haven’t been able to accommodate classes in the past, but now this is something we can work towards. I want to inspire the children in the area, create an escape for over-worked adults and give everyone and anyone the opportunity to learn new skills that can bring so much joy. Another question we’re asked is about Gallery space. Previously we have been able to host artists who have shown their work amongst the art materials and antiques and we have put on several successful shows. The idea now is for it to be a separate, beautiful open space that can properly showcase the artist's work.
In terms of our art materials, almost everything you can buy now will still be available. I only want to add to our vast array of materials with an emphasis on handmade and unique.
So, in times of need, I need to ask you, our dear friends and our long- standing patrons, will you help? This challenge is a colossal one. Mammoth sized! How do you move 91 years of history in only one month? We don’t need the physical help of moving (unless you have a penchant for it and by all means come help muck in), but I am hoping you might pledge your custom to our new shop. The associated costs with moving are not something we planned for, and due to the sudden need to move we are just not prepared for it.
Realistically, the money needed to move will cost us in excess of £100k which is a colossal sum. We will be grateful for anything raised that will help us continue. It is because of all of you that we remain, and with your help, we will be staying for years to come.
'Courage' by Charlie Mackesy
Charlie will be making a one off large version of this iconic image which went viral and has been shared over a million times around the world. It is used by the British and American military and it is used in psychiatric units and therapy centres.
When I asked Charlie if he might donate a drawing to help with fundraising he simply said "I'd love to. Without the support of Green and Stone in the early days, I'm not sure if I'd have continued to be an artist."
This gift to us is a great privilege not least because he has been buying materials form us his entire life. I am deeply thankful for his friendship as well as his patronage.
Charlie has exhibited in in New York and London and his sculptural work is in public spaces. Collectors of interest include ; Whoopi Goldberg, Roger Waters, Richard Curtis, The Murdoch Freuds, Tim Bevan, M.Night Shyamalan, Bear Grylls, Howard Goodall, Harry Enfield and Sting.
Please visit Charlie's instagram to learn more @charliemackesy
The original ink drawing will be available to win via our raffle perk for £25 a ticket.