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Farlows of Pall Mall took on a slightly different mood yesterday as John Andrews of Arcadia and John Knott, author of the recently published ‘The History of Wilton Fishing Club’, both greeted visitors to No 9 Pall Mall, London.

John Andrews Farlows sepia

Fishing tackle shops for me have become a lost world that only conjures up memories of childhood, sadly all the ones with character have nearly all but gone. I have mixed emotions about Farlows now, when I first moved to London in the early nineties Farlows was still an exciting place to visit, situated on the corner of Burlington Arcade and Piccadilly, a small packed shop full of tackle, a place of questions and discovery. From what I can recall the staff were generally elderly and extremely polite, even to a young rascal like myself who insisted on handling the large aray of Hardy rods and reels. I of course had no intention in buying but they knew that so with a little guilt I would purchase the odd nymph or dry-fly.

At that time there were still a few good local tackle shops surviving around London but the only other ‘premier’ tackle shop based in central London was Hardys (coincidentally in Pall Mall), this place seemed very upmarket to me and quite intimidating with its dark suited staff in comparison to the more friendlier and informal Farlows.

Farlows holds on in 2013 with speculation of buy-outs from afar but throughout the day a little soul was given back to Farlows as tea was poured and a hand of Happy Families was played across the counter.