Similarly to the last year, 2017 London’s Writing Equipment Show (LWES) which is called by many as London Pen Show was held in Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street which is minutes’ walk from London Kings Cross station. Because I travel from Cambridge this location is very convenient for me. I like easy to achieve missions – Enter the train, read a book for 40 minutes, leave the train…have a 10 minutes of refreshing walk and suddenly I am at the venue…pish pash posh….
Last year it was my first penshow I attended and it was extremally overwhelming. The amount of pens to look at, vendors and visitors to speak with is really large in numbers. Tough call, especially when I came to the show pretty late and trying to see everything was very exhausting at the end, but satisfactory either. The Cambridge Pen Show , which happened earlier this year was obviously much smaller, but at the same time I felt much more laid back and relaxed. I decided to have similar approach to London’s show, which I believe paid off. So, instead of trying to see absolutely everything I was rather focussed on selected areas which interest me mostly, taking regular breaks to have a drink and chat with other pen enthusiasts at the hotel bar (I will return to this later). Drinking is important. This place is getting steaming hot vey quickly and is very easy to get really drowsy. London WES is really crowded. Last yeat was busy, but I have just read that this year number of visitors was up by over 60% ! Crazy.
(last 45 minutes and it was still busy)
There were many many vendors including usual suspects like Pure Pens, Write Here, Aurora, Omas, William Hannah, Hamilton Pen Company, Conor, Twiss Pens and many more. However, significant part of the show was dedicated to vintage pens. Personally, I am not a ‘pen collector’ and I am not much into vintage pens as such, but I had a quick overview spotting number of beautiful writing instruments here and there. If you are into vintage pens, probably you could spend hours by hawking pens and chatting with the sellers/proud owners.
Thanks to Ross from Pure Pens there was a free 20 ml bottle of Diamine inks to be picked at the doors. That was very nice touch I must say. Unfortunately, some people were not that lucky and missed it.
Last year, I got absolutely stunning acrylic pen made by John Twiss and bunch of Taroko notebooks from BureauDirect and bunch of KWZ inks, but this year I was not I was not planning to buy anything specific at the show. I was mole like, well I find something I really like in reasonable price (yes, I have Mortgage to pay off!), the yes I will go for it. Funny, enough I bought two pens within first 5 minutes being at the show! There was a table where very kind man was selling mainly Conklin, Montverde pens for very small amount of money. When I heard (thanks Mishka!) that he has Conklin Mark Twain Crescent for £10.0, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. I though, did she said 10 quid for a pen which normal retail price is around £ 160 in the UK, or she meant 10% off. Well, to my surprise this pen (in different colours) was available at the show for £10. This is seriously nut! I have picked also Montverde Catalina black pearl to. I spent for two pens, which normally would cost around £ 250.0 only £ 30.0. Unbelievable. How cool is that? I am pretty sure that he was a star of the day and made many people (including myself) very happy.
I brought also new Lamy Aion from Write Here, which turned out bo be a decent and smooth writer nd massive quality step compared to award Safari, which I appreciate. I got it with EF nib and it proudly joined side next to Lamy 200o in my everyday carry pouch.
It was good to catch up with guys from Omas and Aurora who were showing gorgeous pens as always. Pure Pens had nice collection of Pelikans which I absolutely love. There were also various Visconti pens available too.
Eye candy pens made by John Twiss (Twiss Pens) as always attracted many people, but I believe the real shiny star at his desk the was the Pelikan M1000 with body made from beautiful Omas cellulose acetate . What a pen! However, it was not for sell at the show.
Interestingly, there were not that many inks available this time. This is likely due to absence vendors like BureauDirect and The Writing Desk. However, Pure Pens had selection of Diamine Shimmering inks as well as Noodler’s and Robert Oster’s Signature ones. Write Here had selection of Pilot Iroshizuku and Caran d’Ache Chromatics. There were also inks availabe at Aurora’s table, but many visitors were expected more. The same was with stationary items icluding nitebooks. Except Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, there was not much to choose, really. I found it really surprising. Hopefully, William Hannah, had an old shelf filled with absolutely stunning leather A5 an A6 notebooks. The paper they use is one of the best you can find in the market. Is smooth, thick and very fountain pen friendly. I was really pleased to see new line of A6 notebooks. Despite of high price tag (well this is all about great quality), I will consider one on the nearest future.
If you had a nib to be tinned, aligned or whatever, John Sorowka was available as always.
Stef (@Grandmia Pens) did an absolutely wonderful job promoting fountain pens to young people at the show by giving them a free pen from Sheaffer who kindly donated them. Great job, Sir!
To me the best part of this show was a social aspect. It was great to catch up with other bloggers I met before and at the show and all people who are sharing their passion to fountain pens. I was great to have a break for a drink and try friend’s pens, chat and exchange opinions and basically have fun. we did is in Cambridge in May, so we carried out this time too, and I am pretty sure we will do next time we meet. It was great. Thanks Vijay, Jon, Terry and Mishka- great people who luckily have great pens too.
Summarising, 2017 LWES was a great and successful show again. despite of great people, it s always good to have opportunity to try pens, get the fell, learn something about them. I found it very interesting and helpful as a future reference if I decide to buy a particular pen. I took it easy and I think this is the way to approach this type of events.
I will definitely go next year.