Christmas is behind us and, well, it has definitely been the strangest one for everyone. But just before London went into Tier 3 and then 4, a bit of normality and festive spirt was brought by the Christmas Canine Doggie Grotto held at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, timed to also celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Palm Dog, the award celebrating canines performances on the big screen (read all about Palm Dog in this previous interview). Toby Rose, founder of Palm Dog, pens this blog post and tells us all about how the Grott was and the great dog-friendly shops at Coal Drops Yard that you can visit with your pooch. – Cover photo – Coal Drops Yard before the Covid pandemic.
Canine Doggie Grotto at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross
By Toby Rose
“The up market shops of Coal Drops Yard in the newly groovy King’s Cross are committed to making the space a dog-friendly destination. Expect to see local dogs out for a walk around the minimalist Christmas tree, Centre stage the tree is festooned with silver spheres and terrarium baubles created by local shop Botanical Boys. Local folks and their doggies are a close knit community and everyday is a play date for King’s Cross canines.
With an eye to the pulling power of local pooches local plant merchants Botanical Boys gave over their store to a doggie grotto for some suitably seasonal snaps. Kicking off the socially distant photo shoot was a little darling who was not even born when the pandemic broke out. Gigi is a French Bulldog pup who is the mascot of Lower Stable Street charity shop Pop Up 38. All agreed that the lovely grotto photo shoot could not have got off to a cuter start. Three illuminated Dalmatians – best buys at this charity store – made the setting brighter and very bowser.
Next up was neighbourhood dachshund Wolfie – short for the rather grander sounding Wolfgang – who made a loud barking entrance. He may be small but there was no way that he was getting overlooked. With his mistress Konstance he took up position in the dingly dell. Sporting a rather dapper blue jacket Wolfie posed up for the cameras with Hollywood skill.
The Botanical Boys is a dog-friendly enterprise in keeping with their green mandate. Coal Drops stores offer many doggies items. Leading the pack in the dog-friendly stakes is the swanky Paul Smith boutique. Front and centre of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the brand is Paul Smith’s dog Homer. This very stately Afghan hound an assistant at the very first Paul Smith shop in Nottingham and gave the store that style edge. Homer returns with a bespoke range of shirts and even socks emblazoned with his likeness. Proof that dogs truly are man’s best friend.
On the lower level of Coal Drops is a very doggie destination, Morty and Bobs. Super dog-friendly and has woof on the iron pillar next to the counter as you enter.
Meanwhile back to Botanical Boys and bowsers. Their trademark terrariums can be customised with doggie figurines plus, and most excitingly, the store offers artisanal handcrafted beaded dogs. These are created individually to order from photos in Johannesburg. Should anyone want to immortalise their pooch contact Darren. Turn your dog into a work of art! A remarkable and indisputably original Christmas gift.
After the photo shoot finished the owners enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine at suitable social distance. And there was one more surprise – a canine carol! With leading lady Savvy Clement reading from her iPhone the select group of locals and pooches were treated to God Rest Ye Merry Dobermens. Rousing and and uplifting at a time when sprits need to be raised. And here is the adapted chorus which was sung in honour of our canines friends.
Oh doggies bring comfort and joy / Comfort and joy / Oh doggies bring comfort and joy.
I think we can all agree with that seasonal sentiment.”