King’s Road Vintage Heaven: Steinberg & Tolkien

Who remembers Steinberg & Tolkein on King’s Road? Vintage heaven which closed its doors in 2007? Just this evening, I came across my Steinberg & Tolkein t-shirt as I was (and still am) sifting through my summer tops:

I remember when news about the shop’s closing had stunned Chelsea’s locals. I remember stepping in and asking one of the shop assistants, just as someone else was asking another assistant, why this treasure trove of history and fashion was shutting down. Today, Steinberg & Tolkein is but a distant memory to those who were lucky enough to have visited it.

If you never managed to step inside this magnificant fashionista haven, read this Time Out article. It pretty much sums up why Steinberg & Tolkein was a veritable King’s Road gem!


  1. Adrianne B
    February 3, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    As a 17 year old tourist from Detroit, I happened upon Steinberg and Tolkien by chance while window shopping in Chelsea. Their selection was marvelous; I recall the clothing having been categorized by era, going back to the 19th c. There was even a small section on the first floor that had costume pieces worn on the British stage and screen. It was the first time I’d seen vintage designer clothing outside of a museum!
    I purchased a pair of 50s cufflinks as a souvenir for my rockabilly boyfriend but, alas, nothing for myself, a grave mistake. It is devastating to know that this place no longer exists, but Steinberg and Tolkien lives on in my adoration for vintage clothing and accessories!

  2. Alizja Conteh
    March 24, 2014 / 4:43 pm

    I bought my wedding dress here back in 2000/2001! Beautiful 1940’s handmade ivory silk-satin with delicate embroidery and beading work, mermaid tail with netting. I found it hanging on the back of the door at the bottom of the staircase, the downstairs was a little flooded at the time so I had to try it on in the “changing room” holding it up at the bottom as the carpet was squelchy with water. My mum put a deposit down on it and when we went back to pick it up they gave it to us in a blue checked plastic laundry bag to take it home. Totally worth it though and we saw the comic value in the whole event. Very sad this shop has gone.

  3. Jamie
    January 8, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Back in the late 90’s I was a model living in Chelsea and s&t was the place to shop. Many of my fave pics from the time was outfits borrowed from there. Shame on Chelsea for loosing one of it’s most iconic stores and turning kings Rd into just another high street. Sw1 is much more boring these days.

  4. Ruky
    January 18, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    Got fashion graduation dress from there… still got it… I love it! Need another decent shop like this!

  5. Nicky Charlish
    March 23, 2019 / 9:58 am

    Am I right in thinking that Brix Smith Start used to work at S & T?
    I long for the old Kings Road – Fruit Fly, Great Gear Market, Midnight Blue, etc.
    Best regards,

    • Mina Zaher
      March 23, 2019 / 2:46 pm

      Hi Nicky, I’m afraid I don’t know sorry. x

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