This is a chart of UK pen shops, designed to help find elusive brands of pens and ink to compare prices or complete your collection. I’ve concentrated on fountain pens (highlighted green) and ink for fountain pens (highlighted blue unless it’s already green).
This is a companion post to my earlier, larger list of UK pen, ink and paper shops! on which you can find links to the web sites. The list also contains brands only available at one outlet—many marques have been moved out of the chart into this list for size reasons.
I’ve probably made a few mistakes, so please let me know of any errors or omissions. I’ll be adding some more sites soon, but I think I’ve covered the larger ones. Good quill hunting!
I used “rough books” in my schooldays. The idea was that children would take notes in their rough work book during a class and then transfer this new knowledge in a more polished form to their subject exercise books later. Of course the rough book would also get filled with doodles, various stains and games like hangman —especially during double physics.Any exercise book or notebook will do the job, but you can still buy Rough Work Exercise Books with 60 gsm paper in the UK for a quid each from The Paper Warehouse. In India there is a huge range with attractive covers at IndiaMart. I stopped using the low-quality exercise books that the school provided and took to spiral-bound reporters’ notebooks from W. H. Smith.
I did a lot more than class work with my rough books. Diaries were tiny in the 1970s and could record little of your life unless you could write as small as Charlotte Bronte. Since I was already putting dates on the school stuff it made sense to write about my complex social life, intricate relationships and teenage depressions in the rough book too. Anything really, including logging music chart shows on the BBC, Radio North Sea International and Luxembourg radio stations. And doodles. Lots and lots of doodles: mostly abstract landscapes, weird lettering and spaceships. I would also record quotes and ideas, although later I would keep these together in a proper commonplace book just so that I could find them again.
Once, before a holiday with school chums in Paris, I painted illustrations in the book in advance of going. They will never let me forget that when I wrote it up later, I mixed-up the events of the last two evenings, probably because some lower-6th form girls got me to drink at least two bottles of red wine on the last night.
I hope you get the idea: it’s for a long-form diary or journal, thoughts, early versions, anything on your mind that you want to get down and stop thinking about, or anything you want to record before you forget it, from shopping lists to ideas for blog posts, articles or recipes. You can be as discursive/tangential as you like and often new ideas come this way. Capsule reviews of film or TV — you’ll thank yourself twenty years later! Doodles, sketches. The neighbours’ doings. Stuff that won’t get captured by these new-fangled devices we carry these days, or any thoughts you don’t want to be read by the NSA or GCHQ. If you do keep a diary, then a rough first version at the time can allow you to write a concise account later and be certain whether you shampooed the dog on Tuesday or Wednesday.
As I said in my last blog post, I’m writing this in response to Myke Hurley on the Pen Addict podcast no. 190 who felt like a fraud for not using his accumulation of notebooks and being a collector more than a user. I hope I’ve given you all some ideas you can adopt and adapt. A rough book gives the freedom to write anything until you doze off or an external force intervenes. You can write at any length. Is all this freedom scary? No, it’s only a rough book!
I hope you liked those links! A great resource to find and search fountain pen blogs is Pennaquod. (Two of the links on this page are via On Fountain Pens, the rest are from my Feedly. The Well-Appointed Desk blog found three of the same links this week!)
These are the fountain pen websites that I have found so far in the UK. I’ve tried to describe their specialities. Hover over the link to see the web page title.
UPDATE: March 2016. I’ve revised the first part of this list extensively. I’ve have also published a companion chart to help you find which shops stock which brand.
Andy’s Pens — Vintage and new, some old stock, fountain pens incl. Baoer, Black Forest, Burnham, Coles, Cresco, Dikawen, Fellowship, Hero, Jinhao, Lalex, Manu Propia, Pelikan, Sailor, Varuna and Wing Sung. Inks, refills (incl. Schmidt refills for rollerballs and ballpoints), metal (silver-tipped) everlasting pencils by Axel Weinbrecth and Napkin, Archie Grand and Monsieur notebooks, journals, Crown Mill paper, Cathian blotters and blotting paper, pen cases, books etc.
Battersea Pen Home — Repairs, vintage pens, modern Parker, Diplomat, Visconti, Yard-o-Led pencils and pens and ballpoints etc., ink, refills, nibs, etc.
Bureau Direct — Huge range of notebooks and pads, pens, brush pens, highlighters and pencils (incl. Papelote), Lamy, ink, refills, diaries, envelopes, paper, washi tape etc. Some interesting bundles and colour collections!
Carneil Pens — Fountain pens: Parker, Mont Blanc…, sale and repair, restoration and service. Mechanical pencils and leads. Peter Crook’s own “Carneil” fountain pens.
Cult Pens — Big range of pens from Aristo to Staedtler, TWSBI, Visconti to Zig. Pencils, ink, notebooks, converters, markers, Nikko G nibs, Sennelier inks, Schmidt refills, Spacetec—similar to Fisher Space pens, Zero desk pens, metal (silver-tipped) everlasting pencils by Axel Weinbrecth and Forever, Perpetua pencils… I think they have everything, even exclusive Kaweco pens and Deep Dark Diamine inks.
Heritage — Vintage pens ranging from Aurora to Wyvern. Parts, repairs.
Iridium — Pens (Pelikan, Omas…), ink, pencils, notebooks. Great shop in Kendal, near the Lake District.
The Journal Shop — Platinum, Tombow and Schneider fountain pens, notebooks, Blackwing pencils, mechanical pencils from Mark’s Tokyo Edge, heavy Metaphys pens and pencils, planners, masking tape, ink, stationery, diaries, crafting, etc.
MrPen — Italix, Stipula, Sheaffer, Waterman, Parker, Sigma Style, Caran d’Ache, Harrison Brothers and Howson, etc. Inks, calligraphy, nibs—custom grinds. Repairs by Pen Museum.
Niche Pens — All kinds of pens, from Berol to Zebra. Notebooks, markers, pencils, engraving. Pelikan specialists; owner of Pure pens (see below).
Nook — Kaweco fountain pens, Blackwing pencils etc.
The Writing Desk — Fountain pens including TWSBI, Sailor, Stipula, Hugo Boss and Edison, a big range of ink including Conway Stewart, Organics Studio, Private Reserve, Pelikan, Rohrer and Klingner and De Atramentis, (and nine exclusive Diamine inks), nibs, dip pen nibs, glass pens, refills, converters, paper, notebooks, etc.
Fountain Pen Revolution — New FPR Dilli, Guri, Indus and other models with various nibs including flex; Serwex and other reasonably-priced fountain pens from India. Handmade pens by Deccan, Gama and Guider. Vintage pens.
MARTINIauctions — Berlin-based alternative to eBay “for Fountain Pen Aficionados”.