Legend has it that Hoxton Street Monster Supplies has been located in the same spot on Hoxton Street in London since 1818 – though it’s only been visible to mortals since 2010. This intriguing store is part of the Ministry of Stories – an initiative that sees professional writers mentor young people in the art of story writing. Set up by Nick Hornby, it works to encourage wild creativity and hopes to transform children’s lives through writing.
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies was inspired by The Pirate Store at 826 Valencia in San Francisco and the regional storefronts of 826 National, the nonprofit organizations created by Dave Eggers to help children and young adults develop writing skills.
The store team explain: “We pride ourselves on being London’s, and quite possibly the world’s, only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind. Many of our customers have been coming to us for centuries. Indeed, some have been coming for considerably longer. Whether you’re a Vampire, Werewolf, Sasquatch or some Thing else entirely, we have everything you need. Most of our goods are available to buy online here, or for our full range, do drop into the shop ~ our staff are generally quite polite.”
The shop resembles a sinister 19th century apothecary, encourages kids to use their imagination and create their own stories. Its well-designed products (by London design studio We Made This, include Cubed Earwax “made the traditional way, in copper pans above a gas flame,” tins of Escalating Panic that are “particularly effective in crowds” and bottles of Salt made from Tears of Sorrow, “collected only at moments of complete misery.” Entering the shop lends the sensation of coming into a parallel universe, one where customers have to be informed that the store doesn’t accept human sacrifice as payment.