50 best vintage shops

By Rosanna Holmes,
13th April 2012 - 11:58

Where do you find the best Ossie Clark dresses, G Plan sideboards or pineapple ice buckets? Our vintage experts give us the low-down on their favourite haunts

LONDON
Well known to fashion students, who regularly haunt this Soho textiles mecca to find one-off pieces of material, The Cloth House evokes the feeling of haberdashery stores of the past. ‘I love coming here to find special fabric to use in H&A shoots,’ says Kiera. There are two shops, both on Berwick Street. 
47 & 98 Berwick Street, W1F 8SJ. 020 7437 5155; clothhouse.com

2
Alfies Antique Market
‘The world’s your vintage oyster in Alfies – a buzzing antiques market with a rather nice roof cafe on top,’ says Katherine. Over 100 dealers sell everything from mid-century furniture to Jessie Tait ceramics. Look out for the Girl Can’t Help It and Ian Broughton, who lives and breathes the Fifties. 
13-25 Church Street, Marylebone, NW8 8DT. 020 7723 6066; alfiesantiques.com

3
Cristobal
‘You can’t escape from Cristobal without buying at least one piece of sparkling costume jewellery,’ says Katherine. Having specialised in vintage jewellery for 25 years, owner Steven Miners is well known in interior design circles for his eclectic taste and sourcing items for special projects for film and theatre productions.
26 Church Street, NW8 8EP. 020 7724 7230; cristobal.co.uk

4 Past Caring
‘Ceramics, glass, metalware, kitchenalia and furniture… there truly is something for everyone in this shop, with prices ranging from just a few pounds to several hundred,’ says Mark. ‘I challenge you to leave without buying at least one thing.’  
76 Essex Road, N1 8LT.

5
The Vintage Emporium
‘It may have opened only recently but this is the source of the best vintage clothing in London,’ says Naomi. ‘I have never seen so many rare or unusual dresses. The joy is heightened by authentic antique shop fittings and cabinets filled with museum-quality shoes and hats. And when you’re done, nip upstairs to the tea-room for a drink.’
14 Bacon Street, Brick Lane, E1 6LF. 020 7739 0799; vintageemporiumcafe.com

6
The Vintage Showroom
If you’re after an old wax jacket or vintage American sweater, this is the shop for you. Longtime dealers Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett opened the store a couple of years ago in what was formerly ironmonger FW Collins & Son. 
14 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LN. 020 7836 3964; thevintageshowroom.com

Le Grenier
Le Grenier is the brain child of Yuko Tsukahara-Gaydu and her husband Jean-Louis, who scour the UK and France for furniture, tableware and kitchenalia. ‘They have a lovely collection of 1960s tea sets,’ says Wayne.
146 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6DG. 020 7790 7379; le-grenier.com

8 Pimpernel & Partners
It’s no coincidence that this vintage oasis on Kings Road appears on the cover of an album by hip folksters Mumford & Sons – the band’s Winston Marshall is the son of owner Sabina. Celebs aside, it boasts a steady supply of French brocante pieces at affordable prices.
596 Kings Road, SW6 2DX. 020 7731 2448; pimpernelandpartners.co.uk

9 360 Degrees Vintage
Run by mother and daughter team Kit Allen and Lynn Burgess, 360 Degrees Vintage is a fashion gem offering both men’s and women’s wear. ‘I found a great range of gloves and scarves, along with plenty of 1940s offerings – knitwear in particular,’ says Kiera.
3/3A Greenwich Market, Greenwich, SE10 9HZ. 07904 709759

10 The Old Cinema
This family business has moved from traditional Victorian antiques into vintage, retro and industrial furniture in recent years. Stock is housed in a former picturehouse that closed in the 1930s and became a parachute factory during World War II. ‘I can spend ages in here looking at the classic art deco and mid 20th-century furniture,’ says Keeley. 
160 Chiswick High Road, W4 1PR.
020 8995 4166; theoldcinema.co.uk

11 Target Gallery 
‘For top-notch pieces, I’ve always paid a trip to Target,’ says Katherine. ‘Richard Chamberlain and Geoff Rayner are supreme authorities in the field of modern design – just give them a call to arrange a viewing of their stock, which ranges from Ernest Race furniture to post-war British textiles.’ 
20 Fitzroy Square, W1T 6EJ. 020 7387 7200

12 Deborah Woolf
Deborah has been selling vintage clothing since she was in her teens and was at Camden market along with Wayne Hemingway in the 1980s. A former director at MTV, Deborah opened her shop in 2008. ‘I love Deborah’s rather wonderful floating dresses from the 1970s,’ says Katherine. 
28 Church Street, NW8 8EP. 07767 437732; deborahwoolf.com


 

‘A charming art materials shop. Dotted among the pastels, papers and pads you’ll find antique watercolour palettes and materials perhaps used by a pre-Raphaelite painter, as well as the odd spongeware bowl,’ says Kiera.
259 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EL. 020 7352 0837; greenandstone.com

14 The Shop
‘Welcome to vintage textiles heaven,’ says Naomi. ‘This hidden gem boasts hundreds of silk scarves, hats, quilts and vintage fabric. Out the back are rails of blouses, jumpers and dresses. It has a range of vintage seaside souvenirs as well, which make great presents.’
3 Cheshire Street, E2 6ED. 020 7739 5631

15 Hornets
William Hornets Wilde has three gentlemen’s clothier shops in Kensington that are every inch the dapper British chap, with shooting jackets, tweed suits and traditional cords.
2 & 4 Kensington Church Walk, W8 4NB. 36b Kensington Church Street, W8 4BX.
020 7938 4949; hornetskensington.co.uk

16 Fur Coat No Knickers
‘Laura Thomas and Emma Cascarina used to work as West End theatre costume supervisors,’ says Naomi. ‘Now they stock the best in vintage wedding dresses, accessories and shoes, and each dress is customised and fitted.’ 
Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW. 07814 002295; furcoatnoknickers.co.uk

SOUTH WEST
17 Bookmark
Anne Excell and her daughter Leonora specialise in a wide range of antiquarian children’s books, plus old board games, toys, artist-signed postcards and other juvenilia. Most of their time is spent running the mail-order part of the business and attending book fairs but you can also visit by appointment. ‘Bookmark is my absolute favourite stopover for children’s books,’ says Katherine. ‘Anne and Leonora have found me some truly nostalgic pieces over the years.’ 
Fortnight, Broad Hinton, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN4 9NR (by appointment). 01793 731693

18 Elephant & Monkey
‘Mother and daughter Bridget and Rowena Turner make sure this Cornish gem is full of good-quality mid-century furniture and art,’ says Keeley. ‘There are lots of great examples, from Ercol to funky fabrics and cushions.’
35 Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3PW. 01326 218881; elephantandmonkey.co.uk

19 Revival
‘If I ever truly had a vintage secret, this would be it,’ says Naomi, who only reluctantly tells us about this shop, which she discovered accidentally while she was on, of all things, a detox retreat. ‘Owner Sue Nurse has the pick of the old country houses in the area, and Revival duly bursts with a great range of vintage costume and chinoiserie.’
64 High Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5SQ. 01803 732807

20 Wells trading post
‘This has three giant floors of everything I want in my life, from deco tea sets and Lucite brooches to vintage parasols, Victorian beauty sets and old typewriters,’ says Naomi. The extensive stock changes all the time, so it’s always worth popping in if you’re in the area.
 Old Priory Mill, West Street, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2HG (closed Mondays).
01749 671454; wellstradingpost.com

21 Focus On The Past
Items from Focus on the Past regularly appear in H&A shoots. ‘Whether it’s a French dresser, an Enid Collins handbag, Bakelite telephones, postcards or old toffee tins, I find there is always something here that I’m tempted by,’ says Kiera. ‘It really is the perfect local shop for a good rummage.’
25 Waterloo Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4BT. 0117 973 8080; focusonthepast.org

22 Period Pieces
‘Hidden away in a side street in Clifton, Period Pieces is the kind of shop you dream of discovering,’ says Kiera. ‘It’s piled high with furniture, crockery, vintage fabrics, glass and lighting. Owner Nora Beroual also offers an upholstery service, with prices starting from as little as £40 for a drop-in seat.’
43 Alma Vale Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2HL. 0117 946 6900; bristolperiodfurniture.co.uk

SOUTH
‘The name says it all,’ laughs Mark. Whether you’re into the 1950s, 70s or 80s, you’ll find everything you need to kit out your home in this New Forest treat. ‘Expect panels of vintage fabric and the largest selection of ice buckets this side of Del Boy’s flat.’
Lyndhurst Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, SO42 7RH. 01590 624429; pineappleicebucket.co.uk

24 One Legged Jockey
One Legged Jockey is bursting with vintage men’s clothing. There are two shops in Southsea and one in Chichester. ‘Owner Keith Jeff is always on hand to help you find the perfect item,’ says Naomi.
9 Marmion Road, Southsea, PO5 2AT.
62 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO5 1JG.
9 Crane Street, Chichester, PO19 1LJ.
023 9273 9437; oneleggedjockey.co.uk

25 Snoopers Paradise
‘It’s part retro shop and part car-boot sale,’ says Mark. ‘You’re bound to find something you want.’ Kiera agrees: ‘A Brighton institution and destination for weekenders and local browsers alike, you’ll find students trying on hats, couples looking for furniture, or single shoppers flicking through the paperbacks.’ 
7-8 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4AL. 01273 602558

26 Style & The City
‘Helen Black loves vintage and shopping,’ says Judy, ‘which makes for a very wearable, and forever changing, selection of exquisite clothing and accessories, mainly 1940s to the 1970s.’
100 Marmion Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5 2BB. 02392 876611

27 Dinky Vintage 
'This Brighton store is entirely dedicated to vintage children's clothes,' says Kiera. 'Dinky Vintage has sweet Fifties frocks and sailor-style pea coats, all in miniature.'
39b Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP. 01273 911055; dinkyvintage.com

28 Herts & Essex Antiques centre
‘With 70 dealers under one roof, this is the perfect place for a good old rummage,’ says Katherine. ‘There are fascinating retro pieces to snap up. And it’s so easy on the train – just hop off at Sawbridgeworth station and you’re there.’
The Maltings, Station Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, CM21 9JX. 01279 722044;
herts-essex-antiques.co.uk

29 Junk Deluxe
‘It might be small,’ says Mark, ‘but it’s packed with a constantly changing, affordable selection of furniture, pictures and homewares from the 1950s-80s.’
RG Scott Furniture Mart, The Old Ice Works, Bath Place, Margate, Kent, CT9 2BN.
07963 892041; junkdeluxe.co.uk


30 Nanadobbie
Winner of Best Vintage Shop in H&A's Britian's Best Antiques Shops awards, Nanadobbie specialises in Fifties oak desks, statement chairs, unusual lighting and colourful Scandinavian glass. 
16 Gloucester Road, North Laines, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4AD. 01273 676778; nanadobbie.com

31 Glass Etc
‘Andy McConnell is a Roadshow colleague of mine but his glass emporium really is the centre of the glass universe,’ says Katherine. ‘I’ve parted with as little as £10 for a rather memorable birthday present and £65 for a glorious mid 1960s Finnish vase.’
18-22 Rope Walk, Rye , East Sussex, TN31 7NA. 01797 226600; decanterman.com

32 Tango Tea Collectables
‘I can’t go home to Portsmouth without stopping by Tango Tea,’ says Naomi. ‘It’s a real art deco mecca and sells a little bit of everything, from jewellery and magazines to curios and clothes. Owner Jenni Catlow always has something special.’
3 Albert Road, Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 2SE. 02392 733363

33 Wayward Vintage Fabrics
‘With a presence in London’s Portobello Market and Brighton’s North Laine, and a shop in St Leonards, Andrew Hirst has a great collection of haberdashery, including buttons and fabrics,’ says Kiera. 
58 Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea. 07815 013337; waywardvintagefabric.com

34 Wardrobe
Offering a selection of bags and fabulous costume jewellery, Wardrobe has been involved with many films and TV productions. ‘I simply love visiting Wardrobe,’ says Katherine. ‘It’s here I succumbed to my favourite piece of jewellery of all time, a vintage green domino necklace.’
51 Upper North Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3FH. 01273 202201

CENTRAL
‘The minimal white shelves display an amazing array of affordable vintage and retro items from up-and-coming and established names,’ says Mark. ‘The popularity of the mid-century modern Scandinavian influence is clear.’
14-15 Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA. 0121 224 7378; fragiledesign.com

36 Past Caring
‘This shop is in the lovely town of Holt in Norfolk, a place of my childhood memories,’ says Keeley. ‘Expect lots of pretty textiles and lace, and a good selection of Victorian and Edwardian clothes.’
6 Chapel Yard, Albert Street, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6HG. 01263 713771; pastcaring.net

37 Berties
‘Small but perfectly formed,’ is how Wayne describes Berties. Founded by Robert Skidmore, whose background is in television and film costume, it stocks glamorous fashions from the 1920s-50s. 
14 Market Street, Craven Arms, Shropshire, SY7 9NW. 07532 004313; berties-vintage.co.uk
Carole Smith had been standing at antiques fairs for 17 years before she set up shop in Hinckley in November. The focus is on homeware goodies, kitchenalia and small pieces of furniture, some of which she paints and upholsters herself.
5a The Lawns, Hinckley, Leics, LE10 1DY. 07890 939236; vintage-treasures.co.uk

39 Stoneware Quest
‘I’ve always had a soft spot for Denby,’ says Katherine. ‘And Stoneware Quest has a staggering selection of its post-war designs.’ 
Hemswell Antiques Centre, Caenby Corner Estate, Hemswell Cliff, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, DN21 5TJ. 01234 772955; stonewarequest.co.uk

NORTH
40 Bygone Times
‘This is one of my favourite shopping destinations,’ says Mark. ‘It has everything from Fat Lava to vintage telephones. Don’t forget the basement.’
Grove Mill, The Green, Eccleston, Chorley, PR7 5PB. 01257 451889; bygonetimes.co.uk

41 Vintage Revival
Mother and daughter Pauline and Thea Roger’s shop bursts with vintage clothes and accessories. ‘We’ve had a dress worn by 1956’s “Miss Kendal” to 1940s pieces for honeymoon cruises,’ says Thea. 
9 Wildman Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 6EN. 01539 733433; vintagerevival.co.uk

42 Space
Owned by Steve Elvidge, Space has an eclectic mix of vintage clothing, furniture, homewares, records, books and more. ‘There are several vintage dealers – or ‘space holders’ – based here too and their different tastes shine through in the great array of things for sale, from mid-century furniture to Tretchicoff prints,’ says Keeley. 
1 The Ginnel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 2RB. 01423 709941; spaceharrogate.com

43 The Souk
‘If you enjoy a good rummage, then this shop is for you,’ says Judy. ‘The shop front is unassuming but step inside and you’ll find a vast shopfloor stocked with thousands of beautiful dresses, tailored jackets, trinkets and shoes, some of which date back to the 1920s.’
117 Main Street, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DP. 01535 646538; the-souk.com

44 Catherine Smith
‘1920s frame bags, 1930s jewellery and a well-curated selection of designer items from Ossie Clarke, Biba and Jean Varon are just a small sample of what you’ll find in Cathy Smith’s beautiful Harrogate shop,’ says Judy. ‘Delicate silk dresses and special pieces from the 1920s-50s are kept in the back room.’ 
57a Cold Bath Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG2 0NL. 01423 500234

45 Purple Haze
‘This successful shop, owned by mother and daughter team Laura and Carolyn Cowlbeck, is the place to visit in York,’ says Judy. ‘They sell timeless vintage clothing and accessories, from 1950s floral dresses to 1980s knitwear.’
52 Fossgate, York YO1 9TF. 01904 630407

46 Purple Rabbit Vintage
Yorkshire seems to be going through something of a purple patch – certainly in terms of vintage clothing. ‘This shop has a fantastic selection of 1950s cotton day dresses and men’s vintage suits,’ says Keeley. 
69 The Piece Hall, Halifax, West Yorks. 07542 950590; purplerabbitvintage.co.uk

 
47 RE
This popular store is owned by former fashion designers Jenny Vaughan and Simon Young. Vintage garden furniture and tools are displayed alongside cakestands, glasses, enamelware and many miscellaneous delights.
Bishops Yard, Main Street, Corbridge, Northumberland, NE45 5LA. 01434 634567; 

‘Gerardine and I grew up in East Lancashire and dressed second-hand from the great stores there,’ says Wayne. ‘Decades stocks a huge range of women’s clothing and accessories from 1870-1970 and the choice is always wonderful.’ 
18-20 Lord Street West, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 1JX. 01254 693320

49 Preserved
‘This is the store to head to when you need a little sparkly pick-me-up,’ says Judy. ‘I love Preserved for its glamour and no-nonsense, affordable clothes, cardigans and amazing selection of rail-upon-rail of glorious eveningwear.’
35 Renshaw Street, Liverpool, L1 2SF. 07817 407983; preservedvintageclothing.com

50 Herman Brown
‘Anna Nicholson really knows what she’s doing with Herman Brown, Edinburgh’s leading vintage destination since 1983,’ says Wayne. You’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage fashion and jewellery – expect leotards, cameo brooches, 1950s powder compacts and beaded knitwear. 
151 West Port, Edinburgh, EH3 9DP. 0131 228 2589; hermanbrown.co.uk

 

THE PANEL

Judy Berger
Former Selfridges personal shopper and television stylist Judy is the founder of Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs.
Kiera Buckley-Jones
H&A’s resident stylist, Kiera is responsible for stying our beautiful decorating and discovering antiques features.
Wayne Hemingway
Wayne founded the fashion label Red or Dead in the 1980s. He is now involved in a clutch of projects but we love him best for his Vintage Festival, which this year takes place at Boughton House, Northamptonshire.
Katherine Higgins
Katherine has appeared on the Antiques Roadshow as miscellaneous expert and has a keen interest in vintage fashion and jewellery. At the moment you can catch her on Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Mondays at 5.15pm on BBC Two.
Naomi Thompson
Naomi is a London-based stylist and the UK’s leading vintage personal shopper. She runs and edits vintagesecret.com and has over 15 years’ experience collecting vintage clothing.
Keeley Harris
Keeley runs the Discover Vintage home and fashion fairs in the Midlands and the north of England, as well as The Vintage Wedding Fair and the Festival of Vintage. She also has a shop, Vintage Emporium, in York.
Mark Hill
Antiques Roadshow expert Mark has co-authored a number of Miller’s Guides as well as publishing his own titles.
Potting shed chic
previous feature article
H&A at the Dairy House Antiques Vintage Textile & Costume Day
next feature article