Thursday, February 24, 2011

London through its charity shops #9: Putney, Southfields, Wandsworth


Ah, Putney. Gone are the days when one could get Blonde on Blonde on vinyl for £1 in Oxfam but there's still some rich pickings to be had if you go often enough. The trick is to pop in every couple of days, which I tend to do as they're my locals. Turning right out of Putney mainline station are the Holy Trinity, virtually all next to each other: Oxfam, Trinity Hospice and Cancer Research. Further along is a British Heart Foundation, and a little out of the way along Upper Richmond Road is an Octavia. Though none are exceptional, over the years I've got great stuff from all of them.

Oxfam has just re-opened after a two week revamp. The only differences I could see were laminated wooden floorboards and over-bright lights; unfortunately it's still full of over-priced crap. Perhaps it's trying to compete with Trinity Hospice next door, which transformed itself some months ago into what one can only describe as a boutique. There's been a mixed reception to its transformation; some love it, others say it's not even recognisable as a charity shop any more. I can only say this is a good thing. I like it; real wooden floorboards with the back room opened up to reveal a nice old fireplace. Not looking like a charity shop I'm not that bothered about one way or another; but not smelling like a charity shop can only be a positive thing. Recent Barngain of the Day: David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, hardback book, as new; £5.* CDs and records only £1 each.

A little further along, a smallish Cancer Research has good books, CDs and DVDs; a fair bric-a-brac section and some cheap but lame records. Recent Barngain of the Day: Animal Collective – Feels CD; £2.

British Heart Foundation is, as usual, cramped, but a good selection of CDs, DVDs and books. No records. Recent bargain of the day: Flying Lotus – Los Angeles CD; £1.99.

I like Octavia. Although quite small it usually has a good selection of art books, vastly overpriced but at least decent records, and fairly good CDs. Recent Barngain of the Day: Playmobil Indian set, boxed; £12.

7/4/11 Update
I got a tip off from a friend of a friend: there's another charity shop in Putney. Tucked away off Upper Richmond Road is the RSPCA, which has its charity shop within its building. It's a small, somewhat uninspiring shop, with lots of pet-related products, books and bric-a-brac. And a big, friendly Labrador.

Also, coming soon: a large Trinity Hospice Furniture shop, next to Laura Ashley on Putney Bridge Road. 3/5/11 Update: this has just opened; seems quite reasonably priced. All the good stuff had been sold by the time I got there.

December 2011 Update
The RSPCA has had a severe makeover: it's not a charity shop any more. There is a new charity shop, RFFR (Relief Fund For Romania) a little further along from the post office and on the opposite side on Upper Richmond Road. It's a bit shabby but pretty cheap; lots of books and clothes. I got a large Hello Kitty soft toy for 50p. Difficult to say how long it will last for; it seems quite temporary.

It's been years since I've been to Southfields. I can't believe how much it's changed! I'm joking. It's exactly the same; small, sleepy London suburb, circa. 1950. A funky, pricey FARA and an average Oxfam.

2012 Update: Now also a decent FARA Kids a few door along from FARA.

By Wandsworth I mean the district not the borough; so around the hellhole that is the 'regenerated' Arndale Shopping Centre, now called Southside. It's still crap. With, surprisingly, less than a handful of charity shops, most of which are along Wandsworth High Street. The British Heart Foundation Furniture shop recently featured in the Guardian Saturday magazine so it must be good. I've never been in. RSPCA is small and cheap; I tend to stay away from it now as the guy who works there tends to explain to me which books are where every time I go in. The Salvation Army is huge with lots of records, CDs, books, bric-a-brac, pictures, DVDs, clothes and furniture split over two large rooms. However, I've never bought anything there. Along Garrett Lane there's a huge Trinity Hospice Furniture shop (which I haven't been in). There's also Wandsworth Town but it's a bit out of the way so I haven't checked recently if there's any charity shops but from memory it's all restaurants and estate agents.

(*Not such a barngain after all: in the current HMV sale it's also £5. This happens to me all the time, and is quite annoying; I buy what I think is a barngain in a charity shop only to see it a week later for the same price brand new in a shop or online. Still, at least it's for charity.)


Mel said...

When are you going to release the accompanying DVD to this series of London walks?

Barnaby said...

What a good idea. Watch this space.

Unknown said...

You seriously need to hit the charity shops of Totnes for an out of body experience of quality goods and bric a brac..

Barnaby said...

I have hit them, several times, and got nothing. Then again, I don't really go for bric-a-brac.