Monday, July 04, 2011

London through its charity shops #11: Kensington to Notting Hill

Monday isn't the best day for charity shop hunting; most of the best stuff has probably gone at the weekend and staff haven't had time to replenish the shelves. I'm not exactly sure why but Tuesdays and Thursdays (possibly Fridays) are my best days for visiting them.

On High Street Ken there's just one charity shop, a nice and spacious Oxfam, almost opposite the cinema and close to Holland Park. It's quite a long walk in the opposite direction, past the tube station and up Kensington Church Street where there's two excellent Trinity Hospice charity shops next to each other on the left hand side. The first one is Books & Media, full of character with record sleeves and posters plastered on the walls and a treasure trove of books, records, CDs, magazines; all nicely organised, reasonable priced and great to browse. My boon companion was also impressed with the Trinity clothes and bric-a-brac shop next door. The warmth of the wood of old, open wardrobes revealed shelves full of interesting items to create an intimate and inviting atmosphere. A few doors up, in stark contrast, is a small and dull Octavia.

Once in Notting Hill Gate there's an Oxfam at No. 144 which is small and a bit cluttered. After being replenished with an over-priced ice-cream we headed down Portobello Road, where there's an excellent Oxfam Books & Music (as recommended by Ruth Rendell in her recent thriller Portobello), and just round the corner on Elgin Crescent, a typically funky FARA which has, for example, chandeliers on the ceiling.

On my way home I stopped off at South Kensington where, tucked away on Bute Street off the Old Brompton Road, is a typically small and uninspiring Octavia and a small but elegant Trinity Hospice, with jazz music tinkering in the background (possibly Thelonious Monk) and lots of French graphic novels and art catalogues (Christie's being just round the corner) for sale.

On the Brompton Road, near and on the same side of the road as Harrods, is another Octavia. This one was Time Out's pick of London's best charity shops (back in 2007 mind) and 'Mary Portas-approved' (otherwise known as 'Mary, Queen of Shops'). A large space with lots of clothes, many designer labels (according to TO) and some bric-a-brac. Downstairs is a nice bookshop with art books and catalogues laid out coffee-table style. A hand-written sign informs that mobile phone conversations are not allowed down here. Lots of books, some average CDs, mainly classical records.

No barngains today. Now what did I say about Mondays...

No comments :