London is full of junk… wonderful junk that, is. With some of the best junk shops in the country, it’s a great place either to get rid of that side table that’s been annoying you for years, or find the mirror of your dreams. Here’s our pick of the capital’s finest junk emporiums and markets.
The Mitcham-based setup Posh Junk welcomes your old unwanted furniture, electrical appliances, and other bits and bobs you can’t fit in the car to take to the tip. “Let’s reuse it, not abuse it” is Posh Junk’s motto. You can arrange for them to pick up your items within 24 hours, and they’ll take it for free. Currently, they’re especially enthusiastic about pre-1950s furniture. You can also get secondhand items at very reasonable prices delivered to you.
This East End institution is a big favourite among those who know their independent London shops. Des and Lorraine’s Junk Shop is an unfeasible jungle of bric-a-brac hidden away on Bacon Street. You can spend hours sifting through items such as mirrors, chairs, gas masks, washboards and countless other things that have been thrown away by others. It’s much cheaper than an antique shop, and you might just find that coveted item that wasn’t on eBay. Otherwise, it’s still a magical experience.
A rare example of how junk shops used to look, the Junk Shop and Spreadeagle in Greenwich is a beautiful-looking hodgepodge of antiques and bric-a-brac. It’s much more unpretentious than most of the other antique dealers in London, and they are also happy to clear your home or your business of unwanted items. The good thing about this service is that they pay a fair price for whatever you’re getting rid of.
Friday and Saturday is the time to head to Portobello Road; although the ‘proper’ antique shops are open through the week, this is when things get really interesting. The market that starts just under the Westway and heads north flaunts a plethora of furniture, soft furnishings and random artefacts that sell for reasonable prices. At this end of Portobello Road, and curving round into Golborne Road, there are some quality bric-a-brac-shops too. If you’re looking to accessorize your home, this is definitely the place to come; everything from chandeliers to quilts to vintage telephones to stuffed animals can be found.