Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Meantime. ...the Famous Market Stalls at Greenwich Are a Great Place for an Antiques Hunt, Says Katrina Burroughs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

In the Meantime. ...the Famous Market Stalls at Greenwich Are a Great Place for an Antiques Hunt, Says Katrina Burroughs

Article excerpt


FOR centuries, English ships sailed from the banks of the Thames at Greenwich to trade with (or loot) the rest of the world. And Greenwich is still loaded to the gunwhales with reminders of our great maritime past, including the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, several specialist dealers, and the regular appearance of the odd three-foot model of a laughing pirate and sundry rusted canon on the markets.

The markets are concentrated around the area off Greenwich Church Street and Greenwich High Street, with the best antique hunting in the Village Market in Stockwell Road.

It's a real weekend market, attracting a combination of tourists and locals, perhaps with more of a Sunday paper-reading, pram-pushing clientele than Camden.

Greenwich rivals Camden for the scope and sprawl of its various markets, except that for my money, Greenwich wins hands down. Get there at 9.30am and you'll feel like you turned up at the party early. Have a lie-in and arrive at a lazier 10am and the stallholders will have necked their first cappuccinos of the day, the stalls will be set up and a trickle of customers will be arriving.

The easiest part to find, and the best place to meet your friends, is the covered crafts mar"Bear Batyng" (bear baiting) pit and even a place for "Bowll Batyng" (bull baiting). A hand-coloured wood engraving ([pound]9.50) dated 1895 shows an elegant carriage interior lit with stylish globe lamps and sparsely populated by top-hatted chaps. Entitled "In the twopenny tube, the central London railway," the image of our beloved Central Line is enough to make Mayor Ken Livingstone weep.

Laura Hand's patchwork quilts could bring a pretty, summery touch to your bedroom, especially if the antique-pine look is your bag. She brings a selection of bedspreads ([pound]80-[pound]100) to the market every Sunday.

There are several specialist dealers in the surrounding shops which focus on Greenwich's maritime glory. You are unlikely to find a real bargain at these outlets, as they are magnets for serious collectors from all corners of the earth, but some dealers keep a decent amount of stock at the lower end of the price scale. Maritime Antiques in Greenwich Church Street is well worth a visit. Among the navigational instruments and naval regalia are old postcards with nautical themes from 50p, and handsome 19th century brass ship's clocks, from [pound]175 to [pound]200. The porthole-shaped chronometers are still in working order, but you will have to wield the Brasso every so often. Small, brass-cased 19th century oil lamps are highly decorative and cost [pound]55 each.

A few steps away, in the Village Market off Stock-well Road, Billie Bambridge of Lucky Parrot Antiques sells original stripped-oak furniture, with plenty of practical pieces at reasonable prices. …

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