Thursday 31 May 2012

Crystal Palace - Secondhand & Vintage Shopping Guide

Boy2 said yesterday that his favourite places were Edinburgh and Paris, which sounds very cosmopolitan for a 4 year old, but confused us somewhat, given that he's never visited the French capital. "You know, we have ice-cream there" he said, "In the park.". Turns out he was thinking of Crystal Palace - which is also one of my favourite places locally,  though we have different priorities, mine being less ice-cream based [although if I can combine a trawl of the second hand shops with a '99, all the better]

There are actually not as many charity shops as there once were, but I've chosen the Crystal Palace 'triangle' to focus on, as there are several options for treasure hunting - including a flea market, a dress agency, some fantastic vintage clothing shops, retro furniture stores and and an antiques warehouse. So, something for all budgets and all tastes. I visited this morning, so this is an up to the minute taste of what's available for savvy second-hand shoppers.

Starting at the bottom of Westow Road, we'll follow the triangle of roads in a clockwise direction, ending at The White Hart pub. 

Et Pourquoi Pas?
At number 45 Westow Road is a great dress agency Et Pourquoi Pas? (and why not?) which sells very nearly new designer and high street clothes. Some agencies are snooty about the high street - but owner Fabrice is happy to accept garments from Oasis etc as long as they are in excellent condition. When I visited there was a lot of Monsoon in stock, along with Reiss, the odd bit of vintage, and designer names such as Mulberry (denim jacket, size 10, £30). There is currently a sale rail with  50% off the already reasonable prices - and it's not unwearable (or tiny) stuff either. In the interests of research *cough* I bought a black linen dress from Armani Collezioni for £15 (originally marked at £45, then down to £30, then on the half price rail), and a completely unworn pair of Mary Jane style purple heels from Jones the Bootmaker. These were complete with box and spare heel tips, and down to £12. 
Ladies' clothing on the left, men's on the right.
open daily. hours here

Lakota in no makeup shock!
[and £15 Armani dress. Gym visit immanent]

New shoes

[Do not be the person who enquires what a mother of two small sticky children needs with a linen dress. I live in a secret dream world where I do not crease]

Cross over again, and take a left down unassuming looking street Haynes Lane  to ensure you don't miss one of South London's best kept secrets.

Haynes Lane Market
A proper ramshackle flea-market (and one of South London's best kept secrets) where you can find everything imaginable - vintage clothes, china, bric-a-brac, collectible toys (Corgi etc), records, second-hand books, kitchenalia, sewing notions etc etc. Various sellers on two floors. Some stalls arranged rather precariously - probably best not to take your rambunctious offspring with you if you can help it. Besides, you could be in here hours. 
open Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays - 11am - 5pm (6pm on Saturdays)

Continuing along Westow Street, you come to the first charity shop.

Mind Enterprise Shop
Fairly small and standard charity shop which has fairly recently opened up a back room for furniture and books. There was a vintage metal and glass hostess/cocktail trolley for a fiver (although it would need new glass for the bottom shelf), an 80s Berketex dress for £4, and some Jones black court shoes (size 5) for £5. Not much in the way of china and glass unless you count some really hideous animal ornaments (and I don't mean in a cute kitsch way). The shop dressing is a bit ropey, but it did amuse me the way they'd attempted   a (vaguely) nautical outfit, and juxtaposed it with this leering (and rather weather-beaten) ceramic pirate.
Open 10 - 4

Argh! Ye needs a new accessories adviser! But I'd still board ye!

Turn right at the top of the road, and head onto the second side of the triangle - Westow Hill. On the right is another charity shop.

Cancer Research
These are never my favourite to visit because of the amount of new 'pink ribbon' type goods they sell (I know it's a worthy cause, I just don't like the nasty handbags etc), but there didn't seem to be quite such an in your face display of this type of thing as usual. It's not the cheapest either, but it does get some nice donations from time to time. Remember that mad 80s flamenco style dress I got? That came from here. Usually has a good selection of books. Today there were some KG Kurt Geiger wedges on offer for £7, and I picked up an unusual spiked necklace for a couple of quid.

You could make a slight detour at this point and head down Jasper Road on the left. Here you'll find another hidden gem.

Crystal Palace Antiques Market
I didn't go in today as I didn't have enough time, but if you are looking for larger items there are numerous dealers over 4 floors to be found inside, whether you're looking for traditional Victorian furniture or mid-century classics. Last time I visited I was very taken with the vintage Czech circus posters.

On to the shabbiest but most interesting side of the triangle - Church Road. This has a variety of vintage and junk type emporiums, and I'll give a quick run down of the most interesting.

Crazy Man Crazy
Men are often neglected when it comes to vintage clothes shopping, but this is a shop just for the guys. Selling 'Gentlemen's Vintage and retro clothing', you can drop the boyfriend here and hope he comes out as Don Draper.

Bambino / Bambino Volcano
Bambino is a Church Road stalwart, having been open 20 years. It's a real rummager's paradise, with all kinds of dusty (and rarely priced) stuff piled up and spilling out on to the pavement. The owner Andy is very friendly and happy to chat, and he's known for the leather jackets he's accumulated over the past 35 years. Croydon's very own Kate Moss was photographed for Vogue in a jacket borrowed from his personal collection - whilst that one is not for sale - many of them are. When I visited he was just putting out an electric parrot toy dispenser - does anyone else remember these from childhood holidays by the seaside? You'd put in your 20p and get a plastic egg containing some kind of shabby yet thrilling toy.

C'mon, how much fun would this be - dispensing wedding favours maybe?

 I got very excited and he kindly switched it on so I could hear it squawk "I love the sound of your money!" . Sadly I'd have needed to give Andy £175 of my money to give it a home. Perhaps for the best.

Ornate framed flower painting

Vintage children's books I dug out from the shelves

Kate Moss in Andy's jacket
Photo credit Mario Testino for Vogue!

The other great thing about Bambino's is that it features a boutique coffee bar - Bambino Volcano - so when you need a break from fossicking about you can grab a coffee and slice of cake. Australian barrista Anthony is just as friendly and approachable, and combines obvious passion for coffee (organic, and locally grown and roasted - who knew?) with being a handy font of 'what's on' knowledge. The flat white is the house special - I can confirm it is indeed volcanic!

Belle Coco
Stylish (and less dusty) neighbour to Bambino, this is a carefully curated shop with particular emphasis on retro lighting, glass and clocks. Really really beautiful things where I could do some serious credit card damage.

Amazing bar

Chance glass handkerchief vases

Open Weds to Sun hours here

A little further down and you come to another charity shop.

LWS - Living Water Satisfies
This place is the cheapest charity shop in the area - although you need to get in quick, as the current sale is to clear stock for a change of direction. Apparently the plan is to be a specialist second-hand bookshop, with coffee shop. Books are currently 50p paperback and £1 hardback, and the volunteer told me they hope to keep the prices low. I picked up this 80s Vogue style manual for £1.

Was closed today, but I've visited before and bought a great 70s dress. They also had some modern gifts and accessories. Worth a look.

Back at the point of the triangle is The White Hart, where you can get a well deserved pint. But what's this? There's also a VINTAGE SHOP IN THE PUB!

Vintage Hart
Did you hear that people? You can get from the bar to a tiny but perfectly formed vintage store while your husband is still ordering the crisps! How bloody amazing is that?

Highlights today were an 80s cocktail dress by Zandra Rhodes and a 60s mini dress by Miss Carnaby.
See photo for opening hours

There's currently a charity shop hop - or #charityhop - going on over at Lulastic and the Hippyshake, where everyone is linking up their best guides to charity shopping in their local area.
I'm a bit late (due to actually doing some hardcore shopping before getting round to writing this) but do go over and check out the other posts. Lucy has an awesome guide to the charity shop mecca that is Streatham. I've also linked up my post from when I visited Limerick last year.
Go - and add your own thrifty wisdom if you can!

Lakota x


  1. Is it weird that I want to visit London just to check out all the charity shops?

  2. Blimey, you are surrounded by charity shops! And they all look fantastic! Most of mine are full of tat.
    Like the books very much and the purple shoes are very groovy!
    I really like the bar. I remember people having them in their loungettes when I were a lass!
    Happy days!

  3. Eeeeekk! These are all new to me! Call myself a South Londoner eh. I hang about the Penge/ Forest Hill side of CP, great for the chazzas not so much flea markets. I am so excited about visiting. x

  4. You've made me want to go and potter about in all these places, what a great review. Love the bar, the huge sunburst clock, and of course seeing you in your frock (even if you are hiding your face!) xxx

  5. Hahaha imagine taking that parrot home - what fun! I love out of the way places like those you've mentioned - and nothing beats a good hunt in a new vintage market! The four floors of the Crystal Palace Market sounds like my kind of place!

  6. Bloody hell - I am MAD with ENVY! I'm coming to stay - throw a blanket on the couch for me! Sarah xxx

  7. ok after this post I totally feel like I am missing out on something lol!! Lucky Girl sounds like a lot of fun and I would definitely hit the ice cream as well :) Very Pretty dress...and I totally laughed when you were talking about being a mom but living in a secret dream world ...ha I have a few things in my closet as well that probably fit that same bill and some days I wear them even if it means sticky fingers, or dog slime...I do always wear my apron though!! Thanks for taking us on the tour too fun!! Love Heather

  8. Far out, pub/charity shop, now why can't they turn that into a chain?!!! I must link up my kaiapoi, nz review!

  9. * The dress looks fantastic
    * I am in love with those purple Mary Janes
    * Your spike necklace is cool I have one that's just plain silver colored
    * I would have went crazy over the parrot in the cage prize dispenser! I seen that kind before when I was a kid at some pirate ship resteraunt... OHHHH I loved it.
    The one I seen most often was the chicken with all the eggs around and when you put money in it went "BOCK BOCK BOCK" and would spin in circles and move it's tail.

    Okay now I am all wound up over coin machine prizes!

  10. Oh looks like a trip to Crystal Palace is called for.

  11. Never been to Crystal Palace but I'm making a list of day trips and I've just added it on.

    Thanks and have a lovely weekend.


  12. I've never been to Crystal Palace & the fact that all of these sound extremely tempting means I probably should never visit Crystal Palace. :) Great finds, love the Mary Janes.

  13. I could spend a very happy day wandering around all those shops. Hey Lakota - why don't you start up charity shop tours? xxx

  14. Very cool it's nice to see what op shops look like all around the world. I always forget to take pics when I'm out. Too busy chasing treaures. Love the spike necklace xx

  15. Oooooo I am very jealous! What I would give to go to a good flea market :( You might not believe this but I have never ever been to one! They sound so exotic to me.. I can't find one anywhere near me... boohoo!

    I know where I'm going if I ever visit London! All the shops look like little inviting treasure troves! xxx

  16. So comprehensive! I shall defo be steering the girls on my sister's hen do Crystal Palace way.

  17. Such a great idea! I am going to try (note: TRY) to make the time to do this as well - Bexhill is a mecca of charity shopping and Hastings and St Leonards, next door to us, have fantastic vintage shops. You could come to the seaside for the weekend but do nothing but junk shop hop. Never mind the sea.

    Love the vintage books you picked up.

  18. The Charity Shop Blog Hop sounds like fun..I will have to check it out. What a perfect area to go browsing/shopping for the day..thanks for sharing (if I am ever in that area, I will be sure to check all the shops out). I really like the vintage books and the talking parrot sounds fab..
    Have a great weekend :)
    Magie x

  19. "you can drop the boyfriend here and hope he comes out as Don Draper"...seriously, I'd love to just mail order me a Don Draper looking type, for sure!

    I remember those parrot machines!! Used to love them as a kid if we went to the seaside and saw one!!

    But it seems like such a good location for such lovely finds....great post!

  20. This post must've tken you blinkin' ages - it's so informative and detailed. You could spend an entire day without a break trawling those places, and that sounds like a dream.
    Love the dress - the waistline is so flattering, and, can I borrow the shoes please!?

    I won't do a tour of Pontypridd's charity shops, I doubt rails of Florence and Fred and George clobber will impress many people!

    Have a lovely weekend

    Lucy x

  21. Brilliant review and round up of charity shops in Crystal Palace, and what a brilliant link up idea, I'm off to check it out ...

  22. many thanks for this roundup of charity shops and flea markets! when i went to london i could'nt find a charity shop :( but next time i know where to go :) i love that armani dress on you! perfect fit!

  23. What a fantastic round-up, it makes me want to jump on a train and go rummaging around Bambino right now.
    I wonder how much Belle Coco were flogging that Gerald Kelly print for? By the look for that stunning set-up I bet it wasn't the £5 I paid for mine!
    Love that linen dress on you, it fits and shows off your gorgeous bod a treat and those shoes are fantastic, too. x

  24. That’s a lovely neckline on the dress, and why shouldn’t you dream a little; who cares about creases, linen is meant to crease!

  25. What a great round-up, I thinka trip to Crystal Paris is in order for me soon! x

    Penny Dreadful Vintage

  26. Those KG wedges are a fab find!! xxx

  27. Oh that's a shame about Living Water, had a few bargains from there. I've never noticed Et Pourquoi Pas, sounds good will have a look next time (when I've shifted the baby belly - could be a while) x

  28. Crystal Palace here I come!
    You look gorgeous in your Armani dress amor.
    Love your purple mary janes and matching spike necklace.
    We need to see more of you strutting your prosti self.

  29. We just arrived for a months stay in Crystal Palace, your post is a wonderful find. Thank you so much.

  30. Great guide, I've just moved to the area and I'm loving it!

  31. This is my first time visit here. From the tons of comments on your articles,I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here! Metaphysical Store


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