Quite unrelated to travel, but just a word about a great place I discovered recently. I went looking for a present for two priests who got married. It was quite a difficult present to choose and I had in my mind something along the lines of an old decanter. Something that would be useful in the dining room of their Victorian vicarage today and perhaps in years to come could be used to dispense a restorative sherry for alarmed members of the congregation. Anyway, it took me a couple of months on and off in various likely areas in London. Finally I found this place run by a fascinating man called David Glick (Antique Glass – 300 Westbourne Grove, London W11 – 07850 615867). In an old dairy just off Portobello Road, David has the most amazing collection of old glass. Decanters, jugs, rummers and other glasses – you name it and he’s got it. There’s no website, you just have to turn up on a Saturday morning between eight and twelve, as he doesn’t have a license to trade during the week and mainly supplies the trade. Give him an idea of what you want and he’ll work out the rest. He’s also a mine of information about other antique dealers and where to get unusual and interesting items.
It’s just such a pity that so many wonderful shops are disappearing from London. Many are going on to the Internet or moving a long way out of town. The Cotsworlds seems a favoured destination. A lot are driven out by the increasing rates burden. Another place for interesting old glass, Jeanette Hayhurst of Kensington Church Street, has moved out of town after 25 years for this reason. All the old Kings Road antiques dealers have gone. We must all take some of the blame for this because many of us have just stopped taking the time to give them our business. It’s also the changing demographic of Londoners, where the city centre is becoming more the preserve of younger, transient residents. Nor should we underestimate the impact of draconian local authority parking regulations which have just about destroyed the passing trade for many small retailers.
This has made me think of another category for this blog. I’ve started a new section on interesting places where you also get great service. David’s business is the first entry.