Monday, 19 January 2009

Junk shop

Until last year, when you visited Baldwins health food and herbalist shop in the Walworth Road, this is pretty much what you saw. Ok, it would have been in colour and the patrons would have been more likely to wear dreadlocks than school blazers, but all the shop fittings were original, pretty much as shown here. Founded in 1844, the store was home to an array of ancient glass cabinets, signs advertising sarsaparilla, apothecary jars, high counters and old shop shelving.

Recently the owners ripped out all the fittings and destroyed them, only to replace them with new facsimiles. Someone agreed to come and pick up a few bits and pieces, but when they didn't arrive on time the owners smashed it all up and stuck it in the bin. Not only could they have sold all this heritage to After Noah and made themselves a bit of cash, but they could have preserved some great craftsmanship, atmosphere and flavour.

When we had to get rid of an Art Deco bar that we found in a charity shop I sort of mourned. It had been damaged when we moved house and had really reached the end of its usefulness. But I took out the beveled mirror and now have it in our dining room; we sold all the locks, handles and hinges at a carboot sale; the burr maple doors are sitting in a cupboard awaiting a new lease of life as a coffee table; the citrus squeezer and Bakelite cocktail picks are installed in the kitchen; and the cutlery drawer is now our spice rack.

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