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old curiosity shop

    London Life Shops

    an old curiosity shop

    February 11, 2013

    Well, living in the middle of london, you don’t expect to come across shops that transport you back 30 years. Do you remember the days of the curiosity shops? Now, we have antiques shops, junk shops and everything in between but i’m fascinated by those that haven’t spruced themselves up simply to charge more money. So, it was with a sense of glee that i passed this curiosity shop on my way home. I love discovering shops that make me work a little, make me look harder, search for something unique. Isn’t that half the fun of shopping? Isn’t that a more creative way of shopping?

    It is sometimes just too easy to walk into a perfectly styled shop with perfectly designed objects and products in it. I get my best ideas from looking at random stuff that has not had consideration of colour, design, style or composition. I often find colour combinations and patterns that give me ideas for a design, a drawing or a solution to a problem. I suppose, it challenges me to really look and think.



    To my delight, alexander the owner was there to greet me. We hit it off immediately and so i decided to take some photos for you guys while listening to alexander’s great storytelling.


    It’s difficult to describe the man. He is one of these larger than life characters, utterly charming and unique! There’s probably nothing alexander hasn’t done. From humble beginnings in belfast, assisting rag-and-bone men on a horse and cart to being a tool maker, jewellery maker, chef and working in the building and scaffolding trade, alexander has come full circle. He has been running this shop for the past 16 years.

    Can i describe the content? No i can’t. There’s a cornucopia of objects, ever changing. See for yourselves… here’s stuff that caught my eye and that hopefully will inspire you, in terms of colour, composition and patterns.

    I’ve always loved these lead soldiers and would spent hours and hours as a child helping my brother paint them.


    A great set of buttons.



    Love this head bust against the books.


    Apparently this is an entire set of letters sent by an indian gentlemen, meticulously hand-written in the 1940’s.


    This old tv will be transformed into a drinks bar. That’s cool!


    Really liked these randomly hanging guitars. Wonder what piece of furniture one can make with them.


    Spooky and fun. Would make an interesting pattern design.


    Authentic war helmets.


    Anyone for croquet?


    Mad or what? All hanging happily together.


    Piece of curtain that can be used for anything really. I liked the vibrant red colour.


    Ok, this was just left at the back on a shelf. NOT FOR SALE! I simply liked the colour combination. The mustard against hellman’s yellow.


    Alexander is also an artist and loves making all sorts of things. The next 2 photographs are of some props he made and used for last year’s new year’s eve party.



    These next pieces are his true passion. Apparently the mannequins come in very damaged and he lovingly restores them to their original state. He then paints them throughout and creates these outfit as seen here below . The details of this labour of love are very inspiring and i even spotted painted fingernails. I think these lamps are eclectic and fabulous and would look incredible in a club situation or large house.




    Whether you are just browsing for ideas, in need for props for a shoot or simply just looking for an ornament you must pay a visit to this unique place. There is no name above the shop front and you won’t find a website or any social media links. What you will find is a shop full of surprises and interesting objects, all you need to do is open your eyes!

    Alexander & Co, 57 Fortress Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 1AD

    Alexander & Co has since closed down.