Hooked on junk
July 20, 2008 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any "good" junk shops in east London?

I've lived in east London (Mile End) for a year now, and have only ever found one "good" junk shop, on Roman Road.

I say "good" because what I mean is "crammed with junk, mostly of no value, but with the strong possibility of coming across something very nice indeed; not a forgotten Prouve, just a decent piece of old furniture". I've been to the one of Romn Road three times and once came away with a beautiful c1920 trunk; that easily repaid the investment of time and effort.

So, does anyone know of any place like this between the City and the Lea Valley?
posted by WPW to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's one here, though I think it's more on the "junk" side than the "something very nice" side.

There's a place that has a few, probably more promising, ones bunched together in the arches under an (abandoned?) railway, but I'm afraid I can't clearly remember where it is - somewhere between Bethnal Green and Stepney Green stations, and I'm pretty sure the arches go East-West, more or less.
posted by Drexen at 7:02 PM on July 20, 2008

I hear your pain, I've scoured Roman Road too and nothing much afoot. One place looked promising on the corner of RR and but it's never been open. There's a random second hand furniture place on the corner of Cambridge Heath Road and Bethnal Green (by the tube entrance, opposite the junction with Roman Road). It's under the arch next to the Salmon and Bull pub, there's very occaisionally something of interest there.

The only other option I know of is the top end of Brick Lane. It's all a bit pleased with itself but there's one tiny, junky place on Bethnal Green Road just near the junction which has good stuff (if a bit hipster - but hey, it's Brick Lane!). You could also check out the market there on a sunday, helluva lot of very cheap flea-type action.

Other than that, I'm stumped so shall be watching this thread with interest...
posted by freya_lamb at 1:40 AM on July 21, 2008

Still east, but a little trek from you, the Salvation Army has a huge thrift store on Forest Road in Walthamstow. They have furniture, clothing, books, the works....
posted by Helga-woo at 1:43 AM on July 21, 2008

On Martha Street, in one of the DLR arches there is a junk shop that I've been in a few times. If you're heading East out of The City along Commercial Road, take a right at Jubilee Street (where The Mad George pub is) and Martha Street is on the right at the DLR tracks.

Since its in a remote area of E1, not easily walked past - most foot traffic seems to be locals headed to Shadwell DLR - we never see a lot of people there. I first noticed him back in 2002 or so. There really isn't much else down there - a taxi garage, some food wholesalers, etc. So you might find a bargain or two.

While you're in the 'hood check out the charity shop in Watney Market. A lot more traffic than this old guy, but it seems stock turns over very rapidly.
posted by Mutant at 2:28 AM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all for your suggestions, which are nicely filling up the next coupe of weekends with a bit of exploring. Freya_Lamb: the one on a corner on RR might well be the one where I bought the trunk; just a little to the east of Grove Road as I remember.
posted by WPW at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: OK Folks, I did a bit of scouting around on Saturday and visited a couple of places recommended in this thread; I'll report my findings here in case other people want to find these places.

The shop recommended by Drexen is called "2nd Time Around", and was closed when I went to visit (at about 3.40 on Saturday). I made a note of its phone number though - 020 8980 2842. (I'm sure anyone who puts their phone number on a garage door next to a main road won't mind it being put on the internet.

I found the fabled railway arches near Bethnal Green - the alley is called Gales Gardens Mews. Map; photo. There are 20 or so arches, and only one was open; it did indeed sell junk, but it was really very trashy stuff. A goldmine for 1970s and 1980s appliances though, if you want a wood-effect fridge with a couple of decades on the clock, and it certainly seemed the sort of place where something interesting might turn up.

I'll be doing some more exploring next weekend if I have time; any more findings I make between now and the time this thread closes will be posted here.
posted by WPW at 1:11 PM on July 29, 2008

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