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Vintage all the way

By Florentina-Mirela Cercel and Oana Orzac

Holloway Road is not as lively as before the pandemic as many shops have closed their
doors in the last few years. Unfortunately, there are fewer cafes and supermarkets for passers-by to visit, some of them hidden behind closed doors.

Antique enthusiasts, however, are lucky: there are several antique shops still open for business in the Holloway area. These stores have treasures from different eras, such as paintings, vases, old cameras, and much more.

According to The Annual Business Survey (ABS), the number of vintage antique shops decreased in 2019: they fell even more last year due to the pandemic.

Nevertheless, people still like to buy old-timey pieces or visit these shops, which hold many memories and often have a rich history.

One of the antique shops we love is hidden inside the depths of Nag’s Head Market. The store is small, located between a telephone shop and a food stall. Inside, several showcases are full of small collectables, paintings, plates, sculptures and even old soldiers’ suitcases.

David Johns, 53, has been the Antiques shop owner for just 10 hours – yes, you read that right.

“Last night I bought this shop from the preview’s owner,” said Johns. He is eager to start working on his new store, cleaning and arranging the amalgam of objects showcased in the shop windows as well as bringing in his own collections to find them a new home.

“The shop came with everything inside, but I want to sell them fast so I can put my antiques
in,” he said.

For three years Mr Johns had an antique shop in Forest Hill in Lewisham, south London, but he decided to move to Holloway to be closer to his home. Only time will tell how successful his new venture will be.

Mannequins and more

Another antique shop located on Holloway Road, and a rather bizarre one at that, has a very unique name: D&A Binder. It’s a shop that you might not find yourself inside unless you knew about it beforehand, or took time to slow down on Holloway Road.

Entering this store, which specialises in selling old shop fittings, is like entering a museum. It’s owned by another David – David Binder, 67 – who sells a variety of items including old wardrobes and haberdashery cabinets, posters, books, mannequins and dolls. The celluloid figures present have a very strange but familiar feeling, and it feels as if you’re being watched through your wonder in the store.

A vintage mannequin inside the D&A Binder shop. Picture credit: Oana Orzac

D&A Binder looks like a scene from an old movie, with suitcases dating from the early nineteen hundreds, old CocaCola coolers that are much cooler now, aviation collectables, Royal Family posters and painted china.

One of the vintage aviation collectables inside D&A Binder. Picture credit: Oana Orzac

Mr Binder has operated his store for more than 40 years. “Many of the objects here are very old,
people come with different items, and I buy from them,” he said. Why does he have so many
mannequins and doll heads? “That is what we are selling here. They are interesting.”

If you want to discover more antique shops, the Antiques-Atlas website shows over 100 stores around London ready to be visited.