Things I’ve learnt from strangers: Bermondsey St. antiques

Last weekend I got chatting to a woman who owns one of the properties on Bermondsey Street and trades antiques and furniture from it. She originally bought the house over 10 years ago to store the items that she couldn’t keep in her space in the market at the bottom of the street. At the time, the other traders said she was mad: who would go that far up the street, beyond the established trading area? In reality, she had an established group of customers happy to walk the distance, and she brought more trade to the other shops, stalls and spaces in between. Now, the market is tiny, all the other shops on the street are gone, and the trade dying due to the rise of Ikea and eBay. She doesn’t own a computer. She’s going to shut up shop and rent the space to architects.