THE NORTHERN LINE
BARNET – MORDEN
EDGWARE TO ELSTREE
via CAMDEN TOWN
updated jan 2019
From Barnet Tube Station, ascend the incline, keep to right and right by church. On the way, on the left is EMMAUS, but this is mainly furniture and electricals. past the church on the left is CHERRY LODGE HOSPICE, out of shop turn left and on left is ALL ABOARD, by far the best shop in Barnet, although they do seem to be putting up the prices recently, but still worth a detour (WAD), out of shop turn left is AGE UK, then CANCER. then AIR AMBULANCE and then NOAHS ARK, pdsa and Willow and further along still is HEART, which is easy to miss. Cross the road, and head back towards Barnet station, and on the left is the OXFAM and further down nearly opposite Cherry Lodge is Hospice. Out of shop turn left and there is a bus stop that seems to have all the buses that go the way you want next, 263, all the other are best avoided, they all turn left or right at very strange places, unless you know exactly which bus you want it is best to go back to Barnet station and get the tube to Woodside Park.
If you arrive in Barnet by bus from Elstree, then alight at Barnet Church and cut through the path by the church to the High Street and essentially it is up the left hand side, north until you get to Heart and then back down the right. until you get to the tube station.
WOODSIDE PARK 10 T
Out of Woodside Park station ahead to main road, about three junctions (North London Hospic have a furniture shop towards Barnet on the left), and ahead on the far side of the road is RFFR, which is actually two shops, both silverfishes, and the best in the area. even if they always look like they should put some money in the electricity meter. Worth a detour. Out of RFFR turn left and BARNARDOS is on left. Cross road and ahead left and there is the BOTHY. Out of shop turn right and on right is the CANCER shop. then ALL ABOARD which goes in for elegance and clothes and is a genuinely pleasant experience.
Then cross the road and nearly opposite is RSPCA oos turn left to HOSPICE and then HEART, who have a second very large shop which is mainly furniture and electricals further along.
Opposite Heart across the road in a covered alley, towards the bus station, is THE GREEN ROOM which seeks donations, and claims to be recycling charity shop, but the prices they ask do not exactly seem to encourage recycling of any kind. even though it is exactly the sort of ramshackle shop I like, I think I would prefer to spend time in RFFR
Once again there is a slight transport problem, if you know the way you can get a bus to Finchley Central easily from the bus station, but if you dont know the buses, go back to WOODSIDE PARK Tube. even though it seems a long way, if you attempt to walk to the sane stop for Finchley you will still be walking days later.
From the Heart shop you can skip Finchley Central and get a bus directly south to East Finchley.
FINCHLEY CENTRAL 8 T
FINCHLEY CENTRAL 6 T
If you arrive by bus from North finchley, alight at the third stop. Long lane and it stops directly outsIde the best shop in Finchley Central: ALL ABOARD, then continue south and there is OXFAM, and SUE RYDER. and three other shops on the other side of the road.
If you come by tube then it is just the reverse order, and you get the opportunity to use the toilets at Finchley Central which look like they were designed to withstand a nuclear bomb blast. out of the station to Finchley High Road turn right, and on left is HOSPICE, then CATS PROTECTION LEAGUE, and then CANCER. Cross over road for ALL ABOARD, OXFAM and SUE RYDER back towards the station
From here you can also get a bus that goes to Golders Green., which is I think a better bet than East Finchley. see Northern line Edgware Branch.
East Finchley 4
Out of East Finchley station up incline left, and cross road, about a minute, into ANIMAL AID an SS. Out of shop turn right and there is All ABOARD, and oos right there is RSPCA. back towards station on the other side is HOSPICE. Next door to Hospice is Black Gull Books one of the few general bookshops left in London,. Why bookshops are better than charity shops is that you can ask.
The previous week in a charity shop, I had bought seven volumes of what turned out to be a fourteen volume set, when I went back the next day to ask if there was any possibility of the others, they had no idea I had even bought the first lot. there is no consistency of staff in charity shops and it is very hard to establish any sort of relationship with them. The charity shops have helped kill off most of the secondhand bookshops i London, without offering a replacement service.
On the one hand I did get to buy some very expensive books, very cheaply in the charity shop, which was about the tenth I had visited that day, and was nearly going to give up, but I would prefer to pay more and find out what I was getting.
From Archway tube, head east with the murderous one way system and on the left on an island site, is SECOND CHANCE, which is the best in the area and worth a detour, many Retro clothes, Cross back to Junction road, and on the left is MARIE CURIE, then AIR AMBULANCE, and then the large expensive and ultra neat CRISIS on the other side.
It seems easy enough to get a bus, to Kentish Town but avoid them like the plague. You cannot get on a London bus when you want, you cannot get off them. they do not go where you want to go, they have destinations on the front but the chances of them going via the sane route is Nil.
KENTISH TOWN 7
and the most beautiful charity shop in London
Out of station head south towards Camden Town cross road and on right is MIND. Out of shop turn right and into PDSA. Out of shop turn right and there is AGE UK next door. Out of shop turn right BREAST CANCER is now shut down but there is the newly opened OCTAVIA in the architecturally beautiful Blustons old shop. I was so entranced that i had no chance to make a decision as to what the stock was like.
On the opposite side of the road, there is initially an OXFAM bookshop and then a general OXFAM shop.. It is now further to walk back to Kentish Town station, if you can, risk the bus to Camden Town, it stops directly outside the MIND there, a silverfish shop, which is the best in the area.
But I think a far better bet is to head north by train towards Elstree. From Kentish Town Station get the mainline train that goes to LUTON, or you can also begin from Kings Cross.
AT Kentish Two station get the overground train to Luton, and alight At Cricklewood, out of station turn right towards Cricklewood Broadway and turn left towards Kilburn, on the opposite side of the road is the wonderfully named Bosnia and Herzognovia charity shop, and next door equally esotoeric is the NEW TO YOU, both of which are Silverfish specials and worth a detour, Out of shop turn right and cross road towards Kilburn and there is the demure Cats protection league.
From her you can get a bus to Knetish town, but I think a far better bet is to go back to the station and get the Train north for Mill Hill Broadway.
MILL HILL BROADWAY 5 T
FROM MILL HILL Broadway station, the ugliest in London, out turn right and Hospice is on right, Out of shop turn right to oxfam.
Double back on the other side of the road for all Aboard, Cancer and heart.
ELSTREE 9 T
From Elstree and Borhamwood station, ( I never know which part of the town is which) out of station left and then right into main road
Peace hospice is on right, then across the road for cherry , then continue east for heart shop, cross back over for Barnet Hospital, then the all Aboard £1 shop. then Cancer, and Age uk,
Cross back over for RSPCA, then norwood then Barnardos, i have a vague feeling I have lost one between Rspca and Norood, but after a while all the chain charity shops merge into one another,
From the Barnados continue east to the other side of the roundabout by the MacDonolds and get a 121 bus to Barnet. this circuit, Elstree, Barnet, Kentish Town must now be the best in London.
CAMDEN TOWN 8 T
From Camden Town tube, turn left up Camden Road and cross opposite Sainsburys and there is MIND IN CAMDEN which is my favourite shop in Camden Town, the only one were I ever remeber buying anything from Worth detour. From MIND oos turn left and cross past the toilets – Camden Council is to be congratulated on preserving the toilets, opposite the station, and now both sets are open.
Continue up Parkway towards Regents Park and on right is SUE RYDER, and further along is the only charity shop I have ever seen devoted to a charity for ROCK AND POP MUSICIANS, Alas my idea of Pop music is anything after Wagner, and I am completely at a loss loss as to how to describe it.
Oos double back to Camden High Street and turn right and all the shops are on the right. OXFAM, CANCER, SCOPE, HEART and the newly listed MIND, on the opposite to HEART which seems to be very separate to the first shop listed in Camden, and I hope it does not mean that the first one is going to close down. I much prefer the established ntters to the new and improved ones. You now have to make a decision, either to head towards the Angel, From Mornington Crescent, which is now the closest tube. and then south of the river or back towards Kentish Town, and Elstree or Barnet, it seems to me that this latter is the much better circuit. in that there are at least 20 shops in Elstree and Barnet combined, and most of them are better than those going south on the northern line. with the exception of FARA in The Angel.
THE ANGEL 7
By far the best shop in Islington, and for a long way around is FARA in Pentonville Road. it says Retro on the outside, and it is very large inside, but it does not conform to my tenet that Retro means they add zero to the prices, This and the next shop are well worth a detour, but you might as well avoid the other shops in islington. From Angel station turn left to the newly listed OXFAM by the crossroads, turn right into Pentonville Road, towards Kings Cross station and the shop is unexpectedly on the right beneath an office block..
I have no idea what the name of the next shop means, but from FARA out of shop turn right and then first right into Baron Street, then head to the top for Chapel street market, and right and shop is on left and is called CPOTENTIAL There is a CANCER shop on Upper Street but it is dire. but its one claim to generosity is that it opens until seven pm in the evening, and further along is an OXFAM bookshop, which is worse. They have visibly unpriced £10 books in a glass case, for which you have to ask for the key. which needless to say they can never find.
You now have to follow directions carefully, keep to the right into Essex Road, with Islington Green on the left, and along way down the right is a SUE RYDER newly listed. however the last time i went past it was shut at 4.20 in the afternoon, with three people inside, when n the door it said 5pm. From sue ryder out of shop turn right and left into Cross street and this leads to the Mary Portas in Upper Street.
Much further along Upper Street, halfway towards Highbury and Islington, MARY PORTAS is now my heroine, (see Highgate village), I bought a really good book in there for £1. and I am keeping the receipt as a momento of a unique event. they thought it was fiction, however outside there is an A board thanking the local community for supporting the shop with donations, no mention of me, but inside there are locked wires through the arms of the clothes. You wait the next thing the charity shops will do is install self payment as you go through a barrier. I just hope that nobody ever tells them that in Victorian times you had to pay a deposit it to go into some posh shops, which was offset against your purchase.
in Mary Portas I wanted to try on one jacket = I had not looked at the price – I have bought so many clothes that are the wrong size that I can tell if it fits by simply putting in one arm, I do not want to have to ask for something to be unlocked before I try the whole thing on.
Miss Portas, only seems to want to attract the slim, rich and young &energetic, who can walk from the Cancer shop along Upper street. not overweight, broke, old crusties like me. if you continue east to Highbury corner, ther is the Marie Curie, which seems tobe in competition with miss p to see who can charge the most. Well worth avoiding.
SOUTH OF THE RIVER
clapham North 4
From CLAPHAM NORTH station turn left towards Clapham Common and on left GREEN LIGHT, has been shut. Cross to other side of the road, towards Clapham Common and there is SAVE THE CHILDREN, which is far better. then out on on right hand side. to AGE, and TRINITY HOSPICE but by far the best is to follow the road round to the right, past Clapham Common station and the old toilets, and on the right opposite the bus terminal is OASIS, which is not cheap but does have quality goods especially clothes and is well worth the walk.
The next closest are the seven shops in Balham, but apart from the Salvation Army they are all quite expensive, and I prefer the two in Tooting Bec.
BALHAM 9 T
BALHAM charity shops, other than first one listed, SYC ( Formerly Waldorf) seem to suffer from the same delusion as Pimlico. it is a working class area – a friend of mine says I have this wrong, that I think everywhere that is not Kensington as being a working class area, but there were four beggars in the streets the day I was there – and yet the prices they ask in the Cshops are very high. Generally unless you live there it is well worth avoiding. It is better to go to THE OASIS & PAWS in Tooting Bec, or my favourite shops in Hayes in Kent, or Elstree and Barnet on the far reaches of the Northern line.
SYC at 102 Bedford Hill. Out of Balham station, turn right alongside the rail line south towards Croydon, and a long way down under the bridge on the right. From the above out of shop turn left and cross road and keep to the right. towards Balham High Road and there is a FARA general shop, across the road is FARA Kids. Turn right at Balham High Road and opposite the Waitrose is the newly listed, ACE, ostensibly for the homeless, but if you pay their prices you soon will be, oos turn right and there is TRINITY is almost next door on the other side of the road towards Clpaham Common is th newly listed Salvation Army, but it has the most minimal hours..
Double back from Trinity and on the other side of the road and there is an OXFAM bookshop, nobody has told them that in South London people think literature is something you drop in the street and they are doing their best to make sure nobody buys the books by asking inflated prices. however they do seem to have become slightly more flexible recently. Next door is CANCER, then further down is HEART, the only good news is that this circuit leads back to the station.
TOOTING BEC 2
From Tooting Bec station, which I always confuse with Tooting Broadway, out of station on nort side and turn right into Trinity Road. OASIS is on right, and PAWS is further north on the opposite side. I rate these two shops higher than all the shops in Balham. Tooting Broadway is well worth avoiding, but nearly worth going to is Morden because of the Cats shop.
EDGWARE TO CAMDEN TOWN
Edgware 5 T
From Edgware Station turn left towards Edgware road, pass the Shopping mall, were the toilets are, and Barnardos is on left.
Out of shop turn left to cross road and turn right and all Aboard is on right. Oos turn left and left back onto station road and continue past station and oxfam is on left, Cross to other side of the road and there is a second all Aboard oos turn left towards station and there is Norwood.
GOLDERS GREEN 8 T