Revised Feb 2019
From Walthamstow to Pimlico
Highbury & Islington to Caterham
Victoria to Blackheath via Dartford to Deptford
WALTHAMSTOW 11 T
The last Refuge of the Byzantine Empire.
THRIFT SHOP at 434 Forest Road, is run by the SALVATION ARMY and is by far the best shop in the area, but it is not the easiest to get to. You should alight at Blackhorse Road tube, one stop before Walthamstow on the Victoria line, and cross to the other side of Forest Road and get a 123 bus going east to Ilford. Alight at the William Morris Gallery, about 4 main stops, and the shop is opposite, this is the best route for starting the Walthamstow circuit, and this shop is worth the detour, it is usually very cheap and the stuff turns over BUT IT CLOSES AT 4PM .
Out of Salvation Army shop turn right up side road, and turn right into Hoe street and on right is the ISLAMIC RELIEF shop which I also rate, OOS and right into High Street market and on the left is SCOPE. oos turn left and nearly opposite is HEART. I originally lost the picture, but not as much as them when it comes to prices. Out of shop turn right and the next batch are quite a walk, but worthwhile. initially SUE RYDER and oos turn right then CREST, which is a Silverfish special and nearly my equal favourite shop in the area with THRIFT.
OOS and nearly opposite is AGE UK, oos turn left, and on the corner is OXFAM, which was not originally showing up in my pictures, my computer has developed a justified hostility to OXFAM owing to the fact that they had the same book in the window for at least three months, at an egregious price, I thought the object of the exercise was to raise money not to get the highest prices you can see listed.
WOOD STREET 2.
From the Oxfam in Walthamstwo cross the main road and turn right, north, to get a bus back to Blackhorse Road tube, about two stops, or from Oxfam turn left and go into St James station and take a Chingford train, east, to Wood Street – the second station. From there turn right and on the right is another Silver fish special, THE NEW LIFE CHARITY SHOP which looks the way charity shops should look and behave, they turn nothing away, they price things to sell, not for customers they dream of, and are open to discussions. Cross road and continue north and on the left is a charity shop where they spend all morning putting the stuff out in the street and all afternoon putting it back
Opposite FEI you can get the W16 bus to Bakers Arms.
BAKERS ARMS 2 T
From FEI Wood Street, get the W16 bus opposite, try to avoid it at school throwing out time, alight at the cross roads of Lea bridge Road and Leyton high road. where there is SENSE opposite. Out of shop turn right and left down high Rd and cross. for PDSA, there is a free toilet in the Tesco, on the way. Out of shop and cross back over south towards the bus garage and the reason these other two shops are only worth visiting is because of the HUMAN RELIEF FOUNDATION which even though it is set back on the triangular Green has an address in Leyton High Road. it is also worth visiting for the wobbly floor, which feels like a 3D map of the Himalayas. but no money is wasted on an annual tart up here.
LEYTONSTONE 2 and two halves T
From Bakers Arms get back on the W16, and it goes to Lovely Lovely Leytonstone, and if you come out on the south side of the station, ahead, there is a newly opened MIND on the right. OOS and turn right and left at the church, on the right is SCT CHARITY SHOP. which is is worth a detour, but alas there is nothing nearby, There is another shop further up the road, which makes kitsch furniture look tasteful and in the other direction there is a HEART Furniture and Electrical shop. Leytonstone is actually on the Central line, but there are not enough Cshops on this line to a make it worthwhile. Only the East End has about three areas where there are charity shops: Epping Loughton and Fairlop
The SCT shop is to be congratulated on staying open until six pm,, whereas the PDSA in Bakers Arms were making me the last customer at 445pm, by staying open, and my suspecting it, SCT were making the afternoon worthwhile. it makes no difference that I bought something I liked in the PDSA, and nothing in SCT, The point is that you cannot possibly hope to sell anything unless you are open.
Far better is to head for Finsbury Park, and then head south of the river on what I have christened the Victoriana line.
WALTHAM FOREST 5 T
The Exotic End of the Empire
I think it is now only worth going to Waltham Cross if you are in the area, you can get there from Tottenham Hale on the Victoria line by getting a train heading north for Hertford or Bishops Stortford.
Out of Waltham Cross station turn right and head left into town centre. PDSA is on left, out of shop turn left and right, (There are toilets in the shopping centre on right) and on left are the following shops ISOBEL HOSPICE, KEECH, and HEART SHOP double back and there is the MARIE CURIE.
FINSBURY PARK 3 and two halves.
See Finsbury park on the Piccadilly line
CROUCH END & MUSWELL HILL
From Finsbury Park station you can get a train to Southgate on the Piccadilly line, but there are two other local areas: Crouch End and Muswell Hill, where it can be worthwhile going if you are in the area, however you can only get to them by bus, Together they have more charity shops than any other area in London, but I wouldnt exactly describe either of them as worth a detour. I dont remember my ever buying anything memorable there and you have to do quite a bit of walking and waiting for buses.
You have to get the W7 bus to Crouch End and Muswell Hill at Finsbury Park bus station.. On Stroud Green Road by Finsbury park station there is CRISIS which is a large cafe cum charity shop, but is not exactly exciting, or cheap, a lot further along Stroud Green Road on the right is MIND but you have to walk from Finsbury Park station to these two and it is not a short walk. opp the Mind shop you can get the W7 bus to Crouch End. at first it would seem that these two shops should be listed together with the shops in Blackstock Road, but that does not work you end up walking much farther.
CROUCH END 8
Get the W7 bus from Finsbury Park Station and alight just after the CANCER shop, at the bottom of the hill in Crouch End, then cross RSPCA. I have a vague feeling I have lost one here, (I didnt lose it, it is because the shops are so bland that they all merge into one another and I was dreaming of something memorable and three shops have clsoed down since last year.) but essentially you should just walk up the right parade, and then back down the other side. This road is sometimes called Topsfield Parade and some times Crouch End Broadway, and the shops often have names bigger than the stock and head back towards the clock tower with the following: MARIE CURIE, AIR AMBULANCE, SHELTER and HAVEN HOSPICE on the corner. if youa re nterested in books turn righ At the clock Tower and the OXFAM bookshop is on the right, I also recommend that if you are interested in books you avoid it. but it is easier to get a bus to Muswell Hill where you alighted by the Cancer shop. if you do go to the ox, out of shop turn right and on the left a long way down you can get the W7 again to Muswell Hill..
MUSWELL HILL 11
MUSWELL HILL 12
I have not found a public toilet in Muswell Hill yet, I think the residents must be too posh to do things like that.
Get the W7 bus to the top of Muswell Hill from out side the Cancer shop in Crouch End or at Finsbury Park station, and cross road to right and there is ALL DOGS MATTER, then double back for OXFAM GENERAL and on the other side is OXFAM bookshop. Out of Oxfam bookshop cross road and turn right on the parade that overlooks the city, and there is CANCER, continue westwards and there is SUE RYDER. Cross to to the other side of the road and there is CPOTENTIAL, then back on the other side is another CANCER, (quite why they have two shops I know not, it would surely be better to halve the prices in the first one and more than double the turnover). back on the other side of the road and there is a SHELTER boutique, the word boutique is a sure giveaway that you will get nothing I think Boutique is worse than Retro. Out of shop turn left and on the corner is BARNARDOS, out of shop and all the shops are on the other side of the road north FARA kids HOSPICE. AIR AMBULANCE. Essentially is is a truncated U.
I am afraid Muswell Hill is far too posh to me, I have yet to make it into the working class, the only shops where I ever seem to buy anything is Dogs and Hospice. by the time i got to Shelter Hospice I was looking for a toilet, there is no Macdonalds and no toilet in the large Sainsburys, if there had been a toilet i would have been able to scrub my finger nails first, as it is i did not have the courage to go into the Shelter boutique. I always get the feeling in these places that call thmeselves boutiques, and have designer shelves, that you have to be the right sort of customer, it is called intimidation by carpet.I got the bus to Highgate and gave up going to Harington and got the tube to Pimlico where I knew there was a toilet.
You can either get a bus to East Finchley, or go back to nearly opposite the Barnardos, by the church, and get a bus to Highgate tube on the Northern Line
PIMLICO 4 T
If the Pimlico traffic does not get you, the prices will. Apart from the first shop I recommend that you avoid this area, I am in favour of masochism but these shops have put me off it forever, both of the chain ones wanted £30 for cotton shirts, if it had been hair I might have been keen. If you live or work here I am sorry, but if you do not, look upon it as one of the great achievements of your day that you did not waste an afternoon visiting the charity shops of Pimlico
If you have an Oyster card or a Freedom Pass it is bound to be better to go to Walthamstow, or even Streatham Hill via Brixton tube and a bus, or better still the shops in Hayes, Kent, via Charing Cross main line station, or Orpington from Victoria.The afternoon after I was in Pimlico I went to Hayes, after being exasperated by half the shops in Pimlico, and for £30 I could have bought a genuine vintage leather motor bike jacket. In Pimlico they would have added nothing, it would have been £300. Whenever you see the sign saying Retro, you know it is an excuse to add nothing to the prices. I can only think that they are knowingly exploiting the local tourists who stay in the cheapish hotels nearby, If you do live or work here, and have not much money, I suggest you save what you have for a one day oyster card, and you are bound to save money in several other areas of London, not least Watford. There is also a bootfair in the local school on a Sunday morning which is far far cheaper than anything you can buy in the chain Pimlico charity shops
It would seem that Victoria is the closer station, but it is currently an even bigger nightmare trying to emerge from it. but what Pimlico does have is the most beautiful charity shop in London:
BOUTIQUE Charity shop 19 Churton street London SW1, it is not cheap but it has very good quality clothes. and it must be the most elegant charity shop in London, if not Britain. usually the word boutique makes me run a mile, but this is one of the few, possibly the only one that I always do well in and enjoy going to. if only I found the other shops in the area more attractive..
From Pimlico station come out of the Rampayne Street exit, turn right into Tachbrook Street, by the toilets, turn third left at Churton Street and on the left is COMMUNITY BOUTIQUE. Out of shop turn right and back left into Tachbrook street. And on left there is FARA KIDS. Out of shop turn left into Warwick Way and there is FARA and then OXFAM. and then SUE RYDER the others now seem to be closed. I have previously missed out the FARA retro shop RETROMANIA in Upper Tachbrook Street, I thought that it was a commercial p, you have to study the sign outside to realize that it is a charity shop. but unlike their place in the Angel it is not cheap.
A long walk and closer to St James Park Station is Cardinal Hume at 100 Horseferry road. by Westminster Cathedral which is only good if you are in the area.
That is it folks, you would think there would be more on the Victoria line but I have not discovered any area that qualifies or has four shops. I would be happy to hear that I am wrong.
I have decided that it is not worth going south of Finsbury Park on the Victoria line – you would do better to go north on the Piccadilly line to Southgate, and so I have thus decided to create my own Victoriana line south from Highbury and islington to Caterham.
THE VICTORIANA LINE
FROM HIGHBURY AND ISLINGTON to CATERHAM.
the area round Higbbury and Islington station is currently a disaster zone, they are rebuilding the underground bridge on the old North London line, it is claimed that it will be finished in 2018. but at the moment it seems like a contest between two gangs to see if they can spread chaos to Archway or the Angel islington and see who can cause the most delay by getting pedestrians to walk the furthest.
It is not really worth while getting off for the first shop, MARIE CURIE on the east side of Highbury Corner, other than to see how cheap the prices in SECOND CHANCE in Blackstock road are in comparison. but it does stay open until 6.30pm.
From Highbury and Islington get the overground train east to Dalston, either station, and then head south along Kingsland High Road, and continue south .on left is OXFAM, which is very popular locally but not my style at all, out of shop turn left and there is HUMAN WELFARE, which is my style, but seems to have changed name recently, but it is still wonderfully chaotic and crammed inside. and then ST VINCENTS, which gets neater and tidier by the visit.
From the latter out of shop turn left south along Kingsland Road and and about half mile on the left is HAGGERSTON station and then take train south to New Cross Cate.
NEW CROSS GATE
From New Cross Gate Station out of station turn left and shop is on the left Wortha detour.
Since the closure of the Salvation Army in Deptford High Street it is no longer worth the effort getting a bus to the area, although the Methodist shop in Creek Road is now included on the Dartford line. better is to head to Forest Hill which now has three shops and an independent bookshop
FOREST HILL three and a half
Out of Forest Hill Station turn left and Leaf and Groove book shop is on left. mainly paperbacks. Oos turn left and continue to the end of the block and on the corner is ALDLIFE, which is the best general shop in the area, Out of shop turn right and back to the cross roads and on the other corner is RED CROSS. out of shop turn right and a short walk up the hill is SUE RYDER. which is erratically expensive.
SYDENHAM 5 ( T outside railway station)
Only worth it if you are already in the area. other than first shop.
Out of Sydenham station, turn right and right over bridge and cross road and St Christophers is to the right, on the other side of the road., Out of shop turn right and continue down hill until you come to a second newly opened St Christophers shop, which mainly does furniture , OOS turn right RSPCA, out of shop cross road, turn right and CANCER is on left much further down than you would expect., Double back towards station and SUE RYDER is on right.
PENGE 5 T
FROM PENGE WEST STATION, which is easier to get to than Penge East, (see later on Suburbly line) turn right and follow signs for Town Centre turn right into the main street and on right, is BARNARDOS quite a long walk down and which is currently holding a sale of childrens clothes at 19p each. Oos turn right and there is SENSE and HEART next to one another. Cross road and on left is RED CROSS, out of shop turn left to ST CHRISTOPHERS, and then ALD LIFE.
From the latter oos turn right back to the first cross roads about 250 yards, and turn right and cross road to left, and you can get a bus to Sydenham,
NORWOOD JUNCTION 2 T
From Norwood Junction station out on North side, ahead and turn left at m Main Street. GERANIUM shop is on left. From Geranium turn right and cross to tother side of road past cross roads and
FISHERS OF MEN
It is worth getting off at Norwood Junction just to see FISHERS OF MEN, they could easily make it into a tourist attraction. I have never seen a charity shop so neat and tidy and so well managed, and yet filled with so much stuff, it makes the average Victorian house look like a palace of minamalism, they should start giving lessons on how to cram as much stuff as possible into as small a space as possible. it also has the wonderful feel of the old time junk shops, they turn nothing away, not even the dead beat customers. on the day I was there I found an ancient fitting for a VHS machine, which every other computer shop told me was impossible. If you rang this place up and asked for a Father Christmas beard, they would more than likely say straight or curly! It is my favourite shop in South London and the second favourite in London after New Hope in Watford. I just wish I could somehow get them onto the same line.
From Norwood Junction you can head towards West Croydon, Purley and Caterham, which form a circuit.
WEST CROYDON 8
From West Croydon Station, out of front entrance and SCOPE is directly opposite, out of shop turn right and march to the second set of Tramlines, and turn right and CRISIS is on the right, then St CHRISTOPPHERS, double back to the market, and turn right and at the end on the corner left is FORCES SUPPORT. and opposite is ALICES ATTIC. out of shop turn left and on the right is HEART, then further along is the Buddhist HIDDEN GEMS
A lot further down, Turn left at South end, On the road to Sandersted is the GARWOOD foundation, which is a silverfish special, a long walk but worth it.back to Croydon road . turn left and you can get a bus to Purley
PURLEY 8 T
From Purley station, ahead left down incline turn right but keep to left against the flow of traffic, with Tesco on the left and then right at Brighton Road. Initially all Cshops are on the far side of the road. CANCER, SALVATION ARMY, CHILDRENS, EMMAUS OXFAM, from the latter cross to other side of the road and left and on the right above the fork in the road is BARNARDOS, oos turn left keeping to left and on right is CATS PROTECTIONS LEAGUE. from the latter look at bus stop opp Tesco and sometimes it is quicker to get a bus to Caterham, if you begin in Purley. On the last afternoon i was there the only shop which was open after 5 pm was the Barnardos, you cannot do any business if you are closed.
CATERHAM 7 T.
From CATERHAM Station turn left and left at the roundabout and there is the RSPCA, ST CATHERINES HOSPICE, HOSPICE IN THE WEALD and SALVATION ARMY these are the best. Cross over road and double back and there is QEH and CANCER, back to the roundabout and on the far side look for church walk shopping centre and inside towards Morrisons is MARIE CURIE. Caterham is not great, I think you stand more chance in Purley.
ALL ABOVE REVISED FEBRUARY 2019
Addiscombe is rather on its own, but easy to get to on the Tram from West Croydon, out of Addiscombe station turn right along the high street. for St CHRISTOPHERS, SALVATION ARMY, RSPCA and SCOPE, and the newly listed MIND out of the shop turn left and GARWOOD is on the other side., but I think they are only worth the effort if you are in the area. as there is nowhere to go next other than back. but there is one small consolation if you go back to Croydon by bus. I am not sure I know where this place is but i dont think the know either.
Newly listed i Animal Samaritans, which is worth getting off the bus for on the way back from Addiscombe, I hung around for quite a while but i heard no animals ringing up to talk about how depressed they w ere.
THE BLACKHEATH ELTHAM DARTFORD LINE,
a small consolation at the end
THE EMPTY QUARTER
Revised February 2019
From Blackheath station turn left and keep to left, up incline towards the heath and on the right is OXFAM, which manages the unique claim for Oxfam of being the best charity shop in the area, but only because the others in Blackheath are so awful. From Oxfam turn right and right opposite church turn right and on left is MARY PORTAS, then CANCER then SHELTER boutique.
(Boutique means they overspent on the lighting, the decor, and the image. and overcharge on the stuff which is the only thing where there is no limitation). it also means that they paid a brand consultant a fortune to come up with the word and the design concept. its two to one they always wear black and the only time they have been in a charity shop was when the Beckhams were having their photos taken there.
Better than this circuit is to head to Hayes in Kent. or if you are at New Cross Gate then take the plunge across the river to darkest Dalston and Wildest Walthamstow. if you have a freedom pass then you should only think about the ease of getting to the places and Dalston and Walthamstow are closer in time and ease, than Dartford, and better than Welling . Eltham and Blackheath put together. well possibly not Eltham.
From Eltham station turn left up hill, from the forecourt (all buses from station go to Eltham High street), but I think it is quicker to walk, at the cross roads turn left and there is BARNARDOS, out of shop turn left to MARIE CURIE, then continue to GREENWICH HOSPICE, then CANCER, and then DEMELZA, whichis currnelty closed but due to open in March. oos and cross road back towards cross roads and on left before HEART, in the side road passageway, is SAVE THE CHILDREN, back to the high street and at the cross roads turn left, and on left is RED CROSS, which I now think is the best n the area.
From Welling Station, down incline and turn left and left into the main road, on the right is Greenwich Hospice, then on the other side of the road is SCOPE, then CANCER, then out of shop nearly opposite is CHARITY SHOP OOS turn right and at the first major junction on the right is Ellenor , Oos turn left back into High Road and you can get a bus to Bexleyheath, which is quicker than going back to the station.
From Ellenor in Welling out of shop turn left and left into high road and get any bus that goes east to Bexleyheath, and alight at the beginning of the shopping parade, where there is COMMUNITY HOSPICE, on the South side of the road, then ELLENOR, then SCOPE and then on the other side of the road CANCER.
By the shopping mall you can get a bus to Dartford, this is quicker than going back to Bexleyheath station. On the way ther is another Ellenor in Crayford.
DARTFORD 8 T
DARTFORD 6 T
From Dartford station, where the bus from Bexleyheath also stops, out over pedestrian bridge into the Orchards Shopping Centre, out on other side of the exit and turn left for Elennor, out of shop turn right and SCOPE is on right, out of Scope and turn right and in side road on left is is HEART , Out of shop turn left and left to ELENOR, which officially closes at 4. and MARIE CURIE are on left. From Marie Curie ahead back towards the station and MDCC is on left, but it has very early closing hours in the afternoon and is not open on a Saturday,
The day I went from Blackheath to Dartford, I reversed the order from last time, but generally it was waste of time
In desperation I stopped off at one of my favourite shops in Deptford, and there I spent £10. if only went there first.
From Deptford Station turn left towards the river, andat the endof the road you w illse a buidling that is modeled on the Lubianka but in the middle is a charity shop which is worth a detour
If you come back from Dartford on the London Bridge Luton train, it is pointless stopping off at Woolwich or Greenwich, but even though other than bootfair, by the station, on Wednesdays & Fridays and Saturdays, it is usually well worth stopping off here..