Spitalfields Antiques Market 6
This elegant woman surrounded by a kaleidoscope of vivid florals is Lucy Welsh from North London. “I was working in a cafe but I gave it up because I thought I could make a living by buying and selling,” said Lucy brightly, revealing a brave spirit of enterprise. “I sell the kind of thing that I would buy for myself,” she explained, making graceful gestures with her delicate fingers to indicate the subtle blue shades of her Poole Pottery coffee set for just £25 and the pair of Sanderson chintz curtains in near mint condition for a mere £30. Keen prices at this stall from a lady of taste and discernment.
This is Sue & Roy Watts, popular stalwarts in the market, who have been been getting up at three in the morning and coming every week to Spitalfields from Norwich for seven years. Sue deals in jewellery and Roy sells furniture. “We’ve been through the good, the bad and the ugly,” confirmed Roy with a caustic grin, because, once, he and Sue endured a hurricane whilst trading outside the market during the renovations. Adding, “I used to think I was selling antiques, but now I realise I am a Dickey Dealer!” with the philosophical smile of one who has survived tempests to arrive happily in the calmer waters of this present day.
This is Molly & Ellen, who can be seen working together in the market every Monday, Thursday and Friday. Molly’s family have been swagmen in the East End for generations and Ellen played here in the fruit & vegetable market when she was child. “I was born in Whitechapel and this used to be our playground – only the porters could control us because they were the only ones we would listen to.” confided Ellen with a proud smirk. Witnessing the fluctuations of the neighbourhood, Molly & Ellen are two women of great spirit who speak for a resilient local community that has lived through all the changes, and I hope to talk further with them both in coming weeks.
This intriguing individual with the thoughtful gaze is Ali Winstanley from Stoke Newington whose father and sister are both antique dealers, which means that, even though she only been trading for six months, she has an educated eye. I particulared admired the millefiori brooches that she has and you must look out for Ali’s collections of vintage purses, silver lockets and decorated toffee tins too. “I have a passion for all things curious and kitsch!” declared Ali enigmatically, offering a tantalising invitation to view the contents of her newly-minted blog that explores her enthusiasms. www.kuriosas.blogspot.com
Photographs copyright © Jeremy Freedman