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Spitalfields Antiques Market 19

August 19, 2010
by the gentle author

This is Sarah & Roy, a devoted couple from Dagenham. “I make the money while he’s the hard working one who carries the heavy boxes around,” admitted Sarah mischievously, slipping a protective arm around Roy. On the right hand side of the stall are Sarah’s vintage jewellery and clothes, while on the left are Roy’s childhood plastic toy soldiers, Action Men and Ladybird books. “I do feel sad parting with some because I remember playing with them,” Roy confessed to me with a sentimental smile – inspiring Sarah to wrap her arms around him and plant an emotional kiss, declaring,“Bless him, he loves it!”

This is Rishi Shah from Bethnal Green & Thomas LaRoche from Paris, two pale young gentlemen pedalling charnel house chic. “We came together because we both collect taxidermy and we realised there is a shortage.” explained Thomas, casting an affectionate eye over his depleated collection of animal parts, bones and religious artefacts.“We sell jars with foetal pigs, chicken embryos, octopus and rats in formaldehyde, all of which have died of natural causes,” revealed Rishi, tenderly displaying a sinister white rodent in a bottle for me to admire. Visit

This is Shahid & Gillani Arjumand, dealers of repute. Shahid trades in Victorian and Georgian silver, cutlery, coins and fountain pens while Gillani sells antique jewellery. “I used to work for an insurance company and she was in retail, but we both left to go full time in 2000. And we have brought up three children on this, they have been to university, married and bought homes.” recalled Shahid, gesturing to all the piles of broken fountain pens, old knives and forks, brooches and rings, while exchanging a sly private glance of satisfaction with Gillani at the remarkable success of their joint endeavour.

These jovial fellows are John Martin, a dealer in ephemera, and George Jeffery, a bookseller – two independent traders sharing one stall. “Transitory written and printed material not intended to be retained,” was the sagacious John Martin’s modest description of  the charismatic ephemera he has dealt in for the past thirty years. While George Jeffery revealed himself as a noble fourth generation bookseller whose great-grandfather George moved the business from the Caledonian Rd to Clerkenwell in 1911, where he (George IV) traded from his famous barrow in the Farringdon Rd until 1995.

Photographs copyright © Jeremy Freedman

One Response leave one →
  1. Lotty McCallum permalink
    August 20, 2010

    This Blog is truly extraordinary. I got directed to it by a friend and I’m hooked! I wish you the best of luck on the most ambitious of projects. I look forward to reading your 10000th post in years to come.
    These market characters are described and photographed so beautifully,
    I particularly love how the photographs of these colourful traders and their stories are so intertwined.


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