Secret East End shops

Time Out goes off the East End’s beaten track to find a world of secret shops and brilliant bargains

  • Secret East End shops

    Umit & Son

  • Umit

    BEST FOR FILM BUFFSAnyone who has even a passing interest in films and hasn’t discovered this strange little shop should do so immediately. The posters scribbled in the windows should give some idea of the bias of the ‘completely film-nuts’ owner, Umit Mesut, with customers warned ‘THIS IS SUPER 8, NOT VIDEO OR DVD RUBBISH’ and ‘SUPER 8 IS SILVER, DIGITAL IS RUST!’ Inside, walls are stacked high with Super 8 and Super 16 reels, a mix of old, classic, cult and blockbusters like original Bond films or ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Vamp’. You can buy collectors’ projectors, cameras and the films themselves – ranging in price from £50 to £1,000-plus. If you fancy hosting a private screening of an old favourite, Umit will come round with a cine film projector and screen for an incredibly reasonable £150 all-in – have it anywhere from your garden to a local hall. He can also transfer films between almost any media. And it sells Wagon Wheels, Chewits and fags. Best buy Home screening, £150. 35 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 (020 8985 1766) Hackney Central rail. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm.

    Burberry Factory Shop

    It’s not a secret to the Japanese fashion fiends who make the pilgrimage here in their droves, but this outlet is an undiscovered gem to many Londoners. Perhaps deepest Hackney seems an unlikely location for the manufacturer of some of Britain’s finest-quality garb – but sure enough, the orderly rails of this well turned-out sale shop include cashmere sweaters, classic check shirting, cheap T-shirts, accessories and even the sought-after Burberry mac. Flawless garments sell for about 50 per cent of the RRP, while imperfect pieces can go very cheaply. Plus, you have the added justification factor of buying a British brand. Best buy Women’s mac, from £229. 29-53 Chatham Place, E9 (020 8328 4287) Hackney Central rail. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

    Carhartt Warehouse Outlet

    Why pay £60 for a pair of jeans when you can pay £20? This outlet shop has been tacked onto work-cum-streetwear label Carhartt’s big Hackney warehouse, and offers at least 40 per cent off all RRPs. In addition, there are often multibuys to further cheapen your load. Perfect for the reluctant male shopper – go in, get a load of hardwearing jeans and tees, and you can avoid the high street for the rest of the year.Best buy Three T-shirts for £20.18 Ellingfort Road, E8 (020 8986 8875). Hackney Central rail or Bethnal Green tube. Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12noon-5pm.

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    Penny Fielding

    Penny Fielding

    BEST FOR GIFTSIf this gifts and interiors emporium were not in Walthamstow Village, it probably wouldn’t have the luxury of a whopping great garden, complete with a fig tree heaving with fruit. That’s not the only treasure to be found, though, as this local favourite is constantly replenished with new stocks of vintage clothes and armoires, independent designers and quirky cards and gifts, to accommodate its very regular customers. Be sure to find out when the next craft fair is – these are held in the garden and are great for stocking up on desirable home accessories from London designers.Best buy Designers Guild compact wallet, £32.34 Orford Rd, Walthamstow Village, E17 (020 8509 0039/ Walthamstow tube. Open Tue, Wed 10am-7.30pm; Thur 10am-9pm; Fri, Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 12noon-6pm.

    USA Nails

    BEST FOR BUDGET BEAUTYThe primary resource for the many nail-art specialists in the area, this Vietnamese beauty wholesaler is also happy to sell its mega-cheap professional-standard nail supplies to the public. The range of varnishes is astonishing, but it’s also a great place to pick up specialist equipment for DIY pedicures (like those miraculous electric sanders the pros use) and bumper stocks of creams, nail art and polish remover.Best buy Misa nail varnish, £2.235 Mare St, E8 (020 8985 6888) Hackney Central rail. Open Mon-Sun 11am-9pm.


    The junction end of Mare Street, an axis of unappealing dirty streets and petrol stations, might not be the first place you’d look for a specialist diving emporium, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in Collins & Chambers. It has been providing the people of Hackney and beyond with underwater swimming, snorkelling and diving equipment and breathing apparatus for around 45 years.Best buy Mask and snorkel, £15.99.197-201 Mare St, E8 (020 8985 0752) Bethnal Green tube. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 9.30am-5pm

    Lock 7

    This recently opened café-cum-cycle repairer’s-cum-bike shop is going down unsurprisingly well with Broadway Market’s two-wheeled community. Have a cake overlooking the canal, buy a handsome vintage seat (£30) for your bike and wait for it to be returned to you from the walk-in clinic. If you are trying out cycling for the first time, you can come here to hire a bike for the day or week, from £10. Should you decide to buy one, there is a selection of cheap second-hand bikes from police auctions – restored and returned to the road. Best buy Second-hand shopper, £50.129 Pritchards Rd, E2 (07515 360 721/ London Fields rail. Café and shop open Tue-Sun 8am-6pm. Walk-in repair clinic open Tue-Sun 8am-10am and 4-6pm.

    Kate Sheridan

    While it’s taken Topshop and Urban Outfitters a while to discover Kate Sheridan’s quirky and cute bag designs – featuring fabrics strewn with little birds, wolves and other wildlife, Hackney locals have known about her for years. Come to Broadway Market and Kate will be somewhere near the Film Shop, pedalling her stylish wares for a shade less than you’ll pay for them from the high street big boys. Her full collection is only available here. That means wallets, shoppers, nifty handbags and even baby-changing bags. Best buy Wolf-print beach bag, £25.Broadway Market E8 (020 8533 0252/ Hackney Central or London Fields rail. Open Sat 9am-4pm.

    One Deko

    Wanstead resident Noel McManus set up this slick and quirky homewares shop here and in Spitalfields, catering for the trendy types that reside in both areas. The Wanstead flagship has a particularly neat range of gadgets, gifts and furniture from the likes of Suck UK. Great design is the cornerstone of the buying philosophy– whether that means a clever bike-storage lock, bottle opener or an iconic Philippe Starck piece. Best buy Stag-head jewellery holder, £9.25.151 High St, Wanstead E11 (020 8989 3377/ Wanstead tube. Open Tues-Sat 10.30-6pm, Sun 10.30am-5pm.

    The Handweaver’s Studio

    This capacious haberdashery is in the secret address book of many a fashion student and designer. It stocks a wide range of powder and liquid dyes as well as fibres, fleece, yarns and specialist spinning and weaving equipment. Refreshingly for a supplier with a range as wide as this, there is no minimum order. If you’re a novice with an interest in learning how to weave or fabric dye, the reasonably priced courses held here come highly recommended.Best buy Pieces for felt-making, £50.29 Haroldstone Rd, E17 (020 8 521 2281) Blackhorse Rd tube. Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm.

    EW Moore and Sons

    BEST FOR UNIQUE HOME DECORThis family-run business has been in operation since 1906, and is a staple for interior designers and set builders. It stocks a large range of very small runs of vintage wallpapers and wallcoverings from the ’60s to the ’80s, allowing you to decorate your home in a truly individual style. Its wallpapers have even been used on ‘Changing Rooms’ – but don’t let that put you off. Wallcoverings vary in size and they deliver worldwide. Best buy Floral vintage wallcovering, £12.99.39-43 Plashnet Grove, Upton Park, E6 (020 8471 9392/ Upton Park tube. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.

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    The Who Shop

    The Who Shop

    BEST FOR WHOVIANSProgram your tardis to E6, 2008, and arrive at the immensely daft and terrifically good fun Who Shop. If there is a piece of ‘Doctor Who’ merchandise out there, then this place stocks it – be that a laser-etched Tom Baker, a Dalek webcam, or an autographed photo of Damaris Hayman. Run by Who fanatics, the shop regularly hosts signings and audiences with old stars of the show – although David Tennant has not yet graced the premises with an appearance. If you’re in the area in July 19, you will have the honour of meeting Gilly Brown who played Ohica in ‘Brain of Morbius’). Not an opportunity to be missed. Best buy Dalek car freshener, £5.994 Station Parade, High St North, East Ham, E6 (020 8471 2356/ East Ham tube. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm.


    BEST FOR ARTS AND CRAFTSThis arts-and-crafts emporium is no secret to any of the legion of graffiti artists, graphic designers, fashion students and illustrators who live locally – but tucked out of the way down a Whitechapel side street, it can prove frustratingly difficult to locate for the uninitiated. But it’s worth the effort – inside it’s so full of tubes of paint, stretched canvases, sheets of card, spray cans and various types of sticky stuff, it would be enough to give Neil Buchanan an art attack just looking at it. Try it yourself. Best buy Chardi rag paper sketch book, £5.7-9 Plumbers Row, E1 (020 7377 8855/ Aldgate East tube. Open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm.

    The East End Thrift Store

    Second-hand shopping the way it should be – cheap (less than £10 a pop), well-organised (orderly, colour coordinated rails) and regularly injected with new stock. The East End Thrift Store is a bit off the beaten track, but you should make the pilgrimage because the fantastic, good-value selection beats its more-conveniently located rivals hands down. Students get a 10 per cent discount and regular customers are rewarded with highly sought-after invites to the shop’s bi-monthly shindigs.Best buy Tailored flannel shirt, £10.Unit 1a, Waterman’s Building, Assembly Passage, E1 (off Mile End Rd) (020 7423 9700/ Whitechapel tube. Open Mon-Sun 11am-6pm.

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