Ye olde shoppes

Apothecaries now! …and butchers, chandlers and brolly-makers. London abounds with historic shops. In this extract from their new book, Sally Venables and Steve Williams scour the city streets for ancient emporiums

  • AJ Kennedy’s

    Kennedy’s in Deptford is part of a chain that has been selling meat and provisions in shops all over south-east London since 1877. Its Peckham Rye shop has now closed, but branches in Camberwell, Walworth, Herne Hill, Bromley and this one in Deptford have survived. William Hogan, who is the owner of three Kennedy’s shops, proudly states, ‘This is the oldest shop left on Deptford High Street.’ Similar to other butchers, the walls are covered in cream tiles with green borders and mirrors and pictures displayed randomly. A large counter dominates, behind which marble surfaces and wooden shelves are stacked high with tins of pease pudding and baked beans. A south London institution.AJ Kennedy’s, 64-66 Deptford High St, SE8 (020 8692 2384) New Cross tube/rail.

    Arthur Beale

    Arthur Beale

    Absolute heaven for maritime aficionados, Arthur Beale established this yacht chandler 110 years ago. With ropes, bells and buoys alongside shackles and bolts of every description, the shop supplies all boating essentials, despite its location, miles from the sea, at the top of Neal Street. Down in the basement, a small workshop manufactures the rigging on-site. Arthur Beale prides itself on being a specialist shop, and the staff have extensive knowledge of all their wares. Arthur Beale, 194 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2 (020 7836 9034) Tottenham Court Rd tube.



    Bates began supplying hats and caps to discerning gentlemen in 1902 from a shop further down Jermyn Street. It moved to its current location in the 1920s, converting the foyer of the hotel that still exists next door. Throughout the war years, Bates supplied trenchcoats and military hats to the army, using the basement rooms as workshops. The business was handed down through the family until the last Bates passed away some 20 years ago and the shop was left to his friend, present owner Timothy Boucher. However Binks – the stray cat who first strolled into the shop in 1921 – is still present, stuffed and displayed in a glass cabinet, sporting a cigar and a jaunty top hat. This is an enchanting shop: rickety and worn with an untouched interior and definitely worth a visit. But don’t expect a bargain, it’s never had a sale in over 100 years.Bates, 21a Jermyn St, SW1 (020 7734 2722) Piccadilly Circus tube.

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