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Portobello Market

Portobello Market

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>The Portobello Market is one of the most famous markets in the world. It is actually many markets combined into one giant market selling bric-a-brac, second hand goods, vintage clothing & accessories, antiques as well as new items mixed in with fruits and vegetables.  Perhaps the crown jewel of the Portobello Market is the antiques section which is squeezed into a half mile of the Portobello Road near the Notting Hill Tube station. It may not sound like much, but believe me, there are enough shops and stands crammed into this vibrant section of the market to make one dizzy! The area is heaving with crowds on the weekend and it’s easy to get washed away with the tide of people working their way down the street and to miss the fabulous antiques galleries that line the road.

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And while today it’s like Grand Central Station, Portobello Road was once just a country path leading from the Kensington Gravel Pits in what is now known as Notting Hill Gate, up to Kensal Green in the north.  In 1740, Portobello Farm was built nearby. The farm got its name from a town in Panama called Puerto Bello, because during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, Admiral Edward Vernon captured this town. Prior to 1850, the path near Portobello Farm was surrounded by nothing more than fields and orchards. But in the second half of the nineteenth century, Portobello Road began to take shape.  Shops and food markets started popping up to serve the wealthy dwellers of the crescents. As it developed over the next hundred years, other items were offered along this stretch of road and by the mid-twentieth century, antiques shops and stalls became the main-stay.

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Today, every Saturday morning hundreds of dealers open their shops and set up their stands to reveal a diverse display of vintage treasures. While it’s best to arrive at some markets just after dawn, Portobello is a bit different.  There’s no need to beat the sunrise because many dealers won’t be set up that early. Get there around 8:30 a.m. and most vendors will be ready. You’ll want to get your bearings and hit the stalls you know you want to shop first thing to avoid shoulder-to-shoulder crowds which tend to begin forming around 11:30 a.m. One thing is for sure— you don’t want to arrive too late because the market starts to close down at 4:00 p.m.

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While there are dealers that offer furniture and other large items, Portobello Market is the ideal place to search for smalls, tabletop pieces, and what I like to call “perfectly packables” — little treasures that fit nicely in your suitcase. From glass & crystal to silver and brass, there are certainly deals to be had. This market is also a great place to pick up antique books, lighting, small statues, and linens. Second hand and vintage clothing also abound. Shoes, handbags, jewelry and vintage garments line the walls of several shops, allowing you to purchase a piece of the past.

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It certainly can help to have someone who knows the lay of the land and can ask for trade discounts. That’s where we come in!  Our Antiques Diva Guide Alys Dobbie loves taking clients through this jam-packed market, helping them find the perfect pieces.

If you would like to book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email to:info@antiquesdiva.com”>info@antiquesdiva.com.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®

 

Meet Alys Dobbie, Our New Diva Guide

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Meet our newest Antiques Diva Guide, Alys Dobbie – she’s an antique and vintage dealer, wearer and endorser as well as being the newest Diva on our team, leading tours in London at the Portobello Flea Market! She has been in the antiques trade for the last 11 years, getting her start selling in the markets of London and working her way up to owning 2 shops and becoming owner of “Vintage Shop of the Year 2012” and “A Judges Choice Young Gun 2013.”  She’s 30 years old and has a wide spectrum of knowledge with a specialty in Mid-Century Modern design.  In addition to being a dealer and antiques tour guide Alys also restores furniture and we will be featuring Alys’ restoration tips on our blog in the coming months.

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Meet Your London Portobello Guide – Alys Dobbie

Antiques Diva: Which Tours do you lead?

Alys: I currently run one-day tours in Portobello and Notting Hill but will be working on the East Sussex and Brighton tours too alongside our Antiques Diva UK agent, Gail McLeod.

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Antiques Diva: What do you like about your job?

Alys: I love meeting new people and finding out their individual tastes and requests. Having a good relationship with dealers is essential in being a Diva and I love having a rapport with the characters of the industry!

Antiques Diva:  What do you consider your specialty in helping clients?

Alys: I have a good knowledge of Mid-Century design and artefacts so I’ll be able to help anyone seeking the vintage look. I also have a degree in furniture restoration so I know to look for repairs or damage and can give advice on polishing and restorations.  I love helping clients find what they want – the cherry on the cake is always when you find the speciality item they’ve been looking for.

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Antiques Diva:  Where did you grow up?

Alys: I grew up in Tunbridge Wells in Kent – my dad and I used to hit the boot fairs every sunday when I was a kid to seek out bargains. I used to buy clothes and sell them to the designer boutiques in town for pocket money.

Antiques Diva:  What do you do when you’re not working? Hobbies? Interests?

Alys:  When I’m not working I’m usually still working. I love buying items for my shop so will drag my boyfriend (er Fiance! Ms Dobbie is getting married!!) around antique centres (he secretly loves it too). I also make my own wine and sloe gin. My favourite part of the day is taking my Border Terrier dog Fred for a walk on Brighton beach, where I live now.

Antiques Diva: Favorite spot to vacation?

Alys: I went to the States last year and absolutely loved it. My dream holiday would to be to drive around the Deep South, checking out thrift and antique stores whilst eating some good BBQ. I have a soft spot for Granada in Spain. The tapas are to die for.

Antiques Diva: Do you have a favorite museum of work of art that inspires you?

Alys: The Tate Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall is my favourite gallery in England. The building itself is spectacular and conjures up memories of long summer holidays with my dad. The whole village is full of artists – both up and coming and established. The Barbara Hepworth gardens are also fantastic.

Antiques Diva: Give me 5 words that describe your personality?

Alys: Quirky, Dry, Organised, Confident, Thoughtful

To follow Alys’ Adventures check out her store as well as Facebook site and Twitter.

To book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London email to:info@antiquesdiva.com” target=”_blank”>info@antiquesdiva.com.

Cheers!
The Antiques Diva ®

Announcing our new Antiques Diva Portobello Market Tours!

Dear Diva Readers,

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top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>I‘m so excited to announce that The Antiques Diva & Co will now be offering tours of the Portobello Flea Market in London!  We’ve just finished mapping out our tour with new Diva Guide Alys Dobbie (watch this space for an upcoming blog all about Alys).  Alys has been in the antique industry for over 11 years and brings her knowledge of the London markets to lucky Antiques Diva & Co clients, taking them hand in white glove hand through London’s most popular flea market.

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The Portobello Road Market calls itself “the world’s largest antiques market” with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of vintage and collectible item imaginable.   It’s a bustling street in Notting Hill full of shoppers hunting for the perfect treasure.  Composed of street vendors and shops, there is a wide variety of items available.

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At The AD&Co we love the market for the vintage clothing options as well as purses and shoes.  From Versace to lesser known designers, there are many pieces to choose from.  And speaking of fashion, the jewelry options are amazing at Portobello!  If I’ve found one piece of jewelry I’ve wanted I’ve found a thousand!

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On Portobello Road there is definitely a “thrill of the hunt” feel when scouring through cabinet after cabinet, looking for just the right piece.  You’ll find a wide range of silver, silver plate, pewter, and brass merchandise available.  Antique china and tea cups are in abundance and the prices are phenomenal!

Portobello is the place to find a deal on vintage finds.  While the occasional high brow antiques mix in with the bric-a-brac this is a market to come to if you’re looking for unique small pieces for your home.  Here you’ll find those perfectly packables that fit in your suitcase, commemorating your trip abroad.

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We believe antiques and vintage finds should be used in every room in your house and when you buy antiques while traveling abroad these pieces replace the proverbial t-shirt as your travel souvenirs.  One of our recent Portobello finds is this onyx lidded jar.   It’s going home with our client to hold cotton balls in the powder room or to be used as a stamp container on their desk.  Priced at 18GBP it’s a great example of these perfectly packable travel souvenirs found at Portobello that allow you to take a piece of London home.  Each time you see it you’ll remember that day you spent shopping with The Antiques Diva & Co in London’s most beloved market.

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Our Diva Guide Alys knows what different vendors specialize in, so before arriving the market you tell her what makes you tick and she’ll custom plan a route that guides you through the hoards of people (the crowds are unbelievable) to find just what you’re looking for! Having someone who knows the lay of the land really does help it seem not so overwhelming when navigating these crowds!  Moreover – because Alys is a member of the antiques trade – she’ll ask for a trade discount to help you score better prices than you could on your own.

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While Portobello Road is known as a tourist’s haven there are some true gems to be found hidden in the halls if you know where to go to avoid the reproductions and tourist tack.  Not only does Alys know these secret sources she also knows where to get away from the crowds to shop nearby areas off the tourist path.  And when your bellies start rumbling she can whiz you away from the crowds to get a quintessentially English meal at a nearby pub.  Steak and ale pie?  It’s just what this diva needed to refuel after my last Portobello Road shopping trip!

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To book a Portobello Flea Market Tour in London, email to:info@antiquesdiva.com” target=”_blank”>info@antiquesdiva.com.

Best day to book a Portobello Road tour is Saturday!  Though we also offer special vintage fashion tours in London Wednesday through Friday!

Let the shopping commence!

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva ®

PS:  To book an Antiques Diva Tour or inquire about our Buying Services so you can source antiques abroad virtually, email to:info@antiquesdiva.com”>info@antiquesdiva.com

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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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