Lancashire antique dealers with London connections have breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that a planning application, which could have destroyed the Portobello Road antique scene, has been overturned.
For those travelling to London from Lancashire, the Victorian dining chairs and antique chests of Portobello Market are a major attraction. Officially the world’s largest antique market, it has become an institution, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is one of the top listed “must sees” in the London Tourist Guide, and there are even walking tours led by tour guides.
All this was threatened last year, when a planning application was submitted to allow seven-day trading in one of the market’s premiere arcades. Previously, trading only took place on Fridays and Saturdays, keeping rents low and allowing traders to buy and renovate furniture before putting it on sale.
As in Cumbria, the antique desks and Victorian dining chairs in London dealerships are often purchased from auctions and private sellers’ homes. Seven-day trading would not only have pushed rents sky high, it would also have prevented dealers from collecting new stock, pushing them out of business. When a similar thing happened at a neighbouring arcade, it ended up as a modern fashion store. Although the arcade owner denies he is trying to squeeze out the antique traders, this is what Portobello Antique Dealers’ Association suspect was about to happen. Luckily, the council saw the sense in protecting one of London’s best-loved landmarks, and dictated trading must remain as before.
If you’re looking for Victorian dining chairs in Lancashire, the leading antiques centre in the north can be found at Preston – and the antique chests are free from threat by developers.
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