Croydon. Not the most exciting place in the world.
Sorry, if you live there, but it’s really not. I stayed there over London Fashion Week, because one of it’s prime advantages is it’s cheap and only 15 minutes by train to London Victoria.
I really love it when you find amazing things in unexpected places and that’s what happened at the weekend, when, hidden among the chain restaurants and slightly ropey pubs I found STUFF.
STUFF used to be the huge record store BEANOS, but when it closed in August last year owner David Lashmar began looking for a new use for such an amazing huge space in the busy town centre.
I wandered in off the street early on Sunday morning (11am is early on a Sunday, ok!) and could have easily spent an hour admiring the decor before I even got as far as the stalls.
Every single space is crammed with vintage ephemera and the most random and bizarre objects, from vintage cinema seats on the stairs to car bumpers on the railings.
Even the roof space is nice to look at.
My reward for making it up 3 flights of stairs was a cup of coffee in an adorable retro cafe on the top floor and a cup cake from one of the stall holders, Cakes by Gen.
As I sat and sipped I picked up a few STUFF Croydon postcards. These feature such outstanding architecturally valuable masterpieces as the Croydon Flyover, Nestle Tower and the Croydon Municipal Offices. On the back there is a valuable tick list of reasons to visit Croydon, including:
“Kate Moss came from Croydon and then left, so did Katie Melua and Dane Bowers”
“Croydon is a monument to 1960′s town planning – concrete is cool”
“Croydon is the largest London borough. Everyone knows biggest is always best.”
With reasons like that I’m surprised I could bring myself to leave.
There appeared to be network cables, so I think you could probably rock up with your laptop and work (which I shall remember next time I’m in Croydon and the hotel want to charge me £6 for internet access that doesn’t come with cake)
What you can certainly do is shop, and on the way back down the stairs I admired some hand made brass kaleidoscopes from Roys Kaleidoscopes, adorable kitschy cute vintage style jewellery from Coucou Heart and the BEST chocolates from Indulgence confectionery. I also discovered SH creations on the ground floor, who I’ve been following on Twitter for a while, it’s a small world, etc etc!
Since I’ve come home I’ve received some more information about STUFF. It’s only been open since 29th January and already has a fantastic array or products and services on offer, from fashion to aromatherapy massage. The philosophy of STUFF is keep the products available as eclectic and varied as possible as well as making starting a business easy for those who sell there. Rates are incredibly reasonable and include electricity, security, broadband, and anything else you could need, sellers can just move straight in with their stock.
I shall certainly be popping back in next time I’m in Croydon as I’m excited to see how it evolves.
You can find more more information on stalls and selling at STUFF here