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My husband and I recently enjoyed a long weekend in London. I know, I know, it's a long way to go for a weekend. But London feeds my design-loving Anglophilic soul like no other city — plus the trip was our combined wedding anniversary and Christmas prezzie. One of our favourite London destinations is the Saturday morning antique market at Portobello Road.

If you're up for fighting the throng of people who flock there, I highly recommend a visit. With several multi-dealer arcades and hundreds of street vendors, the 3 km stretch of road is a trove of vintage finds. I'm pleased to share some favourites.

This vendor's collection of old crockery was just gorgeous. Imagine that simple household products like beverages, creams and medicines were once all sold in these types of containers. Amazing. And the prices were very reasonable. Most were between two and 30 pounds.

I bought the wonderful old striped piece at the centre of this photo, but am sad to report it was broken during the journey home. At least I have the photo and a couple of other gems from this booth.

I love the graphics — especially the Boots Chemists logo — on these little jars of pastes, perfumes and candies. These would be great for storing little bits in an office or bathroom.

Wonderful colours! An instant collection.

These miniature portraits are a rare sight at antique markets in Canada, but here was a whole booth of them. Exquisite. They appeal to the eternal Jane Austen fan in me. Someday I would like to start a small collection.

A feast for my silver-loving eyes. I bought a set of six silver-plate knives from this vendor — perfect to mix with the forks I purchased at Bermondsey Antique Market on my last London trip.

Mantiques. So Downton Abbey! Are you watching Downton? If so, come back and let's talk about it on another blog post.

Whenever I travel, I like to imagine myself living in the city. I think this charming pink terraced house right on Portobello Road would suit me just fine.

A note about antique market etiquette: If you'd like to take photos of a vendor's wares or booth, ask permission first. Better yet, buy something first. The traders are there to make a living and a purchase is the most tangible gesture of support and appreciation. While Portobello Road Market may be a world-renowned shopping destination, its existence is under threat from landlords who'd much rather rent to rich chain stores than independent antique vendors. If you love independent antiques markets like this, show your support by 'liking' the Save the Portobello Road Market Facebook page.

Photo credits:
1. Analia Mejuto, Save the Portobello Road Market Facebook page
2-9. Margot Austin

Author: 

Margot Austin

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