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London’s top ten weird shops

Posted at 1:30 pm, October 19, 2013 in Fun London, Secret London, Shopping & Style

1. Doherty & Martin
When troubled crooner Pete Doherty announced he was opening a shop to exclusively sell his personal possessions, ranging from the most intimate (well, his old cigarette butts, anyway) to the potentially collectible (one of his poems in a bottle), the media said he was mad. But two months on and the Camden shop – where you can pick up Pete’s grubby coffee tin for the price of a small house – is still going strong. So who’s laughing now? Oh, right. We are. 429 Stables Market, NW1 8AH.

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2. Get Stuffed
Want a pet but lead a busy life? Pick up a dead one from this jovially named taxidermy emporium. The walls of Get Stuffed are lined with all manner of poor buggers who couldn’t run away fast enough – bears, lions and penguins are all up for grabs. The guy who runs it has taken his obsession with stuffing things too far in the past, though – he was done a few years ago for selling preserved endangered species. But now we’re assured he’s back on the straight and narrow. Stuffing snakes, then. 105 Essex Rd, N1 2SL.

3. Ümit & Son
Piled high with ageing reels of Super 8 and Super 16 film, this Clapton shop is from another time. Owner Ümit Mesut has amassed a collection of more than 2,000 classic films, from ‘Battlestar Galactica’ to ‘King Kong’. Don’t have your own projection kit? Don’t worry: for the sum of £200, Ümit (or his son) will lug a screen to your place for a private screening. Just don’t ask for ‘High School Musical’. 35 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 0NS.

4. Mysteries
Ah, just a straight-down-the-line classic weird shop. Describing itself as ‘the centre for your mind, body and spirit’, Mysteries in Covent Garden is like a new-age Asda, with a legion of celebrity fans including Jarvis Cocker and Patsy Kensit. Pop in to stock up on reiki candles and browse an impressive range of healing crystals. And if there’s still something missing after all that shopping, nip upstairs to have your aura read by a bloke called Paul. Can Asda offer that? We think not. 9-11 Monmouth St, WC2H 9DA.

I London portrait of Barnaby Carder at Barn the Spoon

5. Barn the Spoon
Walk down Hackney Road of an afternoon and you may spot something that’ll make you look twice: a bearded man sitting in the window of a small, bare establishment carefully whittling pieces of wood into spoons. Barn the Spoon, as the shop’s hirsute proprietor is known, has been running the unusual venture since October last year. If only the egg shop (yes, it sold nothing but eggs) were still open on Deptford High Street – the two could have their own races… 260 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ.

Sylvanian Families

6. Sylvanian Families
Few toys have captured the imaginations of children like Sylvanian Families do. But if, for whatever reason (no need to go into it), the cute and fuzzy little woodland critters still have a grip on your heart, this dedicated Sylvanian store in Highbury could be the answer to your (weird) prayers. Just make sure you leave some for the kids, okay?
68 Mountgrove Rd, N5 2LT.

© Ben Rowe

7. The Viking Store
Broken your favourite drinking horn and feeling glum? Cheer up, Sven, this Walthamstow boutique will set you straight. Filled to the brim with all a discerning Viking needs – from boots to dagger scabbards and hefty axes – it’ll have you feeling Norse-ome again in no time. 119 Wood St, E17 3LL.

Blade Rubber Stamps

8. Blade Rubber Stamps
Secretive and misunderstood, London’s rubber imprint community has found sanctuary here in the shadow of the British Museum since 1993. From bespoke ‘specials’ to standard stamps, all tastes are catered for by the discreet staff. Because it’s fine to be really, really into rubber stamps. Totally fine. 12 Bury Place, WC1A 2JL.

9. Atlantis Bookshop
There are times when Waterstones won’t suffice – like when you’re after a guide to putting a hex on the guy who nicks your mug at work. London’s oldest occult bookseller has a selection of tomes on witchcraft and wizardry that would put the Hogwarts library to shame. Shoplifters, beware – you may wake up with a tail in the morning. 49a Museum St, WC1A 1LY.

10. Tjaden Electrical Service Shop 
This is a modern-day Old Curiosity Shop, from its diminutive size to its eccentric contents, which range from ancient vacuum cleaner bags to BBC microphones from the 1930s. The proprietor is an elderly electrician with a passion for wires. Show an interest in cables (he stocks every kind imaginable) and he’ll light up: ‘Aha! An engineer!’ Good luck getting out after that. 62a Chatsworth Rd, E5 0LS. Compiled by Flo Wales Bonner

Discover more London sales and storesRead other London top tens.

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