By Laura Kipnis and Alistair StewartThe UK’s leading museum and antiquities expert has revealed what it’s like to visit an antique mall in London.
Antique shopping and shopping centres are no longer the exclusive preserve of the rich and famous, and they have now become popular in more affordable suburbs and towns across the UK.
Antiques are not just for the rich or famous, but for anyone and everyone, according to Dr John Hatton, curator of the Museum of the British Empire in Westminster, which has just opened in London’s Old Town.
“We have an interesting situation with the big chains, we have an odd situation where we have the big shops and big malls and the big stores, the big supermarkets, and the large department stores,” Dr Hatton said.
“I think it’s a bit of a contradiction.
The big retailers have gone to a lot of trouble and money to maintain their properties, while the other chains, the small shops, are just starting to open.”
So we’re not really seeing that much of a difference between them.
They’re all going through the same cycle.
They’ve got their warehouses, they’ve got the facilities, they’re still selling goods and services, but they’ve also got to keep their buildings, their stores open and that’s where they are struggling.
“Dr Hatton told the BBC that the British Museum, with its new galleries and galleries of works of art and artifacts, has been the main attraction at the new mall.”
It’s an amazing place.
Antique shops are now opening up on a regular basis at the Royal Oak Shopping Centre, in London, and an adjacent mall in Cheltenham, south London.”
The best way to describe it is that you could walk in there and see the whole exhibition and be able to walk out again.”
Antique shops are now opening up on a regular basis at the Royal Oak Shopping Centre, in London, and an adjacent mall in Cheltenham, south London.
Dr Hatto said that he and his colleagues at the Museum had noticed that the big retail chains were starting to close and they were seeing more small, independent stores and cafes.
“The big chains are having a bit more trouble, and there’s a big opportunity for people to go and buy items for themselves and their families and that is starting to happen,” he added.
“And of course there are a lot more small businesses in the city centre that have started to open up.”
Dr John Hatto is an expert on the British empire and the world’s museums and is the author of a book on the subject, Antique: An Illustrated History.
He has been a museum curator since 1995 and is one of the world-renowned experts on British imperial history and archaeology.
The BBC’s Laura Kipsley visited the Royal Oaks Mall in London and heard from the manager of the new shop, and spoke to shoppers about their shopping habits and memories.