Formerly the county town of Surrey and now part of south west London, Kingston is a shoppers' paradise. Top designer names, high street brands and department stores aplenty. It's little wonder that the main shopping centre, the Bentall Centre, resembles a cathedral for consumerism. But what if you're looking for something a little more retro? I visited Kingston in search of vintage typewriters and wasn't disappointed.
Old London Road is a charming road, with an attractive archway at one end and the famous, iconic red phone boxes at the other which lay across the street like dominoes and are usually being clambered on by tourists for their holiday photos. Next to the phone boxes is a quirky office building in a converted police station called the Kop Shop and the local Freddy Payne funeral directors which can also be found in many surrounding towns. Payne himself lived in the flat above the Kingston shop and it now opens for the annual Heritage Days event and it even has a wonderfully morbid mini museum of funeral ephemera.
So far so good. Half way down Old London Road is Kingston Antiques Centre. A wonderful, sprawling antiques shop that can keep you enthralled for literally hours as you tour the cabinets with displays from over a hundred antiques dealers (according to the shop's website). This place is heaven for lovers of vintage gear, with seemingly endless amounts of antiques to grab your attention. It's exhausting work exploring the brilliant, the bizarre and the beautiful items on display so a coffee break in the charming Polish Cafe on the first floor cafe.
But how was it for a typewriter hunter? The Kingston Antiques Centre certainly didn't disappoint with at least four typewriters out on display (there could well have been more lurking within the cavernous interior). Here's what I found...
If you're heading to Kingston upon Thames, the antiques centre is a recommended must-visit destination!
Kingston Antiques Centre, 29 Old London Road, KT2 6ND