Monday, 19 December 2011

Shops We Love: Alastair Hendy Home Store

We're sharing this with you in the wake of Mary Portas's lament for the Great British High Street.
     Because a few still exist.  And Jo happens to live on one.  In Hastings, on the south coast.  A baker (Jo's own Judges Bakery), a butchery counter - and now, somewhere you can find a candlestick.
     Because on Saturday, one of the most intriguing new (for which read: old) shops that we've ever delightedly stumbled across opened on Hastings High Street:  Alastair Hendy's Home Store, from the self-taught cook/photographer/author.  
     It's unlike anywhere we've ever shopped.  Like stepping back in time - because inch-by-inch, Alastair has spent three years up a ladder restoring the shop to what seems like Victorian glory.  (The sales staff even wear long aprons and black weskits.)  Except there are discreet bar codes and an electronic till, hidden in the mahogany counter.  
     You'll find vintage fire buckets.  And pinking shears.  Cosy woolly bedsocks (see above).  Churchy beeswax candles.  And just about every type of brush (er, except for hair) to satisfy anyone's inner Howard Hughes.  There are shiny reclaimed desks, and Mason jars, and that wonderful green 40s china your auntie used to serve you a Rich Tea biscuit on.  And if you needed an ounce of nails, Alastair's probably got one somewhere.  
     We haven't had a glimpse of the bathroom section yet - he's opening it room by room - but at a guess, we'd imagine:  linen towels, old-fashioned bath salt cubes, backbrushes...  Maybe those wonderful bath-racks, with built-in candlesticks.  (Well, a beauty editor can dream...)
     So Ms. Portas, get yourself an Awayday to Hastings fast.  
     Because truly, there's life in the high street yet...

A.G. Hendy & Co. Home Store, 36 High Street, Hastings Old Town, TN34 3ER (no doubt there'll be a proper website, in due course)