GO RETRO AT SLOGGETT & SON, PLYMOUTH
A few weeks ago, I finally poked my head in to Sloggett & Son on Plymouth’s Union Street. For those who aren’t local, this is an, um, interesting part of town with an, err, interesting past, involving sailors, a long list of shady clubs and more than a few police vans over the years. It’s a colourful history alright; but the street also has some fab old buildings that escaped the heavy World War II bombings and, maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’d love to see it finally shake off its dodgy reputation. If this was London, it would be Spitalfields by now.
Clearly I’m not the only one who’s rooting for the underdog, since there are now one or two interesting-looking shops popping up, like Sloggett & Son. I was drawn to this one because of its small, neat and understated exterior which, ironically leaps out at you amongst the rest of Union Street’s bigger and bolshier-looking buildings.
So anyway, finally I stepped through the door and was transported back in time. I was greeted by the voice of an elderly gentleman out the back who soon emerged and introduced himself as the proprietor’s father. His son, Roland Sloggett was away today and he was holding the fort and would gladly help if he could. It was at this point that I spotted what looked like a spitting image of this man on the wall behind him.
It turns out that the Sloggett family four generations ago once had a pawnbrokers business here when the street was first built back in the 19th century. It seems that being a ‘seller of interesting things’ is in the blood.
Now, the shop is a vintage and retro emporium of carefully and tastefully curated pieces, mainly from the 1920s onwards.
It’s a visual treat and I had a most enjoyable mooch around, lusting after G-plan furniture and Art Deco crockery. The shop has a distinct museum feel about it, which I later learned is probably down to the fact that owner Roland previously worked at Plymouth City Museum. I loved the period pieces in their distinctly contemporary displays.
Unlike some antiques emporiums, the owners have zoned in on a few particular classic styles and really gone for it. That’s not to say that you won’t find anything unusual lurking here, far from it. There is quite an array of collections, from coffee sets to vintage skis, art, old theatre posters and plenty of Ercol.
The shop may look tiny from the outside, but it’s much bigger than you’d expect, extending back into more rooms, so you feel as though you’re wandering about the downstairs of somebody’s rather cool and retro house.
And there are no silly prices, either. I often fall into the trap of coveting a one-off period piece and then wince (sometimes even cry a little) at the price tag, but here everything felt priced to actually sell. If you’re a fan of vintage fairs and retro sales then you’ll find this quite the surprise. Pop in the next time you’re on Union Street (before dark, that is!)
Hurrah for independent family businesses!
Sloggett & Son, 140 Union Street, Plymouth, PL1 3HL. sloggettandson.co.uk