Think you know a whole bunch of stuff about Portobello Road? With a vintage shop and stall slap bang in the middle of it, we thought we did. At the stall every Friday (just past the Westway flyover) and in the shop on a Saturday (Admiral Vernon, Unit 42 -141 Portobello Road), we don’t so much soak up the market vibe but suck it in. It’s an energy that becomes addictive, particularly if you’re unhealthily into all things vintage-and-wearable like us. But it’s only when you actually do a bit of digging that you uncover that little bit extra about undercover Portobello. So, here, dear Reader, I present a selection of random trivia that you most likely never knew Britiain’s most famous market.
1. If you go down to Portobello Road, you’re sure of a big surprise. But it won’t be ‘every bear that ever there was’ but one named Paddington. The iconic children’s book character Paddington Bear frequents the market in Michael Bond’s books and in the 2014 film. Of course, that’s Portobello by way of darkest Peru.
2. The Electric Cinema, that landmark building situated in Portobello, was besieged by an angry mob during World War I who thought its German-born manager was signalling to Zeppelin pilots from the roof, after nearby Arundel Gardens was bombed.
3. Remember that 1999 rom-com Notting Hill? The song playing when Hugh Grant walks down Portobello Road is “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.
4. ‘Best time to visit the market? Ask an insider like us! About 10am on either a Friday or Saturday. You can have a gentle stroll around before the crowds really gather. You will still catch that essential Portobello buzz but with a little less hassle.
5. If you find a copy of the Spells of Astoroth, keep hold of it. It’s the elusive book the children, Miss Eglantine Price and Professor Emelius Brown are searching for in Portobello Road in the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Magic.
Got any questions about the market? Ask a friendly vintage seller like us! We’re specialists in wearable, individual vintage pieces and know the area inside out. We’re massive Portobello Market fans and love the inspiration it gives us every Friday at our stall and Saturday in our shop (Admiral Vernon, Unit 42 -141 Portobello Road). You can also come and see us on September 13 at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair.