Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we have managed to source some amazing footage of our old showroom on Westbourne Grove in London's Notting Hill Gate. The footage came via the BBC's 'On This Day 1963' programme. Canonbury Antiques operated out of this showroom from the early 1980s through to the early 2000s. At the time Westbourne Grove was a very important street for antique dealers until the business started to largely move online and sellers moved on, often to bigger premises as was the case with our own story. Also Westbourne Grove became one of London's trendiest streets and it was a better option for the dealers to rent their shops out as high end boutiques or restaurants.
We purchased 174 Westbourne Grove from an American called George Knapp who came over to London in the late 50s as a retired New York wholesale fruit and veg merchant. He then moved into antiques and vintage dealing, selling and exporting goods to the United States using the Westbourne Grove premises as his base. Knapp was an important figure in pioneering the wholesale export of antiques to the United States which really flourished from the 1970s onwards. At this time - and still today - the market for English antiques in the United States is big. This change in the industry was also facilitated by the arrival of container technology which made it easier, cheaper and safer to export 20 and 40 foot containers from the UK to the US.
(Above photo - Fancy a piano? 1963 footage of George Knapp inside 174 Westbourne Grove, W11 prior to selling the showroom to Canonbury Antiques )
Canonbury Antiques Director, Martin Worster Snr said: "He opened up in London as a wholesale antique dealer. Every Friday morning he would turn up at Bermondsey market where myself and my old business partner Derek Jones had a stall at 6am. This is where we first met George, who purchased at least half of the stall holders antiques and wears."
The footage is amazing as we watch George Knapp talk through some of his purchases as he gives a tour through the showroom. Perhaps my only grumble about the footage is the BBC blurb which reads 'Tonight spoke to 'antique' dealer, George Knapp, about America's insatiable demand for British rubbish.' The show's title also reads "Britain: The greatest exporters of junk in the world". I do take objection to these pieces being described as 'junk' and 'rubbish'!
(Above photo - 174 Westbourne Grove in 1963 )
Our time on Westbourne Grove, W11 holds many memories for us so it was thrilling to find this footage which takes the story even further back to the early 1960s. It's been quite a journey since then as the world and the business has changed immeasurably, who knows how the business will evolve in the next fifty years?
(Above photo - London's Notting Hill - probably not so trendy in 1963 )
Antique Memories - Westbourne Grove, W11. Plus Special Relationship II
Westbourne Grove, W11 - Antique Memories
Canonbury Antiques - It's All In The Name
History of the Victorian Parlour - Canonbury Antiques
Caledonian Market - Canonbury Antiques Roots and Londons Lost Market
Lovejoy Visits Canonbury Antiques (..okay in 1992)
Proper Gaff - Danny Dyer Visits Canonbury Antiques for Celebrity Antiques Road Trip
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