Suzannah is a bespoke British couturier, who creates ready-to-wear and made-to-measure dresses, millinery and shoes for celebrities and younger members of the Royal family.
It is important for us to work where there’s a spirit of CREATIVITY in the air"
We’ve had the New Quebec Street boutique for nearly five years now. Before that, we had another boutique and studio in Little Venice, Maida Vale. We just love the West London vibe, combined with the calm but interesting villagey feel of the area.
We also have our own atelier nearby, which has an ancillary workshop for our womenswear business, both ready-to-wear and bespoke. It was important for us to work in an area alongside other traditional businesses, trades and craftspeople, where there’s a spirit of creativity and inspiration in the air. The area has a wealth of traditional and new enterprises, bringing together a great mix of young professionals, locals and visitors.
The area is constantly changing. And for the better. Newer businesses have sprung up — really cool, good-quality businesses. We’re lucky to have plenty of individual, independent restaurants and eateries here, and the new Zetter Townhouse has certainly added a sophisticated, elegant touch.
Alfie's Antique Market
Alfies Antique Market opened its doors in 1976, in the former Jordan’s department store. Home to over 100 antiques dealers, it’s a treasure trove for the beautiful, the unusual, and the collectable.
WE WANT THE STREET MARKET TO BECOME A CRAFT OR FARMER’S MARKET"
Alfie’s has been here since 1976, before that the building was derelict for quite a while. It used to be a department store called Jordan’s. So it was mostly hosiery and sewing bits and bobs. The building’s Victorian, dating from around 1880.
After Jordan’s closed down, all of Church Street was quite run down, until Bennie Gray opened Alfie’s and he’s brought the area back to life, really. Alfie’s is named after his dad — he was a jazz musician and had something to do with the pearly queens as well. Bennie’s got loads of stories.
Today the antique market houses more than 200 permanent stall holders, spread over five floors. I’d say 60 per cent of the antique dealers have been here 10 to 15 years. A couple have been here since the very beginning and are still going strong. But on the flipside, 30 percent are new dealers, there’s a waiting list and always plenty of enquiries.
Sometimes we give art students the chance to come and showcase their work here — we like to encourage art. Last year, as part of our 40th anniversary, we had the London Glassblowing Company here.
We’ve got development work going on this year and into next — a big face-lift. But we will always do our utmost to stay community based. We want a bit of change to the street market — most of us want it to become more of a craft or farmer’s market, at weekends especially.
Manager of Alfie’s Antique Market.
Perfumer H has been on Crawford Street since 2015, so we’re pretty settled in and feel part of what’s going on around here. Having said that, we were made to feel welcome from Day One.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know the neighbourhood"
It was nice to start with a clean piece of paper, to think about where and who I am. I needed to be able to stop and think. Perfumer H is both a shop and a laboratory — we prefer to call it a ‘playground’ — where our customers can get involved in the process of making scent. We create seasonal editions, scented candles and bespoke perfumes for private clients. We love having a mix of local and international clients who come and see us on a regular basis.
We’ve found there’s a great community of people here from all walks of life and with all kinds of skills and interests. That’s what makes it so interesting and vibrant. We’re in central London, but there’s still a lovely village feel — people are generally friendly, respectful and help each other out when they can.
There are some great places all around, specialist independent shops like the amazing La Fromagerie for cheese; Mouki Mou, which stocks unusual clothes, jewellery and beauty products; and Another Country, a place for beautiful furniture and lighting. They are all run by people who have a real love of what they do, and that makes a big difference.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know the neighbourhood and we hope to be here and contributing to the place for many years to come.
I’M ACTUALLY FAIRLY NEW TO THIS PART OF WEST LONDON."
I’m actually fairly new to this part of West London. I set up my contemporary art gallery here in March this year. So far so good! There were several reasons I chose Church Street for the gallery. The main one was that it’s particularly well suited for an arts or antiques business — there’s a real sense of tradition around here, so you immediately feel part of something. I also think that the diverse nature of the ward offers something new, exciting, unique and of course, the location is nice and central.
There’s a really warm, community feeling in the neighbourhood, especially between fellow traders. I have already had the chance to work with quite a few local artists. Being here does allow for easy relationships. I guess what makes working around here special is feeling part of the overall creative set-up. I’m a young, new talent in the area with a genuine passion for the arts. As the place develops — not just economically but also socially — I hope to evolve and create a positive effect for the area and my gallery.
Westminster Council released a masterplan for Church Street Ward and the planned developments look fantastic. I feel really positive that the changes will galvanise the area further, but there’s always something going on; the inaugural Arts, Antiques and Design Fair on Church Street was held recently and was a huge occasion for local residents and traders. Hopefully we’ll see plenty more of this kind of thing in the future.