Albert Road has a vibe all of its own and describing it as an earthy, urban stretch is just the start. From quirky coffee shops to hair studios that keep their location a secret, lots of fun can be had here. My Interior Trail starts again at the top of the road, in Tango Tea. Talking to Jenni you begin to understand that this place was the beginning of all the eclectic shops we see around this area. Coming from Lancashire, Jenni said she was always one for not following the crowd and had her own style from a very young age.
Listening to Jenni’s stories was lovely and Tango Tea has been here for 44 years! In that time, Jenni has built a reputation for acquiring interesting interior pieces and originally had a tendency towards Art Deco. She said that people used to ask her why she had so many various things in her shop? But she used to look around and realise her shop was always busy and she had built up an iconic reputation for mixing styles. Actually, that’s how I would describe Jenni – iconic! A much-loved treasure. I feel like I need to go back and hear more wonderful stories from her, but I will save that for another day. Pieces I found particularly interesting were a chrome and black desk lamp that was £45.00 as well as another mirror, a bargain for £22.00!
Standing proudly on the corner is The Bureau of Change The shop window alone is enough to draw you in with very rare, original lighting that has a “wow” factor you would not believe. It’s hard for me not to buy everything! Bespoke pieces like the zinc tables give it has an industrial edge but very on trend and slightly softened by the unusual plants on offer from Rose Clover. This is a regular haunt for me and I enjoy popping in to see what new stock has arrived. My favourite thing was a plant called a Dracaena Charley that was £50.00 and I had to buy it. I adored the colour and it sits happily in my living room. I also loved some lighting that the owner Neil showed me and if I had space at home, I would have bought it there and then.
Staying on this side of the road I moved down to Parmiters. Celebrating its 30th year in business last year, this shop tucked away near the Kings Theatre holds a lot of drama. Everything has visual appeal in here from fairground and circus items to advertising objects, architectural gems, art and sculpture as well as more traditional and classic pieces. Talking to Sue the co-owner of the shop was so interesting. A chair had recently been brought in and we spent time talking about this being a cockfighting chair. Sue demonstrated how it would have been used and I was just fascinated by the history and her knowledge. Having a wonderful antique feel, this shop is like an old classic armchair that has aged beautifully and is just part of the establishment; never changing and always admirable. My favourite thing was obviously the cockfighting chair as it was very old with such a masculine feel to it and plenty of history.
Next on the trail is Southscene, a shop where you just have to pop in to see what bargain has arrived. The last time I went in here there were some really lovely cinema seats but they had gone this time, nothing stays for long! Kate who owns Southscene is very easygoing and is at the heart of what Albert Road is all about. She oozes community spirit and buys so many interesting pieces.
Southscene has traders that rent space in here, so I think there are about 3 or 4 in total. I particularly like Kate’s stock as she has my kind of style, eclectic and mixing industrial with old and new. One sideboard (which was 17th century) stood next to an ornate mirror. I asked Kate what is the one piece she would want to keep for herself and she said, “The house that fits that mirror”, referring to the biggest mirror I have seen in a long time! I saw a metal star in here that I wanted for my garden wall. It was £20.00, a bargain and I carried it all the way home after my trail of course!
Langfords Antiques next, further down the road, and it was lovely to catch up with Kathy. Having spent many years watching her parents run this place she now works there with her mum. It’s the kind of shop where you go in as a customer and come out a friend. Kathy has a warm approach and a real love for the antiques that surround her. The one thing she gets asked at least twice a week is how much the big mirror is on the way to the upstairs part of the shop and then in big letters, it says not for sale! That’s the piece that I loved out of everything I saw too (and I’m starting to see a trend with me and mirrors).
Crossing the road, you’ll reach Bellamy’s owned by Debbie. This interior shop also sells jewellery and is named after Debbie’s grandmother. It feels very classy with a French-style interior. Holding a lot of outside garden items as well as beautiful vintage french linen you see a real quality in the unusual items Debbie likes to have in the shop. I fell in love with some angel wings priced at £95.00 that I felt would sit beautifully in my home.
Carrying on down Albert Road a new shop has recently opened called the Pallet Project. Just the front of this place tells you how bespoke it is. Inside you see all the furniture is made using pallets if the name wasn’t a giveaway. Having been sanded, oiled and then waxed it gives a smooth texture and the finish looks very nice. The idea is also to offer a service for wedding hire, so if you are thinking of getting married and you like the vintage industrial look you might want to pop in. From wall cladding to small side tables, there is a great choice of products in here.
My last stop was the Just For You Emporium. If you love finding that quirky little mid-century teapot, then this place is for you. A whole mish-mash of vintage finds in plenty of different styles!
The final part of my trail sees me catching up with the interior influencers we’re lucky enough to have in Portsmouth. Check back soon and follow Southseafolk on social media for updates!
By Louise O’Brien