Stuart Watson outside his antiques shop on Streatham High Road.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

How did you start?

I began by running an auction room in Fulham Broadway called Fulham Auction Rooms in the early 1990s. I later had shops and wasn’t going to have a shop again.

I hired this place just for storage, but people kept trying to get in, to buy my stuff! So that’s how it started here in Streatham. We’ve been at this location for two years now, renting this shop.

Why should people buy from shops rather than auctions?

This shop is very competitive – everything is quality but at a reasonable price. We enhance the objects too, because it’s so expensive to have restoration done.

What’s good about your location?

We’re right next door to a leisure centre with an ice rink, which draws the crowds, and we’re on the side of the A23, a main vein for traffic going in and out of London.

With such a visual presence, we get good exposure. These premises are going to be redeveloped soon and we have the option to have two more premises. Our business rates have actually gone down, by about £2000 a year.

Where do you source stock?

House clearances and people bring us things because we pay good money.

What do you sell most of?

Chests of drawers, mirrors, tables, lots of knickknacks. Mid-century is a huge trend – teak, Danish and Ercol, which just walks straight out the door (the light wood Ercol, not the dark).

People are coming back to the fact that they can get a nice Georgian or Victorian chest of drawers for £300-400 from a shop and they’re buying these from us, and not from Ikea down the road in Croydon. But we get all sorts of consignments: I sold two Western saddles to a lady today.

St. Reatham Antiques, 392 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6HX