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My First London Antique shop: Core One.
17 July 2015

I found some photos the other day that took me back many years ago, as eons wheeled and passed and before I had my antique shop on Pimlico Road. In 2001, I had an extraordinary stroke of luck and was inadvertently invited to join an exciting new collective to be called Core One. The invitation had arisen simply as one of the other founder members had decided to pull out and I happened to be in the vicinity.

Prior to this I had been one of London’s many runners feeding the arteries of the antique trade selling from the back of a car. With a level of both ambivalance and excitement I had accidentally become a shop keeper; something I had never intended! We all set up with much gusto and fan fair. We were a brave new world of an egalitarian collective (or so we thought ). Plinth joined us who still to this day I believe were probably one of the most exciting new additions to the antique trade in generations and one of the unsung heros of our era.

Jamb at Core One

Once I had that space it allowed me to indulge in any aesthetic I wanted, pursuing any pleasing individual item I came across. Inspired by my childhood mentor Warner Daley I loved creating a diversity of objects and furniture. I mixed ethnicity with modernism and Country house kit. During this time I started creating the reproduction side of Jamb. Seen here is the Soane named after one of my main inspirations, Sir John Soane, with a pair of Elephant jaws. Underneath the George Ist looking glass you can see a 19th century minature dog which I couldn’t really bear to sell. So I took it home and years later it became the fascination for my daughter Eliza in her early years. When I had my Christies Auction I reluctantly added it to the sale with many personal artefacts. The Morano Glass wall light takes me back to the time when I was in Buenos Aires with my mother. It was an unsuccessful yet very pleasurable buying trip, where we spent more time laughing together than making purchases.

I had no rules on buying criteria : late 19th century Chinese peasant woven reed rain protectors hung on the wall, Italian 19th century planters blended with animal skulls and 20th century modernist furniture. I loved the black leather and steel chairs by Poul Kjaerholm, the 20th century Danish designer (1929-1980) and one of my hero’s, a trained carpenter who believed steel was as natural a material as any.

The pieces I buy always need to have their original fittings and authenticity. The pugin type green morocco leather sofa was a wonderful piece that oozed a sleepy country house quality.

Looking at these photos, I am reminded of many similar pieces we have in our current antique shop. I have just bought a pair of gothic revival lanterns in gilt brass, similar to the one hanging in this image. A Crocodile skull rests next to a monumental copy of the warwick vase and we have a nineteenth century Coade vase copy of the warwick vase in the showroom at present.

Fate intervened when I met Charlotte in New York in 2003 . She came to work with me and we were in Core One for a couple of years. She steadily grew the business, allowing me to travel more widely buying and expanding the reproduction and lighting side of the business. We moved to Pimlico road in 2006. However it seems that any opportunity for development is pounced upon and after six years of wonderful and expansive years we were told we had to move as the premises were going to be demolished to make way for housing and we moved to our current antique shop 95-97 Pimlico road.

So I was so sad to hear that the same destiny has occurred for Core One which is being redeveloped into yet more flats. It was a fabulous destination and one that will be sadly missed by all. In a constantly changing landscape dealers are having to be increasingly active and re invent ways of doing business. However I will always have the fondest memories of that time, the proper beginning of Jamb and of Charlotte and I.