Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Charity Shopping in Beeston

Click on map to enlarge
Beeston is a town a few miles outside Nottingham, within walking distance of Nottingham University. For a medium-sized town it has a lot of charity shops, and is well worth a visit if you're in the area.


The PDSA shop used to be my all-time favourite charity shop, and still ranks pretty highly, although they have sharply increased a lot of their prices in the last few months. It's still possible to find a bargain, though. Excellent bric-a-brac section, decent-priced books, average clothes and household linen, the odd small bit of furniture. 

Cancer Research
The bric-a-brac section in Cancer Research is pretty consistently sparse, and mostly modern stuff.
There's a medium-sized book section, normally priced at 50p each or 3 for £1 - they often have recent paperbacks, too.
The clothes are good quality and very reasonably priced.  They always have a £1 clothes bargain rail, and I've picked up some great stuff from it.
The volunteers in this shop are lovely and if you're looking for something in particular, and they're not too busy, will go and have a look in the store-room for you.

Next on my circuit is the Oxfam bookshop - a nice shop, though can be over-priced.
They always have a large shelf full of 50p/3 for £1 books, though.

A little further up the High Road is the Oxfam clothes and bric-a-brac shop.
Typical of every Oxfam I've ever been in, they have some nice stuff, but it is insanely over-priced.
This branch gave me one of my most amusing charity shop moments.  
I am frequently irritated by the practice of writing the manufacturer's name on the shop price-tag (Oxfam and BHF, I'm looking at you).  It is almost always just a few inches away, in the label on the item.  I can read.  And I'm not massively impressed by "names".  Oh, and "Atmosphere" is Primark, which is not really something to use as a selling point.  Ditto F&F (for non-UK readers, this is the own-brand label of Tesco - a supermarket).
Anyway, one day I was looking at quite a nice jacket and on the Oxfam price tag it said "Claire Wilson", £15.99.  Now I'm not big on fashion, but I've never heard of either a shop or a designer named Claire Wilson.  There was a reason for this - on closer inspection Claire Wilson was the schoolgirl former owner of the jacket, whose Mum or Dad had purchased some particularly nice woven name tags, and sewn one neatly over the manufacturer's label.


The Debra shop is fairly small, and piled-up high, like a good charity shop should be.
There's a good mixture of everything, including bric-a-brac and some furniture.  Prices are, on the whole, reasonable, although the bric-a-brac prices have been creeping up quite a bit lately.

YMCA is a large shop, which mostly concentrates on furniture, although it does also have bric-a-brac, books and clothes.
Most of the furniture is modern and mid to high-priced, with the odd mid-century bureau or sideboard now and again.
Scouts Shop
The Scouts shop is another "proper" charity shop.  Some nice vintage among the bric-a-brac, and really good prices.  They often have sewing bits and bobs, too.
A typical BHF shop, mostly modern bric-a-brac with a few nice vintage bits, slightly pricey but not too bad.
Some nice clothes, in the mid to high price range, although I've been a bit wary of this shop since finding a dirty tissue and crisp packet in the pocket of a coat I was trying on. 
Not one of my favourite shops, generally sells quite bland, modern stuff at quite high prices, although just to prove me wrong, when I nipped in today, without my camera (these pics were taken last week), they had a lovely Studio Meakin lidded casserole for £4 and matching serving plate for £2.75.
First time ever, though.

At this point I would be ready for coffee, and would head to The Bean, which is a lovely, independently owned and run coffee shop just off the High Road, in the pedestrianised precinct leading to Sainsbury's.
There's outside seating for nice weather, and a very nicely furnished upstairs seating area with a "Book Crossing" shelf.

Sue Ryder

This is a large Sue Ryder shop, with a big "Retro" section at the back.
I'm usually a bit wary of Retro and Vintage sections, as I find them over-priced, but this one is mainly very reasonable.
With a few exceptions, the clothes are well-priced, too.
They have a fair bit of furniture, from modern to 1930s.
One of my best buys from here was an Ercol drop-leaf dining table and four Ercol candlestick cross-backed chairs for £20.
Sue Ryder


Although Betel is actually a charity shop, I don't really think of it as one, and rarely go in.  It's on the High Road, opposite Cancer Research and Caffe Nero.
They stock a lot of ornate modern furniture that is just hideous, and very expensive.  And a lot of what looks like Argos seconds, that is ugly, and also very expensive.
When I was passing last week I noticed this Ercol carver chair outside.  It was in nice condition (they have their own furniture restoration workshops) and was £80, which I thought was a bit steep.

Salvation Army
Just two charity shops left, now, and I'm not sure how much longer these will be here as The Square will be demolished to make way for a new tram route.
The Salvation Army shop is very reasonably priced, and I've picked up the odd nice thing here, but mostly it's one I'll miss out if I'm in a hurry.


Scope is a bit like Barnardos, in that everything is quite highly priced, but is utterly unremarkable.
I was tempted by this retro (1970s?) apron, but it was quite heavily stained which was a bit off-putting.
I also noticed a Tesco top, priced at £5, with a hole in it and a crispy (by this I mean fresh - not a stain that someone has tried to wash out, but crispy, dried food dribble) stain.

The Shop with No Name - marked on the map with an asterisk

This is not a charity shop, but one that would probably interest most readers.
It's the closest thing I know to a real, old-fashioned "Junk Shop" - but with no actual junk, just good quality stuff.
The man who owns it has been in the second-hand trade in and around Nottingham for years, and consequently has a lot of contacts and a lot of knowledge.  
Nothing in his shop is priced, which I normally find a bit irritating, but he's always on hand to ask, and it's usually a very good price.
Stock includes Whitefriars, Denby, Poole, Hornsea, just to give you an idea of the sort of thing he sells.

The stuff in his shop is just the tip of the iceberg, and if you're looking for something particular he may have it in one of his storage units.


  1. The Claire Wilson story is very funny.

  2. oooh, why have I never hopped off the train en route to Nottingham?(answer: because I am a lazy moo...) I never knew Beeston had all those shops!!! I am gonna take all my shiny coins and hot-foot it there tomorrow;) xx

  3. ... and, yes, £80 for that Ercol chair; totally Not In The Spirit of Things at that price! eeeeeeeuuuuuwwwwww to the crispy food stain - some people.... *shudders* xx

  4. thank you for this list :) i am bookmarking ur page when next i am in nottingham :) your claire wilson story is hilarious LOL

  5. That brings back memories of my uk days! What a cool idea - doing a write up on the locals! Maybe I'll do that one day - and risk giving away all my secrets!

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