Our Support Your Local Trader campaign will highlight central and west London’s special markets and shops. The London Weekly News supports our community in a way which benefits everyone. So we are starting as we mean to go on, by backing the small businesses which give life to the area and earn a living for their owners – as well as adding a special flavour to life for its residents.
BY MAYA CHAVVAKULA
Lillie Road in Fulham is one of London’s popular destinations for antiques.
People from all over the world visit this small stretch of just 19 shops to buy exclusive furniture, lighting, ornate mirrors and other decorative items.
Matthew Upham, owner of Matthew Upham Antiques, has been trading for more than 30 years and recently moved his shop to Lillie Road.
He said: “Belonging to such a small community we all know each other very well.
“Most of the clients at the shop are regulars I have known for a while but that has changed over the years. “It’s not just the rich and famous who are interested in antiques any more.
More and more first-time home buyers visit the shop to buy something unique.
“People are starting to see the value of buying quality products that will last a long time.”
Matthew attributes the change to the increased difficulty of buying a house.
He said: “Previously it used to be very easy to buy or sell a house but now it’s a very long process, so when people decide to commit to a property, they tend to take the extra step and make it look presentable.”
He said his passion for antiques started at a very young age.
“My mother had a little shop in Somerset when I was growing up. She used to clear houses and supply chandeliers to her friends.
“Most of these pieces were boxed up and stored in attics so I used to clean them up and reassemble them.
“She left me her shop and I am privileged to be able to carry on her legacy.”
He added: “Modern reproductions are often cheaper and easier to find, but they don’t have a resale value.
“The products I sell do not depreciate in cost. In fact we have some old customers come in to exchange the chandeliers they bought from us years ago for something a bit more expensive.”
Over the years Matthew supplied antiques to some very well-known names, from landed gentry to pop stars, and has a lot of overseas clients who have come to know him by reputation.
He said: “A couple from America saw my store video on YouTube and flew all the way here to visit the shop.
They spent £15,000 on three chandeliers. Our customers understand that this is an investment and they are willing to pay a bit more for a quality product.”
Matthew Upham Antiques Ltd can be found at 132 Lillie Road and is open Monday to Saturday.