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With Penzance town centre perennially under attack from the faceless threats of supermarkets, parking charges and high business rates, it’s a joy to watch how Chapel Street is turning into a real little vintage and design enclave.

It is an atmospheric street at the worst of times but now it has the likes of Lost & Found cafe (my new cafe favourite with vintage shop attached), one-week-old No.56 (a touch of London’s Labour & Wait plus hand-crocheted cushions), newly relocated Daisy Laing – as well as oldies like Newlyn Books, Fishboy, Steckfensters and the cigar shop – it can genuinely call itself a shopping ‘enclave’.

I also like the way the businesses – all independents – are coming up with shopping extras. See above a poster for a vintage fair at Lost & Found next weekend. Also hark that shops on Chapel Street are opening late on Thursdsays up till Christmas (until 7pm! And yes, if you are reading from afar, that is most definitely ‘late’ & very useful for Cornwall).

I went to these guys’ Christmas Mart at Chapel Street’s Trevelyan House and emerged happily with several ‘knitted freaks‘ (see second row above & pic below – they make the world a better place), silkscreen-printed wrapping paper and cards by Studio No.6, and a few fine slabs of brownie. They (that’s Heyday Presents) are holding a May Mart on Friday and Saturday in Penzance – see poster below for full detailage.

steckfensters penzance

With the casualties of the recession still very visible in Penzance – every third shopfront seems to be empty at the moment ­– it was particularly nice to walk down Chapel Street on Friday and spot something new. A rummager’s dream world, Steckfensters has moved from its smaller Bread Street premises into a plum property – in the old Hilton Young gallery.

I had a browse and the stock is pure Penzance: you can expect anything from a handsome ladies’ pale blue Raleigh bike to rails of leather jackets, plants, curios, floral print garden chairs and, most importantly, a pink tutu.

10 Chapel Street, Penzance – open Thur-Sat

steckfensters penzance

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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