I have been looking forward to today for a while, a meet up with my friend Sonia (androulaskitchen.wordpress.com) who is always great company and we were so lucky as finally we had a bit of sunshine to start the day even if it was a bit chilly! After coffee and some fabulous lemon drizzle cake in Caffe Verdi we set off for a mooch round the town. Midhurst is a market town in the South Downs National Park and has an interesting selection of independent shops trading from some very pretty buildings – a real change from the all to common generic look of many High Streets up and down the country. Of course it follows that independent shops will sell some very “independent” goods and none more so than the shop in Church Hill selling a somewhat eclectic mix of clothes and trinkets… is there really a demand for Wolf print fleeces and leopard print onesies in Midhurst?
Wolf print fleece Leopard print onesie Very bizarre blue robin fleece
Each to their own I suppose. The oddness continued a little further up the hill when we came across a tiny shop unit styling itself as the Midhurst Museum. A lovely lady invited us in to have a look at the display of irons and took great delight in telling us all about the rest of the display of vintage washing equipment which filled the entire shop unit.
Midhurst Museum Mangle Washing Machine Inside the Museum
After this cultural learning experience we continued our walk up the hill towards the old library where we spotted a plaque fixed to the wall of an outbuilding which proclaimed it was a ‘burgage’ stone. Prior to electoral reform in 1832 a burgage stone represented a vote in Parliament; at that time Midhurst was a Parliamentary constituency which achieved notoriety as one of England’s worst “rotten boroughs”.
The back streets of Midhurst are quaint and narrow being full of character. Several of the buildings in and around the town are painted in the Cowdray Estate yellow (the estate is owned by the Viscount Cowdray whose family have owned it since 1908). A strange notice attached to the wall of one building proclaimed it was “all ages IT equipped”, not really sure what that means?
Sheep Lane Cowdray estate property The Old Library The IT equipped place
The Old Savings Bank in Edinburgh Square The Spread Eagle Hotel
Turning into West Street we came across the marvellous butcher and general store – Jeffersons. The blackboard outside proclaiming freshly made sausages proved too much for us both and we simply had to buy some, and they were very nice indeed!
Jeffersons general store and butcher in West Street, Midhurst
Stepping inside was like being transported back in time, it brought back memories of the village shop of my childhood, and seems hard to believe that shops like this still exist alongside the likes of Tesco!
A little further down the road is the most wonderful Vintage Emporium…. Arnage is situated at number 7 West Street and is chock full of the most fantastic mix of vintage items and choice high quality contemporary pieces. Arnage Vintage is so fab that it has been featured in Vogue magazine, find out more at http://www.arnagevintage.co.uk .
Shop front and part of window of the beautiful Arnage Vintage, West Street, Midhurst
A little further on in Rumbolds Hill is what is possibly the most jam packed junk shop in the entire history of junk shops – Marmadukes (http://marmadukesvintage.co.uk). Spread over 3 floors you can find everything from empty chocolate boxes to vintage jewellery, ceramics, furs, textiles and furniture. A visit to Marmadukes is like being an explorer, you never know what you might find or indeed how you might safely navigate your way around the building! In these days of health and safety overload it is really refreshing to be able to pick through stuff piled up in such a haphazard manner!
Marmadukes Vintage Emporium in Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst
By now it was time for lunch so a short stroll down North Street found us back at Caffe Verdi for an excellent light lunch – excellent in terms of high quality food and price. A stop at the delightful florist Global Flowers (http://www.global-flowers.dienst-it.de) for Sonia to buy a pretty pot of Easter Blooms and it was time to leave after a relaxing morning filled with chatter and laughter.