Second hand shopping: Where to shop preloved in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 13:44 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:44 20 March 2020

Sue Ryder vintage Norwich

Sue Ryder vintage Norwich


Care about climate change? Holly Louise Eells wonders if adjusting our shopping habits could help the planet... and our wardrobes

According to anti-waste charity WRAP UK, ‘the value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. It is also estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year.’ It seems the fashion habit is growing, so how can we stay stylish without hurting our planet?

By shopping second-hand you can keep lovely clothes out of landfill and stock your wardrobe with amazing bargains, and help to reduce the environmental damage caused by the manufacturing of clothes. For example, did you know, if clothes stayed in active use for just nine months longer (extending the average life to around three years), it would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20 to 30%?

“The idea of really valuing the items in your wardrobe and making the most of them has always been a part of the British way of life,” says Kate Bloomfield, manager of Sue Ryder Specialist Vintage and Retro shop in Norwich’s Bridewell Alley. “But with online fast fashion it is now easier to buy large quantities and dispose of them after a few wears. Donating your unwanted clothes is a great way of preventing items ending up in landfill.

Ercol G Plan sideboard from Norfolk RetroErcol G Plan sideboard from Norfolk Retro

“If 2020 is the year you’re moving house, downsizing or decluttering then maybe consider donating even a few items to a charity shop,” says Kate.

“Allowing time in your shopping trip to try clothes on has to be the most important advice I could give,” says Kate. “Sizing of clothes throughout the eras varies and handmade clothes won’t even have labels on, so it’s always best to try them on in store and ignore the tags. If you feel confident and happy in the items that’s all that matters. Also, try to mix and match your favourite new item with a second-hand charity shop find.”

Ercol coffee table from Norfolk RetroErcol coffee table from Norfolk Retro

It seems there are still some of old fashioned views about second-hand shops being smelly or dirty, but this is not the case. “You can find unique pieces that have survived decades and are still in mint condition, waiting for a new lease of life in your wardrobe,” says Kate. “Not only will they save you money, the quality can be just as good if not better compared to new items from large fashion retailers.”

By shopping or donating to charity you are always helping a good cause. Sue Ryder has 450 charity shops nationally all offering a range of donated goods, from vintage and retro, to £3 or less. All the money raised from donated goods goes to provide palliative, bereavement and neurological support to people during the most difficult time in their lives.

Sue Ryde specialist vintage and retro shop NorwichSue Ryde specialist vintage and retro shop Norwich

Nevertheless, it isn’t just clothing that’s the issue. Teacher turned vintage trader, Laura Budds, is the owner of Norfolk Retro, a new business that is giving old furniture a new cease of life. “Most vintage pieces have already lasted a lifetime, so you can be sure they will survive every redecoration and house move yet to come, with the added bonus of keeping or even gaining their value if you need a change and decide to re-sell,” she says. “No more poor-quality flatpack furniture that ends up in landfill after only a few months’ use!”

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Since founding her vintage business she has seen sales soar due to the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of what we fill our homes with, as well as initiatives such as Second-hand September. “Just as consumers are turning against fast fashion and single-use plastics, people are looking to make more sustainable choices in their homes too,” says Laura.

And for crafters...

Creative types will love Scrapbox, a charity based in Reepham which supplies an amazing array of reclaimed and saved crafting materials. It’s a membership charity and for just £10 a year you have access to the materials and also to crafting activities.

• Age UK, 31 Yaxham Road, Dereham NR19 1HD / 01362 694 596

• The Salvation Army Charity Shop, 10C Red Lion St, Aylsham NR11 6ER /

Benjamin Foundation Store (Norwich Furniture Store), St Edmunds House, 103 Oak Street NR3 3BP / 01603 661921

Bulldog Barns, 14 Thetford Road, Northwold IP26 5LS / 01366 728083

Holt Antique Furniture, The Old Mill Cokers Hill, Walsingham NR22 6BN /

Old Granary Antiques Centre, King’s Staithe Lane, King’s Lynn PE30 1LZ / 01553 775509

Feline Care, 18 Market Place, Diss IP22 4JT /

Priscilla Bacon, School Road, Drayton NR8 6DN / 01603 867134

• Mews Antiques Emporium, 5-6 Manor Mews, Holt NR25 6AW / 01263 713224

Retreat Vintage, 26A Magdalen Street, Norwich NR3 1HU / 07599 044968

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