Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lulastic Charity Shop Blog Hop - Hitchin

For as long as I can remember I've always loved a mooch round a little market town about 15 minutes drive from my house called Hitchin, I didn't really think much about it until my student days when a friend of mine remarked in a Peter Kay/Garlic Bread kind of way how odd the name Hitchin really is, hit-chin!  Besides having a funny name it also has a plethora of charity shops and it's my local go-to chazza shop destination town.

St Mary's Church, stunning
although has a rather unfortunate web address
(st mary shit
Lulastic blog is hosting a charity shop blog hop whereby she is linking all manner of blog posts about everything charity shop from the best item you've bought, funny charity shop story, an ode to your favourite charity shop or, as in this case, a well-worn charity shop route.
I always use the same route when I'm on the quest for the dead people of Hitchin's finest tat so I'll take you through it one stop at a time
1. British Heart Foundation (High Street)

Large selection of books, not much in the way of bric-a-brac plus I startled a woman with her top off in the back stair well last time I was there as she was trying on an item of clothing and sadly they are devoid of a changing area
2. Cancer Research (High Street)

Small shop, mostly clothes, small displays of books, bric-a-brac and kid's toys, although did get a rather gorgeous mini glass cake dome in there once so always worth a look-see.
Lurking Man #1
3. Garden House Hospice (Bancroft Road)

Large store, lots of bric-a-brac (although sometimes the prices are a little steep).  Volunteers wear branded tabards (classy) and they sell haberdashery (they have knitting needles out on display, this hardly ever happens!!), furniture, books and toys
Lurking Man #2
4. Sue Ryder (Bancroft Road)

Sue Ryder has a special place in my heart as my mum worked at the Sue Ryder home in Whitwell for many years, small shop but well stocked with bric-a-brac and the staff complemented me on my top so they get full marks in my book 
Lurking Man #3
5. Keech Hospice Shop (Churchyard)

Keech have a number of shops in the counties surrounding my hometown, all are well stocked and this one is no exception, this store always has a great window display and an abundance of wonderful vintage items including luggage and china.  Friendly staff who give the impression that they genuinely enjoy volunteering.
6. Save The Children (Churchyard)

This shop recently underwent a makeover and is much improved (ie it doesn't smell of mildew any longer, bonus!) and as a result has attracted a better standard of tat.  Not much in the way of bric-a-brac but plenty of toys and clothes and is all on ground floor now (great if you have a buggy!)
7. Oxfam (Churchyard)

Tiny store, not much in the way of bric-a-brac and a LOT of new stuff (which I'm not interested in at all)

8.  YMCA Vintage and Retro (Churchgate)

This shop focuses on the higher end of tat, furniture, bric-a-brac, vinyl, books.  It's a large store with lots to look at, like stepping back into the past and the prices aren't too scary either.

9. Age UK (Sun Street)

A lot of space but not too much in it, although they do sell electrical items (not many charity shops will take electricals as they have to have them tested at considerable expense)
10. Herts Women's Centre Charity Fayre (Bucklersbury)

This shop is a little off the beaten track and we've walked past it a couple of times not realising it's there.  Lots of women's and children's clothes, small amount of bric-a-brac and books
11. Salvation Army Care & Share (The Arcade)

Love this shop, not always open but when it is it's busy, busy, busy.  Love rummaging for yarn or haberdashery and the man on the till seems to pluck the prices out of the sky, all of which are very reasonable

There are a LOT of charity shops to peruse but there are other reasons to visit Hitchin, there's a thriving market complete with a haberdashery stall, fabric stall and craft stall (all of which I'm sadly lacking in my hometown) which on Fridays becomes a Vintage Market.  Also on the market site during the summer months there's a Saturday Craft and Farmers Market

Quite often when we're wandering around on a Saturday we find the hall next to St Mary's church hosts a jumble sale with tea, bacon sarnies and cakes.  

And finally there's the marvellous Rosita Lollipop, not really sure how to describe this little shop.  It's crammed with curiosities from vintage items to handmade tee shirts, rockabilly dresses and accessories and fun stuff for all ages.  My little description really doesn't do it justice.

If you don't know the town too well but find yourself at a loose end in Herts then here's a handy Google map of my route but do me a favour and leave some stuff for little old me! Plus if there are any shops I've missed then don't hesitate to let me know as I'm always happy to expand my charity shop horizons.

Other local towns worthy of a charity shop note, Harpenden, St Albans, Stony Stratford, Olney, Newport Pagnel and Bedford


  1. AMAZING POST - love it.
    Laughing at the bare naked lady.
    ELEVEN shops eh, just like that. Phew. I gotta get to hitchin.

    1. Yes, eleven I think is the record for a town that I've visited. They must be a very charitable lot in Hitchin to sustain that many shops with tat!

      That poor woman was so startled, but thankful I wasn't a man!

      Loving the linky idea, hope lots add their posts. Looking forward to a good old read of them later. x

  2. Fab post! I do this exact same route but in reverse - we park by Rosita!

    Never heard of No 10 though, going to seek that out for sure!

    1. We park above Waitrose. No 10 isn't brilliant tbh, first time we walked past not thinking it was open and the second time we went in but didn't feel particularly like we should have been there as my OH is a man and I shave my legs and pits iykwim?

  3. My best route has just 4, you are indeed lucky. How come so many people die around Hitchin?

    1. Hmmm, not sure, perhaps the police should be informed???

  4. Wow |I love it, love the fact that you can have high-end tat! Might have to take a trip back one day although I bet there are days when you could go into everyone and not find anything you want to buy!

    1. The tat in Hitchin does not compare at all to the tat in Exeter Mary, I've seen the stuff you and Karen end up with from the boot sales and chazza shops down your way. There are defo occasions when I come away with nothing. x

  5. I really must do a proper post about my local charity shops, including taking some photos like yours.

    My youngest sister is coming over in a couple of weeks and I've promised her a thrift shopping trip to kit out her flat so that might be a good time to do it.

    1. Oh yes, we need to build up an encyclopaedic knowledge of all charity shops so wherever we are we can be sure to find a local supply of tat!

  6. Fantastic post - thank you so much for adding to my never ending list of places to drag my husband to! (and I'll remember to wear my long underwear in the British Heart Foundation)

    Finally got my Crystal Palace guide up - hardly any charity shops any more, but lots of lovely vintage places and junk stores.

    1. Hey Lakota thanks! Yes, defo wear your long johns if you intend to shop for clothes in the British Heart Foundation shop, although not sure what you'd do if you were trying on long johns???

      Had a peek at your Crystal Palace guide, will be adding this to our long list of London trails to try next weekend. x

  7. It’s so nice of you to promote some charity shops on your blog. It’s already a good thing that you are patronizing the items of this industry, but putting up an effort to endorse them is another thing. I hope this will encourage more people to support this charity whether as a donator, volunteer, seller or buyer. Have a good day!

    Norman Watkins @ eBay Giving Works


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