Edinburgh Vintage Trail showcases Capital’s best antiques shops

Annie Bell, Gilly Dennis and Bronwen Brown show off their vintage buys. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Annie Bell, Gilly Dennis and Bronwen Brown show off their vintage buys. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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BRASS oil lamps, antique dollhouses, patchwork quilts and old-fashioned mirrors may sound like items consigned to the past.

But with the launch of a new brochure displaying all of Edinburgh’s vintage hotspots, these iconic items can be found with the click of a finger – right across the Capital.

Annie Bell's 1920's hairpin case. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Annie Bell's 1920's hairpin case. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The “Edinburgh Vintage Trail” was originally created by the city council last year, but yesterday was re-released in a brand new format. The guide is packed with more than 100 businesses selling vintage-inspired clothes, books, music, food and drink and also includes a colour-coded map and transport information – providing shoppers with everything they need for a vintage day out.

Some of the brochure’s highlights include Herman Brown, luxury furniture store Aquarius, music shop Backbeat Records and The Bookworm, in Dalkeith Road.

Whether vintage fans are looking to track down their favourite vinyl, 50s dress or the best retro food and drink, the new guide has it all.

Anna Nicholson, the owner of Herman Brown Fashion, located on West Port, spoke of some of the changes she has noticed working in the second-hand industry over the years.

Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Picture: Andrew O'Brien

She said: “There are too many to mention, but the onset of the internet has got to be one of the biggest, especially as online presence is vital to any business now.

“Also, there is now a greater awareness of the value and worth of some items that have been previously worn or used, though of course, one has to be discerning.”

She told how she came to open her shop, which has become a hotspot for those searching for something classy, but unique.

“In 1984 I wanted to get back into retail after a few years away from the business,” Anna said.

Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Picture: Andrew O'Brien

“I had a boutique in Edinburgh previously from 1968 to 1975 but I had very little money and that is when I discovered the world of vintage.

“As for Herman Brown, it’s just a made up name.”

Lynne McCrossan, the author of A Girl’s Guide to Vintage – a book which was released in 2010 exploring vintage stores in 15 UK cities – said that including a map and transport information will be very useful for vintage fans.

She said: “After my book was published, one of the things I found was that a lot people contacted me to ask how to get to some of the vintage stores I’d written about.

“I think it’s really cool that the council has thought to include a map, as well as information on how to get there.”

As well as detailed diagrams showing the city’s walking and cycle paths, bus routes and tram stops, the guide also includes information about some of Edinburgh’s outdoor markets – which are set up at various locations throughout the year.

The guide states that markets are a “great opportunity to stock up on deliciously fresh local produce including meat, fish, fruit and veg”.

It adds: “In addition, look out for artisan breads and coffee, organic beers and wines, jams, chutneys and street food from around the world. Many of our markets also offer interesting selections of crafts, antiques, collectibles, and general bric-a-brac too.”

Some of the markets vintage fans are advised to visit are: the Stockbridge Market, in Saunders Street; the Grassmarket Market; the Leith Market in Dock Place; and Out of the Blue Flea Market at the Drill Hall in Dalmeny Street.

On page 25 of the brochure, readers will find a colour-coded key, listing all of the city’s vintage-inspired businesses in alphabetical order.

It includes everything from chocolate shops to handbag stores to cabaret clubs.

Copies of the guide can now be collected from any of Edinburgh’s local libraries – after it was launched yesterday at the Central Library.

Councillor Gavin Barrie, the city’s economy leader, unveiled the project accompanied by staff from the council’s library service.

He said: “We want to showcase Edinburgh’s vibrant vintage scene and I hope the second edition of the guide helps to promote this unique and sometimes overlooked independent business community.

“Whether you’re visiting the Old Town or Portobello or shopping in South Queensferry, you’ll be able to pick up a guide from a library and discover the local vintage scene in each area.”

Peter Ritchie from the Bookworm Bookstore, added: “We are delighted to be included on the Edinburgh Vintage Trail and to see the city’s small and independent businesses valued and promoted by the council.”