Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Kate from Teddy Tinker’s announces the Covid half price sale

Meet Kate from Teddy Tinker’s

You can’t miss Teddy Tinker’s Emporium… it’s the bright orange and blue shop on the corner of London Road and Tower Road West in St Leonards. If you haven’t ever stepped through the doors, then, Wow! you are missing a treat. HOT’s Erica Smith dropped by to meet Kate – the woman behind this amazing emporium.

One autumn morning in 2013, Kate woke up and said to her husband, “I don’t want to go back to work.” She had been a debt manager for the civil service for 20 years and her husband realised from the tone of her voice that she was serious. They spent the day looking for shop premises and by luck or fate, they spotted the landlord of 134 London Road painting up the interior, getting it ready to go on the market.

On 2 December 2013, they moved in and have never looked back. Kate’s dad ran a notorious vintage shop in Lewes called the Box Room where she worked for 16 years, and throughout her time in the civil service she always had stalls in other people’s shops, so she wasn’t short of items to fill the shop. There is an amazing array of vintage clothes and costumes for men and women, books, old photographs, china, buttons and prints. Teddy Tinker’s is a hot spot for serious collectors and anyone who loves to browse through past times. There is something for everyone and every occasion.

The giant honey jar

I ask Kate what her favourite things in the shop are. She is particularly fond of Mark and Isabel Fisher’s time machine which they made for the ATownExploresABook festival. It is still in the window and visitors are welcome to sit on the copper seat and move forwards and backwards in time.

The time machine is currently up for sale in a silent auction in order to raise funds for next year’s Festival. Kate loves the festival because it brings the whole community together. She has nothing but praise for the director, Gail Borrow, who throws all her energy into the festival.

Kate also loves the ExploreTheArch theatrical performances at Archer Lodge and delights in sourcing the props for the plays.

Next year’s ATownExploresABook festival is based around Edward Lear’s book of Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets. Kate has already decided to explore the alphabets theme.

She is also one of eight ‘currency exchanges’ for the festival – to support the Festival Crowdfunder you can exchange a Bank of England five pound note for a large Bank of Edward Lear five pound note, which is big enough to wrap up honey and plenty of money. Of course, the five pound notes are stored in the giant honey jar shown above.

Kate’s real passion in the shop is her collection of musical scores. She says, “A lot of my music is rare American sheet music which can’t be found anywhere else in the UK. We get a lot of musicians who enjoy buying it for the music itself, of course, but many people love it just for the amazing illustrations. Customers often buy it to frame. Musically though, we cater for all types of instruments – especially in Hastings for ukulele and banjo players.”

Stallholder Saffron with one of the Edward Lear five pound notes

Stallholder Saffron with one of the Edward Lear five pound notes

The Emporium also has space for stall holders who help to run the shop. However, since lockdown was announced, Kate has lost most of her stall holders.

In order to boost business and encourage new customers to visit, she has decided to have a half price sale of EVERYTHING on display. The sale opens on 1 August – which makes this the perfect time to make your way up London Road and explore this living museum.





Teddy Tinker’s Emporium is at 134 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea – just by the roadworks. It is open from 11am–4pm on Thursdays to Sundays. You can find Teddy Tinker’s on Facebook and Instagram or you can call on 07516 268667 or 01424 424964.

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Posted 09:24 Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 In: Hastings People

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