The Silk Route

Greenwich Covered Market, SE10

Tucked away near a dark-ish corner of Greenwich Market where there are more dead shops and blank walls than anywhere else in the square, The Silk Route is a welcome flash of colour and exotic luxury. In some respects it almost doesn’t matter what it sells inside, the bright flashes of satin and sparkling fairy lights, the velvets and silks of the window display and the tasselled Thai umbrellas justify the shops existence in sheer joi-de-vivre.

It’s a shop that lifts my heart when I walk past. Inside, the rich-red glow of silk lanterns and the twinkle of fairy lights continues as neat shelves of Far-Eastern goods line the walls of this tiny shop. Bolts of cloth, embroidered cushion covers, satin bags and little brocade pouches are the mainstay, though there are lots of little dishes of beaded fripperies and various clothes.

Wall hangings and beady curtains, pincushions in the shape of a circle of Chinese children, the odd wooden box, most of these things are not unfamiliar to us these days, but it would be churlish to imply that that makes them any less enjoyable to see. They do have some different stuff – there are currently some lovely satin umbrellas (much more classic-Occidental in style than the traditional parasols outside) – and I’d say it was well worth a look – though at weekends, like the rest of the market, it does get a bit full…

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