Charlotte Pearson heads to Worthing and finds a shop full of wonders.
It is not every day you stumble on an Aladdin’s cave full of time-worn treasure.
But Rowlands Road in Worthing can boast just that in the form of Reginald Ballum, owned by friends Darren Marchant and Darren Peskett.
“We have six rooms full of unique and one off items,” reveals Darren M. “Once we sell it that is it, it’s gone and we don’t know if we will get something like it again.
“It can be hard but also exciting as it means Darren P has to go out and buy something to replace it.”
Despite only being in its fourth month of trading, each room has been perfectly planned to showcase the wonders they have on offer, from film reels and bar stools, to an industrial workman’s bench and a 1950s kitchen unit.
“All the knick-knacks are styled so people will look at them in a different way. We have some stairs but have put things on them so it becomes shelves,” Darren P explains.
One thing clear when talking to the two Darrens is they are passionate about what they do.
“I have always been interested in time worn and vintage,” Darren P smiles. “I love old cars and always wanted to be doing something different.
“I was never one to be like everyone else, never interested in the mainstream.”
This love of vintage meant, when the shop opened, they had stock waiting to go in.
“I have been collecting for nearly 20 years,” he admits. “You can’t use it all, most ends up in the garage so at least I could have it out here,”
Once they got the space it took 16 weeks to get it ready for opening.
“A friend owned the building and I was tempted,” Darren P reveals, “but I thought it was too big for just me so I asked Darren if he would be my business partner and it grew from there.
“We decided to have a lot of exposed brick, but it takes just as much time to do that then if you get it replastered. We knew how we wanted it to look.”
“It isn’t like any other antiques shop, it isn’t crammed full of stuff. We wanted a different feel,” Darren M adds.
And this also applies to the name.
“Reginald Ballum is my grandad,” Darren P explains. “We had just put him in a nursing home aged 92. I asked if we could use his name and there was just this smile, it was great that he knew we had named it after him.”
“It is a classic name, and just fits perfectly,” Darren M agrees.
The two friends are a formidable duo with Darren P’s passion for time worn pieces and Darren M’s expertise with finances and technology.
“I don’t want to be sat in front of a computer,” Darren P explains, “I’d rather be in the workshop.”
“Working here has been such a great learning experience for me, I learn something new every day,” Darren M says.
When I am shown around it is somewhere you can easily spend a few hours exploring.
“People go downstairs and come up asking if they can just stay down there,” Darren M laughs.
With many items having been bought from trade shows have there been any interesting finds?
“We have this money box mould,” Darren P enthuses. “The money boxes are like gold dust so to get this was great, I don’t think the guy knew what he had.”
How do they pick what they sell?
“We buy the stuff we like,” Darren P admits. “Mainly because we don’t know anything else.
“We put weird and wonderful stuff in the window and then if people come in we know they get it.”
And what about the items that got away?
“When we opened we had this huge postal desk with loads of pigeon holes,” Darren P reveals. “I thought ‘we will never get rid of that’.
“The second week we were open a couple came in and bought it. They were gutting their kitchen and were going to have it as a feature.”
With so much on offer all I need now is a lamp and three wishes so I can spend all my time in there.
Reginald Ballum, 83 Rowlands RoadWorthing.
Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Open Wednesday to Saturday 10am until 6pm.
Sunday 11am until 4pm.
They can also source items or dress a room if needed.
For more information, visit www.reginaldballum.co.uk
Pictures taken by Chris Ledger of Chris Ledger Photography – www.chrisledger.com