Introduction by The Forest Editor Aiden:
"Before we opened our community station Tracks, my 'behind the scenes' biz partner Wil who had just moved to Forest Gate was taking me on a local tour and was like 'you gotta check out this shop there's nothing like it'. That shop was Number 8 Forest Gate Emporium and upon entering it was a proper treasure trove of the weird and wonderful to adorn your home abode.
For me, Number 8 shopkeeper Jeff is a local hero who has already gone down in Forest Gate folklore as he supports so many community creatives and E7 entrepreneurs along with hosting exhibitions to showcase local artists. His enchanting emporium is a cultural local landmark that represents everything what Forest Gate is all about.
Nestled next to the hustle'n'bustle of Saturday's Woodgrange Market on Sebert Road, if you're new to the area and ain't popped in yet then see what jewels you can unearth in his goldmine of locally made arts, crafts, furniture, homeware, jewellery and more complete with a warm welcome to make you feel at home. Check out this lil' vid here that captures the spirit of the shop.
In a sea of identikit, homogenous high streets, it's independent stores like Number 8 Emporium that are the heart and soul of the high street so shop local and support small!
Here his partner Andie tells Jeff's story of laying roots in Forest Gate and opening Number 8 Emporium."
From the moment Jeff arrived in Forest Gate when he started out on Woodgrange Market, he knew it was a place we could settle. It has such a fascinating community and is so culturally rich, we feel lucky to live in Newham. Every day the kids from the local schools come by to say hello and also on their way home. Number 8 is a caretaker of the gold wheelbarrow that was used in the opening ceremony of the Olympic games and was given to the market. Jeff offered to have it outside the shop and there is a fairy garden that the children play with every day.
When Jeff was unwell last year some of the local community, friends and businesses arranged a rota to help keep Number 8 open while he recovered we're so grateful of the community spirit and support.
Jeff is an East End boy who completed his jewellery apprenticeship in Hatton Garden approx 50 years ago. Although he travelled to different places his heart was in the East End and following a stint at Hitchin market where he worked on repairing fine jewellery, he was told of a new market that had just started in Forest Gate. Not too long after Jeff was offered the premises to rent next to Coffee 7 on Sebert Road and he decided to rent spaces to local people so they could have a chance of being on the high street.
Within the shop there are many local traders selling things from handmade bags, kitchenalia, upcycled furniture, handmade costume jewellery, art, greetings cards, books by local historians about Forest Gate, crafts, vintage and collectable items, vintage clothing, Ladybird books, plants, vinyl and so much more. Jeff makes bespoke jewellery to order and can resize rings and do all jewellery repairs on site and some can be done while you wait. With all the emphasis on saving money and our planet it is really important that Number 8 is a big part of this.
Number 8 has also been visited by many famous people and were part of a photo shoot involving Little Mix. The store has often supplied items to be used within theatre shows as props and also films - we are happy to discuss renting out/sourcing items from particular eras to be used.
You never know what you will find within the store and people always say it is a magical place.
Number 8 are happy to offer opportunities to anyone wanting to start a small business and would like to rent a space within the shop. You can email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to discuss. We also run workshops and rent out our wall for art exhibitions and have had many successful events within the store.
Check out the Number 8 Forest Gate Emporium website here and for further info follow @number8fgemporium
Lead image © Andrew Baker