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A very brief history of After Noah

After Noah has been trading for more than a quarter of a century and as a mainstay of Islington, has gained and retained a large and loyal following for good reason. Diverse and eclectic, we offer such a broad range of vintage, collectible and restored 20th Century furniture classics, along with well-designed contemporary counterparts, that we're not to be missed. Sample our G Plan Vintage range of sofas, Eames chairs, the delights of a traditional toy shop evocative of your childhood or take a peak into our incredible restoration workshop - you won’t be disappointed…
 
Robert Keyes, my grandfather, founded our antique furniture restoration business in the East End of London in the late 1930s and then went to war for 6 years, restarting where he left off on his return. I took over the business after apprenticing with him in the early 1980s and set up a workshop in Islington, near our current site. I met my wife and partner, Zoë Candlin, a textile designer, in 1981 and we shared a workshop in White Lion Street for a number of years, where she ran her company selling printed textiles to the USA and Europe, alongside my woodworking shop. Knowing from early on that we intended to combine our respective skills in some form of creative venture, we jointly established After Noah and first opened our doors on the 11th May 1990 in a little shop on Upper Street in Islington.  We were part antique shop and part contemporary design home-store when we started and while it’s hard to remember quite how many antique shops were around at that time, as so many have now fallen by the wayside - we hoped to create a more relaxed and approachable environment where you weren't too embarrassed to ask the price.
  
As the years have passed and tastes, both ours and the general public's, has developed and changed, we have tended toward mid-twentieth century vintage and collectible pieces, alongside complementary contemporary design. We try to combine old and vintage furniture with well produced contemporary design, on the basis that most people live with a jumbled mixture of old, inherited and 
newly purchased items and not the museum lifestyle that antique shops tended to suggest, nor a house full in its entirety of the sorts of soulless creations of cheap, mass-produced outlets. 
 
Why "After Noah" is a question that we're commonly asked? It's our dateline. Most shops that sell antique furniture tend to specialise in a particular period, such as pre-Victorian, early Georgian, etc; we needed a rather more inclusive term, as we generally tend to stock anything we like or feel strongly about  - so we say that we sell anything after Noah - no special period, just things that fit. Now it's not even all that acceptable to refer to such shops as 'antique shops' and the word 'vintage' is more commonly used. 
 
Early on, we met and forged a unique working relationship with Simon Tarr - a part owner, trained in industrial design and with a history in the building trade, who has been integral to our success and has helped mould, shape and  develop After Noah into its current form.
 
Hopefully, it's not overstating it, to suggest that we were probably amongst the first, if not the very first company in London, to fully mix modern and vintage together within the same offering in any meaningful way. About 15 years ago, we developed what were essentially Christmas offerings of vintage toys into a shop next door which we purchased and extended and which specialised in what you might consider to be traditional toys, infused with an element of fun, education and nostalgia. 
 
In 2005, we built a new workshop and incorporated our restoration business into the shop site itself, creating a place that saw through purchases from beginning to end, with the restoration process in full view of our customers. 
 
Our client base has grown with us as our own tastes have changed and we genuinely have a following from the very youngest of children, through to young adults building their new homes and all the way to an older, established generation who appreciate the quality of pieces made in times gone by and who react with fondness to the nostalgic element of the goods on offer.
 
The shop carries a wide range of products - large comfy leather sofas, sets of 1950s teak dining chairs, G Plan Vintage sofas and armchairs, antique French wrought iron bedsteads as well as contemporary counterparts, handmade English & French kitchen tables, restored telephones, vintage childrens' furniture and toys, jewellery, linens, salvaged industrial lamps, modern Italian lamps, kitchenware, bathroom accessories, gifts and much more, brought together from the most diverse sources imaginable - working with new designers, scouring antique fairs across the country and frequent trips to continental Europe and America.
 
We are always sure to have something unusual and interesting to fit pretty much any requirement and will happily source pieces to fit your specific needs.  We strive not to stock the stuff that everyone else does and you can pick up everywhere - and we go to great pains to try to ensure that when you visit us, you really feel as though you've not seen it all before. There is of course, sometimes an overlap of some contemporary item or other with another supplier, but if that happens, you can be certain that we'll be more competitively priced - and if we're not, we'll price match.
 
Come and see us soon.

Thanks, Matthew Crawford