This past Saturday was unseasonably pleasant here in Vancouver, so I decided to venture out to Main St. to pay a visit to my favourite antique shop - The Source.
The Source is a decidedly British affair, focusing its business on the unconventional trifecta of darts, hardware (hinges, knobs, hooks etc.) and vintage pub paraphernalia. Rounding out the inventory is a healthy variety of goodies from English estate sales that includes plenty of artwork (horse and hound type stuff, caricatures of old judges and politicians, country landscapes), out of date encyclopedias and law reports, and lamps and bookcases.
In my humble opinion, The Source is to vintage pub fixtures what Bobby from Boston is to vintage #menswear. Granted I don’t think “vintage pub fixtures” is a particularly competitive field.
Anglophile or not The Source is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in downtown Vancouver and you’re in the market for a little bit of Old World charm to take back to your flat.
I’m particularly keen on the pub signs; all of them are hand painted, and most of them are carved out of wood, weighing several hundred pounds. The sheer size and weight of these beauties makes it hard to imagine actually acquiring one for any purpose other than hanging it outside your garage-turned-tavern. Fortunately mixed in amongst the wooden signs are a few considerably lighter sheet metal signs like ol’ King George II here.
Once fitted inside a wooden frame I think The George would make for a rather interesting piece of original artwork – and certainly a conversation piece.
There’s no question that the presence of these antique signs in Vancouver is the byproduct of a shrinking pub landscape in the UK. According to a staffer at The Source, Britain’s losses become Vancouver’s gains by way of shipping containers that The Source receives directly from the UK on a regular basis. Apparently defunct pubs in the UK are unable or unwilling to sell their signage domestically, so the only market for these gems is overseas.