(Images: Alexandra Smith, all rights reserved)
Located in the market town of Cockermouth in northern England’s Lake District, J.B.Banks & Son Ltd ironmongers and hardware shop was established in 1836. To date, this spellbinding shop has survived two serious floods and three truck crashes, and boasts a counter-top decorated with keys and pre-decimal coins, an ornate National Cash Register and an enchanting chiming clock.
The magic of J.B.Banks and Son Ltd is immediately evident in the floating antique hand tools and vintage car lamps suspended from the ceiling. The shop’s charm also lies in the classic mahogany counters and beautiful little wooden drawers, which exhibit the quality craftsmanship on which this business was founded.
A truly unique shop, the oak front door states that ‘prams, dogs and ice-cream’ (‘ice-cream’ had to replace ‘smokers’ recently) are all permitted inside, welcoming everyone to peruse the new, refurbished and preloved items therein.
For those not in the market for bee keeping supplies and packs of ‘four candles,’ there is also a free museum within the shop (a charitable donation is recommended). Delights include a plumbers workshop and tin smithy, an antique office and an old well, which (local legend tells) once led to the nearby ancient Cockermouth Castle.