Mr Liu, at 115 Lavender Hill, was a Chinese takeaway from the old school, with all the hallmarks of the first generation of Chinese restaurants in the UK: tiled floor, tiled walls, kitchen just out of sight – it didn’t look like much from the street. There was no heating other than a portable gas burner, which meant the place could get quite distinctly cold in winter. It was cash-only too: this was never a place that was going to promote itself on Deliveroo or develop an app. There was no website either – but someone had helpfully uploaded some photos of the menu to Google.
But Mr Liu wasn’t seeking to compete with the fashionable takeaways elsewhere on Lavender Hill – and he didn’t need to. Because this was a place that was all about the food! Mr Liu’s cooking had a status few other matched – widely seen as one of the best takeaways for miles around. Family-run for as long as anyone could remember, everyone played their part – their student children would make appearances keeping things running outside term time. Service was friendly and efficient – you’d get a call back if they were busy when you called. And Mr Liu knew the regulars, who would be given a calendar around the new year. Unsurprisingly, word spread far and wide, which meant the business was never short of customers!
But all things come to and end and age and ill health were starting to catch up with Mr Liu, so in autumn 2019, after decades serving the people of Battersea, he called it a day and headed to a well earned retirement. This led to a couple of years of building works: the whole building was accessed through the takeaway, and the works instead created a separate entrance to the flat upstairs so that the shop could be let separately; the whole premises also had a substantial renovation. And it has now been let – to Carpetman, who sell and install carpets, rugs and wooden flooring. They are new to Lavender Hill, but they’re not new to the area – having been based at 7a Putney Bridge Road (just off the Wandsworth gyratory) since 1997. We presume the reason for this relocation so that Carpetman’s current site – a large warehouse which was originally a printing press – is set to be redeveloped: as a 545 square metre plot of land right in the middle of Wandsworth, with planning permission in place to demolish everything and build eight flats and a three-bedroom house, it is currently on offer with a guide price of 2 million pounds.
This will be Lavender Hill’s second carpet shop, with Braggins Carpets continuing to trade at the opposite end of the street. Carpetman run a wide range of carpet types, from smart custom designs for architectural houses, wood and vinyl flooring, and a surprisingly large range of seagrass carpets, all the way to cheap and resilient wall-to-wall beige carpet for rental properties, and by the standards of the carpet sector they are well reviewed. So it’s a warm welcome to Carpetman, as they start to trade from their new home at 115 Lavender Hill.