Fabrics Galore is celebrating its 30th birthday today – one of the longest established traders on the street, bringing a huge range of fabrics from the subtle & understated to the bold and eclectic since 1992. It is a proper family business: owner Paul Johnston’s great grandfather was a trader and convertor in the then-booming fabric business in Bradford, with his father running The Shuttle fabric shop in Bradford, and his grandmother having done the same in Skipton. Paul himself started his career at John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford street – a business notable for, among many other things, its comprehensive haberdashery section – before branching out and setting up his own business at Fabrics Galore.
Fabrics Galore has a loyal audience that stretches from regulars who have been customers for years or even decades, to those just something to make an interesting tablecloth or children’s craft project. Fabric is a category where it’s really best to actually see it – but Fabrics Galore has moved with the times and developed a healthy online business, including the ability to send sample swatches of fabrics to far flung customers, which proved it’s worth in keeping the show on the road during some parts of the Coronavirus, and which runs alongside the shop.
The building itself is admittedly not one of the street’s most elegant structures, being a fairly functional newish build. There was previously a small local post office on the spot, in a building we believe had been built in the 1960s; thanks to our readers we have a photo which just about captures that old building shown below, taken by Peter Marshall in 1988 – you can just about see it at the right hand side, it’s only about half the height of its neighbours. When that building was redeveloped the post office moved to what is now the Tesco a bit further down the hill, and then again to the Queenstown Road. We suspect that Fabrics Galore might be the first and only tenant of the current shop – there aren’t many businesses who can say this on the street!
So here’s to a happy 30th and many more years of interesting fabric. Meanwhile at Fabrics Galore there’s a special 30% off sale for today only. Fabrics Galore, 52-54 Lavender Hill, SW115RH.