West End is known as the quirky, bohemian side of Glasgow. One of its most interesting features are the antiques, vintage and retro shops, tucked away in the narrow lanes of Byres Road. These shops often fall under people’s radar, as many of them, particularly the furniture and collectibles shops, operate on a word-of-mouth basis and are visited mostly by those ‘in the know’.
Whether you’re a student looking to enhance your dorm, or a home owner wanting something special for your house, buying previously owned furniture and furnishings is a way to cut costs, but also to find something truly unique. Ruthven Mews Arcade, at the back of Ruthven Lane, is home to many of these antiques, vintage and retro shops. The arcade often goes unnoticed by locals, but you’d be surprised by the amount of out-of-town visitors who find their way here.
Liz McKelvie, owner of The Studio, was the first to move into the arcade five years ago, having previously had a shop in Cresswell Lane. Liz herself specialises in the popular Arts & Crafts movement, which began in the late 19th century and lasted up until the First World War. Her items range from oak furniture to lighting and jewellery, most of which can be shipped worldwide. Many of her customers live outside of Glasgow, and thanks to her website, they don't have to come in person to see her furniture.
Next to The Studio is Vintage & Retro, specialising in furniture from the 1950’s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Their main showroom is on South Street, but here in Ruthven Mews you will find a selection of truly gorgeous pieces of furniture, making you feel like you’ve stepped right into a mid-20th century home. Around the corner is Mount Brandon Antiques, selling decorative furniture from the 1880s to the 1930s, such as the beautifully crafted cane stand pictured below.
In Trios, you can find hundreds of collectible items, including a lovely Japanese coffee set just waiting to find a new home. Derek, one of the owners, started off with items he’d inherited, but moved on to buying directly from individuals as the years went by. Many of Trios regulars have special interests, so Derek has started looking out for things they’ll like, such as Elvis memorabilia. This way, he’s built up a loyal customer base, and browsing through the shop, it’s easy to understand why people come back. The shop has even caught the interest of the Antiques Road Show, who has visited more than once.
It’s not just Trios that features on TV. Many film and TV productions find their way to Ruthven Mews to source items for their sets. The Studio has supplied several TV shows with furniture, including Outlander. Paul Morrison and Kait’s Corner are favourites among many of Glasgow’s bars and restaurants, who come to pick up decorative items that will make them stand out. The G1 Group, owner of the Hillhead Bookclub and The Bothy, is one of their customers.
On your way back to Byres Road, you’ll find Relics. This shop is a West End institution, and one Yelp reviewer describes it as “it's like they cleared out the attic of every eccentric old person in the world and shoved everything they found in this tiny wee shop”. That sums it up rather well, and while the shop requires elaborate navigation skills, it’s a paradise for both collectors and students looking for a bargain.
Continuing a little further up Byres Road, you’ll find Cresswell Lane across the street. At the far end of De Courcy’s Arcade is Vintage Horizons, a reasonably new additio to Glasgow’s vintage scene. Here you’ll find vintage and retro collectables, ranging from old school stereos and cameras to hand bags and jewellery. Andre and Anne who own the shop often spend their holidays sourcing out new treasures for the shop, which has become a great place to seek out quirky and collectible items.
Want to visit any of these shops?
Ruthven Mews Arcade
57 Ruthven Mews
Glasgow G12 9BQ
De Courcy’s Arcade
5 Cresswell Lane
Glasgow G12 8AA