The top places to eat, drink, shop and explore in Battersea…
Street Voice: Girl Meets Dress
With years of experience working in the fashion industry, Anna Bance, founder of Girl Meets Dress (GMD), kick-started her fashion renting service in Battersea.
The GMD story began in 2009 when I was working as UK PR Manager for Hermes and, like my previous roles in the fashion magazine industry, it involved lending dresses and accessories out to fashion magazines and celebrities. I thought to myself: ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone could borrow designer dresses?’
Before GMD I had never rented a dress because there was very little option to. When my co-founder Xavier and I looked into the market we saw that no one was doing it. We were the first company to rent luxury fashion online. It’s my responsibility to be familiar with the designers we stock so I try to wear at least two GMD dresses per week.
We wanted to launch our showroom in a friendly and exciting area, and Battersea seemed perfect. The company is completely self-funded and in 2013 we secured an investment to open our first showroom in Battersea. We found a fantastic space, and now we’re able to book appointments where customers can come in and try on as many dresses as they want.
I love the local shops and independent businesses in the area. It seemed to align well with our company values as something new pops up in Battersea every week. Sprout Juicery is one of my favourites for healthy smoothies and juices, and The Latchmere is fantastic for food.
GMD is proving the potential to be huge! We have ambitious and exciting plans for the year. We want to continue to grow the collection of stock, the team, and to innovate within the wider fashion space. We will continue to forge a brand and quality of service that women will wonder how they managed without, giving women access to the biggest closet in the world.
Studio E1, 71-73 Warriner Gardens, SW11 4XW (Showroom by appointment only)
Barker & Stonehouse
Barker and Stonehouse is the UK’s largest independent, family-fun furniture retailer and sits in one of the most historic buildings south of the Thames – the former Candle factory, built in 1830. Shoppers are greeted by a vintage VW Beetle stacked high with furniture and can take advantage of a style service that offers design inspiration from trends and products for your home.
100 York Road, SW11 3RD
This small restaurant offers the very best of British seasonal products from farms around the country. Treat your taste buds to their dinner menu, which features beef cheek, crushed potato and courgette, or mackerel, globe artichoke and purple carrot, or wild garlic gnocchi, tomato, gorgonzola and broccoli. They also bottle their water from a spring and well in their basement, the profits from which go to Magic Breakfast, a charity that feeds London children breakfast.
Ransome’s Dock, 35-37 Parkgate Road
The Hive Honey Shop
This little honey wonderland is chock-full with the largest selection of English and international honeys and honey-related products in the country. The shop is run by third generation beekeepers who produce honey at their Surrey farm, as well as local Wandsworth honey. Beekeepers since 1924, they produce handmade cosmetics and ointments from formulas passed down from one beekeeping generation to the next. They make honey on the premises and have a huge 5ft glass-fronted beehive, home to 20,000 live honeybees, on display within the shop.
93 Northcote Road
Bunga Bunga is Battersea’s most tongue-in-cheek bar and pizzeria that serves authentic cocktails and Italian cuisine in a vibrant space dedicated to Italy’s finest icons. The ground floor houses a striking gondola-shaped bar and other quirky design features include authentic Italian posters and postcards, lamps fashioned from upside down Vespa helmets, and even a bicycle hanging from the ceiling.
37 Battersea Bridge Road
Battersea Arts Centre
Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed former town hall, Battersea Arts Centre is an eclectic mix of historical architecture and theatrical flair. The venue offers a wide variety of shows and discussions, home-made food and drink at their Scratch Bar, weddings and dances in their Grand Hall, as well as events and workshops.