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The Pumping Station, Cardiff

September 28, 2010

I can’t quite believe I’ve managed to live in Cardiff for over 5 years and had not heard of the Pumping Station before. But boy am I glad I stumbled across someone else’s post about it. After a fair old walk all the way to the outskirts of Cardiff (the Google map provided on the website was slightly inaccurate as a bemused car park assistant asked if I was referring to Ikea when I said ‘The Pumping Station’ proved), it was all worth it when I saw the treasure trove that laid within.

Plates, upon plates, upon plates, upon plates. Okay, I'll admit, the Native American dude isn't really a great find... but still...

On the ground floor several different alcoves contain piles, and piles, of stuff. Be prepared for a good rummage if you come here, especially in one corner where plates, teacups, spoons are mixed in together with naked Barbie dolls and Wayne Rooney biographies. The pictures in the post probably do a better job than I ever could with my words of telling you just how ram-packed with stuff it is. But the good news is that in amongst the junk, you can find the odd treasure, and usually at a bargain price too.

My favourite cupboard! See that sugar bowl on the second shelf? That's mine now! And the teacup on the bottom shelf too! (You probably can't make them out, it's so rammed with stuff, I know).

I picked up 3 plates, a sugar bowl and a teacup from the treasure mine downstairs, costing a grand total of £12 – bargain. Here’s another thing, you might have to wash the plates when you get them home, but since I’m not looking for a genuine antique, collector’s item or something to actually eat my dinner off, I just want them to make good props, then I’m probably less fussy than others.

Head upstairs and there’s an actual shop, with new homeware products, but still at reasonable prices. Less wading this time, but plenty of treasures to be had. I picked up a cake stand with removable glass plate (therefore doubling it’s usefulness) for a snip at £15, something similar from, say Habitat or M&S would be at least double the price I wager.

One of the 'shops' selling both new and antique stuff, downstairs.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, there’s also an underground bit, filled with yet more antiques, a Hornby train shop, a miniatures shop and a Cafe. You could lose an entire day, probably weekend, in this place if you wanted to. There’s even a whole area just for furniture, if you were in the market for something slightly bigger. Outside there’s also a scrapyard of oddities from giant hands to garden gnomes all waiting for a good home.

An Ikea fanatic for many-a-year, it was lucky that the Pumping Station is seperated from the meatball lover’s store by a short gravel path running alongside a river. I’ve noticed that Ikea stocks a lot more baking equipment and accessories than ever before, clearly meeting demand for re-emerging trends. Here I picked up a domed cake stand, a couple of plates, some napkins and cupcake cases. Another successful trip.

I wanted to head to “the big Asda” while I was in the vicinity, but I think my boyfriend may have broken up with me if I’d have dragged him round yet more shops so we began the big old walk back home. There’s one thing that can be said for schlepping all the way (and back) to the edge of Cardiff – it’s a good way to burn off the calories from all of the baking that the props will be needed for…

Enjoy the pictures from the Pumping Room – I can’t wait to visit again (even if my legs can). Visit the Pumping Station website for a bit more information, but bear in mind the Google map is slightly inaccurate. It’s at the very end of Penarth Road, and not in the middle of a Renault dealership 😉

More pictures:

At the height of fashion right now thanks to Mad Men, these gorgeous vintage telehones (restored and fully working) will set you back £60.

There's not really a chance you'll be able to take everything in - even looking at this picture now there's stuff I didn't notice at the time!

I'd love a typewriter, although I've got a feeling it might make my wrists ache - pushing those buttons is a workout!

One of the many, many, teacups I resisted the temptation to buy.

Need a (giant) hand?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 2:58 pm

    I trust you’ve been to Jacobs Antique Market? It’s only 2 minutes walk from Central station, albeit just on the ‘wrong’ side of the tracks. It’s pretty similar to the Pumping Station, but perhaps a little dustier and sleepier – only being open on Thursdays and Saturdays. Nonetheless, it offers a welcome change to the 21st busyness of the city centre.

    • amydavies permalink*
      September 30, 2010 3:05 pm

      Do you know, what from some reason I haven’t. I keep meaning to, every time I see it’s windows on the train evening. Is it good? More importantly can I pick up plates for £2(or less) a pop? I’m not looking for perfection, or priceless antiques, just something that will look good when it’s out of focus in my pictures 😛

  2. September 30, 2010 3:48 pm

    Jacobs is one of those unsung gems of Cardiff. Of course it’s also a bit tatty and downtrodden, and sleepy, and lacking in polish. But you should go and have a look around. There are 3 floors full of treasures: whether it’s a furniture, clocks, lighting, militaria, clothing, old household goods and memorabilia – it’s basically the same fare as at the Pumping Station. The “Off the Rails” cafe deserves a mention too – since it too has a time-warp quality that’s a million miles from the shiny-shiny world of the high-street.

    • amydavies permalink*
      September 30, 2010 3:51 pm

      Sounds like my kind of place – I must check it out on Saturday morning. Wish it was open on Sundays though! I bet I’ll find something in there that takes my fancy, as although I mostly use plates, teacups and all the usual parephenalia you’d expect with a cooking blog, I do like to have props like old tins, books and general ‘old’ stuff if I want to go for a vintage look. Thanks for reminding me of its existence, probably the final boot up the bottom I need to actually get myself down there 🙂

      • cwtchcorner permalink
        October 30, 2010 11:25 am

        When i used to live in cardiff I used to regularly pop over to the Pumping Station for a good old fashioned nosey around. I had a desk from when I was little which obv had been crayonned and needed restoring (but which I knew I would never ever get round to doing). Also a place where I found I regularly ran into peeps- who were also on a weekend mooch

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