Forest Hill ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ (Home Accessories Extra) becoming Costa [Now open]



Now if it could only become a shop like the Aladdin’s Cave in Lewisham, this would secure Forest Hill’s growing reputation as a retro/mid-century shopping destination. That would bring the shopper’s in from all over.

Particularly for shops like Farr & Wyde, Wild Horses, Crazy Man Crazy and Leaf and Groove all on Dartmouth Road along with Mabel’s Five and Dime and Behind the Boxes at the end of Dartmouth Road on Kirkdale.


Don’t forget Sugar Mountain and Stag and Bow. Both high street classics from another era.


I get the kind of tie-in with the retro/mid-century vibe, but I can’t help feeling that people who are minded towards these types of things would often also appreciate two of our other top shops, FINCHES and BUNKA, as well as the newest kids on the block, LEAF & GROOVE.


In Forest Hill Ward. :wink:


I tend to think of the bits of Sydenham that I like as the edge of the “Greater Forest Hill” region.


Or Forest Hill Adjacent. It’s how I envisage parts of Honor Oak Park.


Well sadly the real local Aladdin’s Cave you refer to is under threat:

If this proceeds, much more of a loss, in my view, than a bits and bobs shop in Honor Oak Adjacent.


Now that is truly sad. :sweat:


My nosy wife asked in here a week or so ago what the situation is.

Apparently, only half the floorspace is being given over with the current shop remaining open. The other half WILL be a Costa according to the staff.


I wonder if there will be an internal partition wall to separate the two… or if the Costa would be open plan like in a Next or Waterstones. If so, Home Accessories Extra might have to clean up the displays a bit.

I’ve always quite like A.J. Farmer in East Dulwich. Presentation for pretty much the same stuff is much better. Much nicer shopping environment.


The last thing Forest Hill needs is another coffee shop, especially a big chain coffee shop potentially taking custom away from the brilliant independent coffee shops we already have in the town centre.

Any suggestions for action, or is this a done deal?


The best of all possible worlds.


I think there is plenty of scope for another coffee shop, especially a chain as it will offer something different. It won’t compete with St David for delicious rocket fuel coffee, or the Archie Parker for the best sandwiches in town. The Teapot is a deli as well as a coffee shop and offers hot food like baked potatoes.

Costa coffee shops are run as franchises so it could be a local business. Healthy high streets, to me, need a mix of independents and chains to attract and retain business. People who currently spend little time in our town centre may come to FH for the Costa and discover how much more there is on offer.


I half agree, although I’d never choose to visit any town centre based on it having a Costa - maybe others feel differently.

Surely what makes FH a “destination” is its uniqueness, as opposed to bland and mediocre chain stores which can be found anywhere?


What exactly does Costa offer that is different? I mean I don’t want to be glib but it’s coffee isn’t it!? To suggest it won’t compete with existing coffee shops just can’t be right. And I can’t imagine anyone coming to FH for Costa. If it had been something different like maybe a juice bar or something I would support it but I’m sorry to say I wish it all the worst and hope that people will continue to support the local independent businesses you mention.


There are people who are much more comfortable with familiar chains than independent coffee shops. While the reputation of our independents might be well known to us, I’m sure there are plenty of people in SE23 who wouldn’t risk the unknown quantity.

Plus having a Costa right on the south circular marks FH as a place that is affluent enough to attract chains, and will catch the eye of people passing through on public transport as well as cars.

I would never go somewhere on the basis of there being a Costa there, either. But I am not the target market. While there are plenty of independents to make FH characterful, there is surely also a place for more ‘vanilla’ offerings.


Like Peckham Rye?


You know Peckham Rye is like SUPER trendy now? Or so I’m told.

I’m talking about people’s perceptions. I bet there are people who see that Costa in Peckham and their estimation of the area nudges up a notch, despite nothing else being different. The same with the large Costa in Catford. It feels at the moment like Costa are acting like Pied Pipers, snapping up large sites in areas that are ripe for development.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I could be entirely wrong. But I’ll be leaving my pitchfork at home for now.


Any shop that isn’t sponsored by LycaMobile would raise my perception of Peckham Rye :wink:


When we went shopping for a new house a few year’s ago we couldn’t afford Peckham Rye. We could afford Forest Hill. Maybe the Costa Coffee had something to do with it…