Dartmouth Park Pottery has been a fixture for as long as I've known Dartmouth Park Hill - and then a bit. It's been here for more than a third of a century. When it opened, Britain had just won the Falklands war - we were embroiled in a bitter coal miners' strike - and Margaret Thatcher was in No. 10. But in a couple of weeks, the pottery will be gone for good.
"You don't know what you've got till it's gone" - Joni Mitchell once sang. Too true!
What a pity that just as this once barren part of the hill is getting a makeover - with Crick's Corner coffee bar doing the best bacon baps in town and a pub once as dingy as can be bouncing back into style as The House - the pottery is closing up.
This is both shop and workshop, complete with wheel and kiln - shared now by three potters: Charina, Tina and Gregory. The close-down is not a tale of a rapacious landlord, simply that the owner - herself a potter - has decided it's time to sell.
There's a chance that the pottery will relocate rather than simply shut - but it won't be anywhere near Dartmouth Park Hill.
The building is on a corner and so is flooded by natural light - and there's some stained glass too, designed by one of the potters (I was told) and made at a long-gone local workshop in Archway.
The items on display range from mugs and small bowls to huge and intricate works, such as Gregory's calabashes (the name comes from an African gourd which, when dried, was often used to store and carry water) which display craft at its best - and you can spend anything from a tenner to a few hundred pounds.
Whether you are going to make a first-and-last visit to Dartmouth Park Pottery, or call in one final time, don't dilly-dally - it closes at the end of October.
It's at 122 Dartmouth Park Hill, on the junction with Bredgar Road - if you want to call ahead to check that the shop will be open, it's 020 7263 3398.
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