Regarded as having one of the best independent high streets in the region, Corbridge has maintained its reputation as a shopper’s paradise for years. Made up nearly entirely of independents including artisan book shops, quaint cafés, and quirky gift shops all in the Market Place, and nestled within them is Living North Christmas Fair exhibitor Alex Clark Art.
Focus on… ALEX CLARK ART
After buying a disused old stable in Stanhope, County Durham which became home to her first shop in 2000, artist Alex Clark continued her success when she opened a second shop on Corbridge Market Place, in 2012. Popular for her adorably quirky depictions of cartoon animals which can often be found adorning cushions and greetings cards, Alex’s shop in Corbridge reflects the street itself, not only selling her own art but the products of other independents, too. We caught up with Alex ahead of Living North’s Christmas Fair to discuss her shop, as well as her favourite hotspots on Market Place.
How long have you been on Market Place?
The shop on Market Place has been there for around seven years now.
Why did you choose Market Place?
It was available, and the whole building had just been renovated. I thought it was a prime position, surrounded by a bank, off license, bakers and coffee shops, and by independent shops that specialise in so many different things, which attract lots of people to visit the village.
Who visits your shop?
It’s usually a really big mix – a variety of people come in, it can be anyone from small children to older people coming in to buy gifts, but it’s usually ladies of all ages.
What do you sell the most of at the shop?
My best sellers are my greetings cards – they keep the money rolling in. Although small purchases, it all adds up.
ALEX’S MARKET PLACE HOTSPOTS
Forum Books is a great independent bookshop
Corbridge’s award-winning independent Forum Books relocated last year from its original premises to the Chapel on Market Place, meaning there’s much more space to peruse the carefully curated books. Much of the heritage of the chapel remains intact – the pulpit doubles up as a speaking platform for authors, and pews have been turned into bookshelves. Little handwritten notes offering personal recommendations poke out of the books in this shop, and there are books wrapped in brown paper and string offering only a small hint of the plot for those readers who fancy a surprise. If you read books religiously, Forum Books is for you.
For The Love Of The North is our new street neighbour
After successfully building up their other two outlets – their first shop in Whitley Bay was followed by a second pop-up store within Stack Newcastle last year – independent gift shop For The Love Of The North opened up a third on Market Place in August this year. A gift shop that celebrates all things North East, it offers high-quality gifts, cards and prints – all designed from the very best North East artists, carefully selected by the business. So if you want to show off your Northern pride (and truthfully, who doesn’t?), For The Love Of The North will have something for you.
One of my favourite places is a café called Tea and Tipple
Alongside Café No. 6, Tea and Tipple is one of the charming independent cafés dotted around Market Place. Quaint and quirky, Tea and Tipple offers scrumptious snacks, homemade delicacies and drinks in an unpretentious and informal environment. If you’re looking for a pleasant place to relax with a cup of tea and scone after a long day of browsing everything that Market Place has to offer, Tea and Tipple is the place to go.