The Blind Mole: Digging out Kelham Island’s new antiques shop
Family-run antiques and salvage shop The Blind Mole opened in Albyn Works, Kelham Island last month. We caught up with one half of the husband and wife team behind the store, Vicki Scott, for a natter about family, some of the unusual things in stock and where that name came from…
First things first, where did that name come from?
The name came from our eldest son. We were having a family meeting with our two sons Ronnie (aged nine) and Teddy (aged six) about potential names when we launched our website. We have a taxidermy mole at home that I had refused to part with and we were trying to think of witty names that reflected Sheffield and this little mole. Suddenly Ronnie shouted “Blind Mole, why can’t it be blind?”. We loved it and it stuck!
Fair point from young Ronnie. What will we find at the Blind Mole?
We don’t specifically specialise in any particular field or era. We believe a home should reflect your personality and be filled with wonderful things that are beautiful and mean something. To stick to a specific genre would feel too limiting! Ultimately we buy what we like, what displays well and is unusual.
How did you come to be involved in this type of business?
My husband Brett spent more than 20 years working with disengaged and at-risk young people for a crime reduction charity before taking redundancy three years ago. I spent over 15 years working within prisons and then after that, with substance users in Sheffield. Generally, we are passionate about old things, the stories they bring and the lives they have touched and have been for decades. After selling items online and outgrowing our previous premises, we wanted to meet our customers face to face and give people the opportunity to browse our stock and find something that they simply couldn’t resist! Albyn Works is an exciting new start that our little family we will all play a part in. We are a great team and in a nutshell we buy what we like. Brett is the buyer and I am the vision of how things look and display as Brett has no imagination at all!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had in stock?
We have had some strange things in stock as we buy the unusual, that’s why our customers come back! At the moment the oddest things have to be a large amount of Victorian teapot spout and handle moulds. Brett seems to be obsessed with old tins and wooden boxes and I love old bottles and chemistry/lab glasses. We like to think that we stock the unusual! The things that you won’t find anywhere else…
Anything tied to Sheffield people or history?
Our best Sheffield-related item has to be a very rare, old Sheffield football trophy. It had been missing for so long that many experts doubted its existence. It went to a lovely local football historian who writes books on local football. His face was magical when he collected it!
What next for the Blind Mole?
In the future we would like to help put Kelham Island firmly on the map as well as growing our customer base and bringing shoppers into the area. We would love to see some more retail to help make it a destination! We’re doing some work with prop/events designers at the moment and hoping to spread our net even wider. We want to get involved with the promotion of the independents in Sheffield too, whether that be through events, markets and working together to promote and help each other. Some of our stock has been hired for weddings and events, and we’ve recently been looking into helping dementia/alzheimer’s sufferers re-connect with their past using our stock.
Find the Blind Mole at the Caretaker’s Cottage at 124 Alybn Works, Burton Road, Kelham Island, Sheffield, S3 8BZ or head to theblindmole.com.