The Antiquities Shoppe SoHo Landmark Threatened With Demolition

SoHo’s distinctive bright red frame building, longtime home to The Antiquties Shoppe, is threatened with demolition. The store, on the northwest corner of Wellington and Hill Streets (129 Wellington), has been a SoHo landmark for over 130 years.

photo Mair Hughes

Antique dealers Bennett Grossman and Dan McLachlan rented the shop in 1978, painting the building its eye-catching bright red color three years later. The unique frame structure is considered a Priority 1 building (that’s the highest category for architectural or historic merit) on the city’s heritage inventory list. The antique dealers, who are retiring to their country home in Woodham, have been holding a going-out-of-business sale for some months.

Editor’s Note:  The Antiquities Building was successfully saved!  It has been meticulously and beautifully restored and is presently home to offices for a few organizations.  This article has been retained for archival purposes.

The building, one of the few surviving wooden commercial buildings in London, was built by two Winder brothers in 1872/73. For many years the lower floor contained their business and family members resided on the second floor. The building features 28-centimetre wide board cladding and large quoins provide attractive accents at the corners of the structure.

A sign was recently posted on the front door of The Antiquities Shoppe noting that the building had been closed due to structural concerns by the city. Those concerns relate to the brick foundation and damage in the basement area. The building’s owner, a direct descendant of the builders, has indicated that he will be applying for a demolition permit when the building is vacated.

The Irish Winder family came to London about 1853. Originally Henry Winder operated an interior decorating business from the storefront. He also did cabinet work and created a handsome sideboard from walnut trees growing on the property. In later years, theWinders operated a grocery store and feed business on the property. Two small, frame cottages, on Wellington just south of the corner, were also built by the Winders, who were among SoHo’s founding families.