I was delighted to learn that The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings where I work, was Angela’s first port of call – nearly thirty years ago – when trying to find information about the right things to do to care for her lovely old premises Initially, Angela intended to run her own decorative paint business from Columbia Rd.A graduate of Manchester School of Art, she worked in theatre design and as a costume designer at the BBC.Sometimes I spend the whole day here mixing and trying different combinations to see what happens.
Then something pops into my head – a new ingredient to add to the mix that blends and lifts. To be honest, I don’t know why it works, but I think it must be a happy combination of instinct, inspiration and experience.” “I suppose you could relate it to good food?Intriguingly, since working with scent, she has discovered that the East End has a history of perfume manufacture.Essential oil distillers Bush Boake & Allen traded from premises near Broadway Market and today, the offices of Penhaligons are situated near Artillery Passage, Spitalfields, where Angela now has a second shop just along from her daughter’s. The West End made its money off the talents of the East End, but it’s always been true.Subsequently, she attended courses in Interior Design at the Inchbald School and at Hackney Building College and her plan was to work primarily with furniture.But remember that “terrible smell” mentioned earlier?At the time, as well as me, there was Jones’ Dairy, a deli and the Fred Bare hat shop. Someone once said to me, ‘If you can run a shop in Columbia Road, you can run a shop anywhere.’ I think that’s quite right!” Angela pauses and looks at the glittering bottles surrounding around us in her shop.Known as the Fifis, this is the scent industry equivalent of the Oscars.The decision, based on a blind ‘nosing’ by eminent fragrance writers and journalists was unanimous and Angela is still clearly delighted by her success.When she first found her premises – a former shoe shop dating from around 1850 – it had been closed up and forgotten for 25 years.“It was in quite a state.The roof was shot and there was a terrible smell, but it was full of all its original features and I was determined to keep as much as I could.