Andy Lewis first became aware of this derelict shed when he visited a friend in the Shedtown area of Portsmouth in 2017. “I was really shocked to see this tiny wooden shed for sale on the waterfront for £35,000. I asked my friend how it came to be there. He told me it had been a general store for years. Then he went to work and got it fixed up and didn’t come back for years. I said ‘How much would you like to keep it?’”
The shed was an orange 4×4 filled with potatoes and leather goods. It was inherited by Jack Stewart from his father, who died eight years ago. Stewart had apparently been squatting in the shed, too. “I lived with him for about three years and he wouldn’t sell the shop,” says Lewis. “He still owed money to the bank, so he kept the house in Liverpool. I never heard from him again.”
Now it’s gone. Isle of Wight Leisure owner Richard Soars sold the building to Portsmouth council. What’s in it, exactly? What on earth does it sell for? I got to thinking: if it’s a ‘surplus’ item, why not just ship it abroad?
That’s all the Isle of Wight’s metropolis, Portsmouth, told me. I’d be willing to pay good money to have it sent there too. There could be leather goods to borrow, parsnips to use as a footstool, and potatoes to eat and smoke. If the shed sold for £75k as advertised, it could have been shipped to New Zealand, Ireland, or even Mexico – that’s one of those shithole countries. Certainly it’s cheaper to ship goods around the world than to transport construction waste within a region like south-east England.
Apparently, the shed came with the ShopHouse for sale sign above the door. ShopHouse was a trendy cafe and leather goods shop in Brighton. I don’t know where the wooden hammer is.