Why Does Chiswick’s Anarchist Own a Shop?

Carrie Reichardt talks about the decline of independent businesses on Acton Lane



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Local mosaicist Carrie Reichardt, a self-described anarchist, is quite candid in admitting that the reason she runs a shop in Chiswick is ‘white privilege’. In an interview with BBC video journalist, Dougal Shaw, she tells how her father has owned the building for forty years during which time she has seen fundamental and worrying change in the area.

Dougal made the film as part of a pilot series from the BBC Business Unit called 'My Shop.' He lives around the corner from Carrie’s shop on Acton Lane so knows the area well. He said, ‘this story was literally on my doorstep. I've always been intrigued by the shop, so it was a good candidate for this pilot.’

The film series creates video portraits of shopkeepers and their small, independent shops that follow a distinctive business model. Carrie’s business model is probably unique as she isn’t allowed to sell anything at the shop as she is unable to afford business rates. Instead she has converted it into the home of an arts collective.

Carrie tells how over the past few decades this part of Acton Lane has gone from being an interesting high street with lots of independent business including a butcher and a post office to a place where shops are steadily disappearing. Rising house prices are leading to many former retail outlets being converted into flats and houses.

Carrie says that business rates and competition from high street retailers and online shops is making things impossible for small independent traders. She warns, ‘Everything that you love about London is soon going to disappear and won’t exist. All of the creative venues, all the bars, all the clubs all the things that make London so immensely creative and lovely to be in are just being forced out.’

Carrie Reichardt

Carrie Reichardt

If you know of other shops you think Dougal should be covering in his series you can email him or contact him through Twitter @dougalshawBBC.

March 22, 2016

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