Video: Old chemist’s shop in Lewes given new lease of life

Two firm friends from their schooldays have launched a new lifestyle shop in Lewes.

Closet and Botts, at the former Wyborns Pharmacy on School Hill, will sell a combination of new and vintage homeware, furniture and clothes, with a cafe coming in the spring.

New Lewes shop, Closet & Botts

New Lewes shop, Closet & Botts

The venture is the brainchild of Chloe Shearing, 28, and Harriet Maxwell, 29. They first met as 13-year-old pupils at St Bede’s School, Dicker, and have long shared a passion for well-made, beautiful objects.

Over the years they have spent many a cold morning scouring markets and car boot sales, dreaming of showcasing their finds in their own shop.

Chloe originally worked in a French patisserie in Brighton, while Harriet was a display artist for Anthropologie in London. After a particularly inspiring holiday in Paris, they decided to take the plunge. They left their jobs on the same day, bought a van, and spent the next 18 months learning their trade, scouring the flea markets of Europe, bringing home overlooked treasures to sell in pop-up shops and at vintage fairs.

Then they set their sights on the old chemist’s shop. “It was just what we’d been looking for,” said Harriet, “old wooden floorboards, fireplaces, stain glass windows and a beautiful garden through French doors.”

The combination of the shop and cafe will borrow elements from their previous experiences, taking inspiration from both a Parisian-style cafe, and the eclectic mix of Anthropologie’s vintage-inspired lifestyle store.