In Liverpool, we took a broader definition of thrift and had an eye-opening trip to Greatie. That’s the name locals give to the Great Homer Street Market, a so-called “wholesale” clothing market that sells direct to the public on Saturdays from about 100 indoor and outdoor stalls.
There’s a lot more here than clothes. From duvets to dog beds, this market has it. We even watched a woman, seated in one of two barber chairs in a stall, getting her upper lip threaded in public for a bargain 3 pounds ($4).
As one fan enthused, “Absolutely fab market place. Loved by all Scousers.”
Scouser is the slang term for a resident of Liverpool, taken from the Norwegian biscuit casserole that sailors were traditionally served in the city’s heyday of mercantile shipping.
Most of the clothing is bargain-priced and new, but there are two stalls of vintage clothing – mostly club attire– in the cluster. There’s an abundance of darling baby clothes and shoes (smocked dresses especially), sparkly long dresses, hat shops, but also practical stalls selling flannel-lined cargo pants, windbreakers and decent quality knee-highs at 6 pair for 2 pounds ($2.60).
We saw good brands for much lower prices than Liverpool’s great department stores. (Yes, these grand stores still exist—and several have tearooms.) At Greatie, brands like Marks & Spencer and men’s Charles Tyewhit shirts coexist with thinly constructed hoodies selling for 3 pounds ($4). We were tempted to get British newsboy caps (“flat caps”) in attractive black/grey plaids as souvenirs. They also sold for 3 pounds.
The market is just three bus stops from the center city. There’s an inside café and a few outdoor stalls selling flowers, housewares and greeting cards (separate sections for “aunties,” “nans” and “mums”).
There’s also a butcher in a trailer, hawking his great “freezer fillers” with a headset microphone. A nearby bakery stall had several local items tourists would want to try, like corned beef hash pie, a Sally Lunn sweet fruit roll and a Victoria sandwich (of sponge cake, jam and cream), all for just a little more than one pound.
Greatie is thrift in all its glory, from clothes to shoes to food.
160 Great Homer Street at the Virgil Street bus stop, Liverpool L5 5BA
Open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.