The 'free shop' at Emerson

A glimpse into the wonders found in Emerson's 'free shop'

Tucked away in a little room at the back of Ruskin East is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of goodies. Known as the ‘free shop’, it is bursting at the seams with items left behind by students and visitors to Emerson, either absent-mindedly forgotten or a deliberate decision. Its contents are divers, from books to shoes, child car seats, waving ‘good luck’ cats and even a forgotten soft toy elephant. Each item waits with a kind of anticipation, until the day that someone comes, and decides they can make use of it.

The ethos of the ‘free shop’ is simple, everything in it, bar the bookshelves and rails, is free. Whether it is a book, a piece of furniture, a garment or a household item, it is all freely given away, no strings attached.

The history of the ‘free shop’ is not really known. Was it started by a group of students who felt charitable towards fellow students and decided to ‘share the love’? Or perhaps the house-keeping staff started it as an extension to lost property?  Whatever its history, it's a great place to browse with the hope of finding your own treasure!

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