This shop is famous, and I mean famous. Even before you leave Nigeria, you would have heard about this shop in Peckham, or Peckham in general as the go to place for everything Nigerian. Food and otherwise. I can’t forget my first trip to Peckham in December 2009, I told my travel companion that it reminded me of Isale Eko, just less busy. I had spent three months in Plymouth, surrounded by white people, that to see a large number of black people all in one place was a little jarring at first. Lol.
At Bims, you can find most things you are looking for. From the normal to the weird like candles, yes the long white Nigerian kind, Lanterns, yesssss, lanterns and even rubber and thread for plaiting hair. In fact, my outwardly loud verbal reaction to seeing some items in this store got me noticed by the owner and the woman who was mostly at the till. On one such occurrence, without realising it, I blurted out loudly in Yoruba “what in the world is this doing here, they stock this one too”, and the woman responded “yes they do, people buy it”. Oh gosh, I wanted to die of embarrassment. She laughed it off, and henceforth she called me Sisi and she was quite friendly anytime i visited the store. Sadly BIMS herself has passed on now. It was quite a shock to hear, and I have been told the shop is now a shadow of itself. Really sad, because she was the pioneer importer of Nigerian food stuff. People from all over the UK came to Peckham. Traders also came to her to buy goods wholesale and resell in far flung places in the UK. I haven’t been to Peckham since I found Upton Park. You can read about the market HERE. I really hope BIMS outlives its owner, because it will be such a big shame if it doesn’t. That shop is iconic to South East London.
Here are some pictures from the shop