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Silverman's

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A legendary military surplus equipment shop off the Mile End Road in London's East End. Silverman's is part & parcel of army (and no doubt the other services') folklore, with generations of squaddies having spent their hard-earned beer tokens in this fine emporium.

In the days before Gucci kit became widely available, the only way to avoid looking like a total 1098 spakker was to dish out some readies on some half-decent gear that actually fit the wearer and was brand new - and therefore hadn't been issued (to someone else) so many times as to be totally buggered.

Silverman's was/is good for ancillary items like stable belts and Victor berets, but was also a Godsend for essential items like (size Long) '58 pattern sleeping bags that didn't smell like they'd had a Labrador dossing in them. Luxury!

It was also the number one place for finding rare and elusive kit that made the (eventual) wearer's life easier either around camp or in the field, such as flying boots and tropical kecks. It was impossible to look even remotely ally without at least one trip to Silverman's.

Silverman achieved notoriety during the build up to the Gulf War of '90/'91 when hapless squaddies were being sent to theatre in unsuitable non-desert kit. This was still being hurriedly knocked up in Chinese sweat shops, but ol' Silverman had shelves full of the stuff, and was (allegedly) subject to an investigation as to his acquisition practices.

Mr Silverman himself is a nice old boy, but he can afford to be with the money he makes off soldiers buying kit which is better than the junk they are typically issued. [This might have been true in 1983, but things have changed - and for the better.]