|The Face of 'Vintage in the Shires' 2013|
This is the image which greeted everyone who called into 'Vintage in the Park' which took place in Northampton on 23rd March, the lady in question is from across the pond and now adorns the fair's new introduction card.
Firstly I must say a huge a thank you to our stall holders and everyone who braved the elements in true expeditionary spirit to make their way through truly awful conditions to the fair. Snow had been falling all through the night and had transformed Northampton into a cold and bitter place and the wind from the East was unrelenting.
|Follow The Tracks To The Fair|
|Our Home For The Day - Abington Park Museum In Northampton|
I arrived in the near-light of early morning to wrap bunting around the old stone walls, it felt strange and so unlike spring, everything rendered grey by the grip of an immovable winter.
|In Hope Rather Than Expectation|
I fixed a sign by the main road into town hoping to catch the attention of those venturing out in such appalling conditions and wondered how long it would take before it was completely enveloped. I had chosen an ice-blue colour for the board as I thought it would standout well against what I expected to be the green of spring and wondered again how many people would step out on such a day.
|Welcome To The Fair|
It was very encouraging when a queue began to form and I felt awful as the conditions outside were not pleasant for those waiting for the doors to open whilst last minute setting up was completed. Abington Manor (latterly the museum) is around five hundred years old and it's thick stone walls ably protected everyone from the penetrating cold.The austere stone floors, plain walls, stained glass and vaulted ceilings made for a wonderful setting for the colourful stalls.
|One Of The Stalls In The Great Hall|
It was great to see many of our regular stall holders creating their wonderful displays, here is Merriman's Vintage Jamboree, who will be with us when we visit Leamington Spa in April. Alice from Homes and Antiques joined us for a second time as well as a number of new sellers and a vintage hair and beauty stylist. The church outside struck eleven, the fair began and guests poured through the door. I was amazed to hear that people had travelled from Coventry, Birmingham, Peterborough in order to visit the fair and I needn't have worried as a steady stream of customers filled the museum.
|The Main Hall In Years Gone By|
This image of the Gothic Hall in the museum is from the collection held by Northampton Borough Council. It was once the heart of the home of Shakespeare's grand-daughter and for the day became home to 'Vintage in the Shires'. It was great to see so many of our regular guests as well as lots of new faces including the Mayor and Mayoress of Northampton.
Here is one of our stall holders who made it all the way from Lincolnshire, thanks for your valiant efforts, seen here tucked in a corner having a well deserved nap (actually wide awake and posing for a moody shot).
|The Perfect Soundtrack|
Portable record players such as these HMVs from the 1930s are often described as 'picnic' players and can be taken anywhere in there smart little cases and would work very well in the snow if one was so inclined (which is something that cannot be said for digital devices which from my experience do not function reliably in the cold).
|A 30s Cottage Garden|
The pretty cover of this little box from the 1930s gave a glimpse of what this summer might bring, I think we all deserve a long hot summer. Easter has passed and April has arrived and as I sit down to write this blog the snow which fell on the day of the fair is still lingers some eleven days later.
The day was very busy and it was only towards the end of the fair that I had an opportunity to have a look at some of the stalls, I am really glad I did!
Tucked inside a box with some old Ladybird books on Lost Property Vintage's stall was on old unassuming sketchpad, I opened it and was really surprised by some of the drawings inside.
|Where Are The Primroses This Year?|
I think the sketches are charming and I scoured the pages looking for a clue to help identity who it belonged to without success although I did discover that the pad dates from 1949.
|40s Glamour & Style|
This image of a lady leaning on a bar or cafe table reminds me of the illustrations found in Punch magazine of the time.
Everyone had long since gone when I took down the last of the signs fixed to the park railings, the museum stood empty in the dark freezing air. I headed home content that "a little bit of snow did not stop the fair".
|Our Next Fair|
Tomorrow I will be driving to Leamington Spa to complete arrangements for our first visit to the Royal Pump Rooms on 14th April.
See you at the fair.