Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Trip To Brackley & Saturday's Northampton Vintage Fair

Unit 60 At Brackley Antique Cellar

 I visited the wonderful Brackley Antiques Cellar last week, they have just won Homes & Antiques Best Antique Centre In The UK 2013! What a 'coup' for Northamptonshire. There are over one hundred and sixty independent dealers in total and it is a great place to spend a few hours.

Baskets & Books At Brackley

The centre displays a wide range of of tradtional antiques (furniture, ceramics, glassware, weaponry, rustic pieces and curios) as well as much that will be of interest to lovers of 'vintage' from homewares and ephemera to textiles and clothes.

Worcester Ware, A Polish Doll & An Old Sign

I think that magazine capture the style and glamour of their time, they also reflect something about the prevailing concerns of the time such as this copy of Marie-Claire published in post-war France in the 1940s.

 Marie-Claire From The 40s - Peace In Europe

I particularly liked units which had been set out as themed 'rooms' such as this display (I found the copy of Marie-Claire on the other side of the black trunk and tea-tray).

Subtle Tones & Interesting Things

This eclectic mix including a duck and top hat caught my eye.

A Study In Yellow & Black

Vicky from 'Vicky Loves Vintage' has created a very cosy corner, the nursing chair has been covered in a beautiful vintage fabric.

'Vicky Loves Vintage'

It was good to see posters for the forthcoming fairs in Northampton and Olney on display. I am busy  preparing for Saturday's Fair in Northampton where the Mayor and Mayoress will be joining us for the day, as guests of honour they will open the fair at 11am and will be having a stall to raise funds for the Mayoral charities, Meagan's Flutterby Fund and Northamptonshire Sea Cadets. 

See You At The Fairs!

The fair in Northampton will be taking place at St Matthews which is situated in the Kingsley area about one mile from the town centre. The stalls and 'old style' tea-room will be set up inside the Parish Centre and if the weather is kind there will be lots more stalls outside on the lawn.

St Matthews Northampton 

We love returning to St Matthews because it is were we held our first ever fair and we have such a lot of fun at the Vintage Jumbles each January and July. If the weather is good please do bring a picnic as the lawn is surrounded by a lovely stone wall and is a safe place for children to play.

See You At The Fair

We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday and fingers crossed for wonderfully warm weather. The fair inside the hall will take place regardless of the weather so please do come along and join us.

The 10th Northampton Vintage Fair

Best wishes for the Bank Holiday weekend and see you at the fair.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Lovely Day In Leamington

Spring Has Arrived!

I set these hyacinths last August with the hope that they would be in flower in March for 'Vintage in the Park', as I wanted to position one pot either side of the entrance however the cold weather has held everything back, they are now finally in full flower and filling our home with a beautiful fragrance. The conditions were set for the fairs first visit to Royal Leamington Spa.

Summer Flowers & Vintage Ladies

We found this pretty collection of cards and growing guides on one of the stalls when the fair visited Leamington Spa on Sunday. David from 'Paper and Plastics' specialises in presenting original plastic, bakelite and paper ephemera and has a great website and will be with us again when the fair returns to  Market Harborough in June.

Vintage Plastics

These bangles which were part of the display were very eye-catching and date from the 60s and 70s (I think!). Carole from 'Vintage Treasures', who has been nominated in the category 'Best Vintage Shop' in the Homes & Antiques Awards had a stall with us for the first time, the Vintage Treasures shop itself can be found in Hinckley.

'Vintage Treasures'

The Royal Pump Rooms are Grade 2 Listed and were built in the early 1800s and provide us with a great home for the day, the stalls filled the main hall, pretty conservatory and lobby.

The Main Hall - Royal Pump Rooms

The conservatory luxuriated in the natural light which flooded through the large Georgian windows and glass roof, the ceramics, glass and costume jewellery on display looked wonderful.

A Peek Into The Conservatory

Jo from 'Lost Property Vintage' has a stall at many of our fairs and always has a nice selection of original wares and who I must also thank for some of the photos used in this post.

Lost Property Vintage In The Conservatory

The colonnaded front of the Royal Pump Rooms exudes a sense of permanence and undeniable grandeur and we would like to thank everyone who came along on Sunday. The matter of whether to return to Leamington for a second fair was made simple to resolve by the amount of positive comments received from stall holders and guests. The fair will be returning in July or October.

The Path To The Fair

I could not resist popping outside to take a snap of the immaculate green and cream Rolls Royce which pulled up outside the fair.

Grandeur At The Leamington Spa Vintage Fair

I would like to apologise to the ladies who arrived with their pet dogs and who sadly could not come in, dogs are very welcome at our fairs however sometimes venues do not allow them and we of course respect this. I was very happy to see this cute chap on wheels who went home to his new family and many thanks to the kindly gentleman who waited patiently for me to take the picture.

A Very Cute Dog On Wheels

Our stalls selling clothes attracted a lot of attention and looked great in the sumptuous surroundings of the main hall, many thanks to Sarah from 'Hickory Vintage', Vicky from Dulcie Britain and Amy from Hand Me Down Vintage.

Hickory Vintage

There were also some very nice dresses and bags made from lovely original vintage fabrics. Handbags, hats, gloves, accessories and costume jewellery have always been popular and it is great that specialist vintage fashion stalls has become part of the fair in the last few months. 

Lovely Summer Dresses

Statues looked over the fair from the four corners and added to the opulence of the scene.

The Statue Was Not For Sale

It was great to see Debbie from the Brackley Antique Cellar who returned home with this fantastic Noddy money box which is over three feet high! I will write in more detail about the Antique Cellar in a later post,  it is a great place to spend a few hours and has been voted one of the top five centres in the country in the Homes & Antiques Awards 2013! The winner will be announced soon.

"If You Watch The Pennies... "

We found this cute tea-set decorated with seagulls, it is from the Dartmouth Pottery in Devon.

Tea Anyone?

I have always found seagulls and other large sea birds amusing and remember once sheltering from their swooping attacks as I guarded a bag of chips in a quay in Ilfracombe.

Devonshire Pottery

I took some Harrod's bottles which I found in a shop in Kettering along to the fair and they attracted quite a bit lot of attention, I am not sure what they were manufactured to contain but I think they would look nice in a bathroom.

Harrod's At The Fair!

We enjoyed the day in Leamington very much and we hope that you did too. Our next fair is taking place in Northampton at St Matthews, it is where we held our first ever fair and if the weather is good there will lots of stalls outside on the lawn in the walled garden (in addition to the two rooms of stalls inside).

Saturday 4th May

Best wishes and see you at the fair.

Monday, 8 April 2013

A Charity Shop Find And The Way To Leamington Spa

Spotted Today In 'Age Concern' Northampton
This afternoon I popped into one of my local charity shops and found this baking guide, I always call in whenever I am passing, it only takes a minute and who knows what one might find! 
That I had time to call in was a bit of a miracle as I am very busy with preparations for Sunday!

The Fair Is On It's Way - By Rail, Road and Foot
We are really looking forward to visiting Leamington Spa for the first time, our home for the day will be the Grade 2 Listed Royal Pump Rooms which are situated on The Parade. The Parade runs through the centre of Leamington and is lined with fine Georgian buildings, independent shops and the rather grand Town Hall which is protected by a robust looking statue of Queen Victoria.

The Parade Leamington Spa

The Pump Rooms are situated at the end of the Parade opposite the Jephson Gardens in what was once a meadow of the River Leam. Inside there will be two rooms of stalls selling lots of original homeware items and accessories from the 1930s-1960s as well as vintage inspired handmade created from original materials.

The Royal Pump Rooms  Leamington Spa  CV32 4AA
The fair starts at 11am and will end at 4pm. The Pump Rooms have a cafe which serves both hot and cold snacks and Leamington itself has lots of lovely individual places to eat or get a cup of Earl Grey.
If you would like to have a look at the fair's Facebook page please click the red text.

Vintage in the Shires Is Coming To Town
Alice who joined us for 'Vintage in the Park' on a very snowy day in March has just blogged about the fair, you can find the article, "H&A at Vintage In The Park - A fabulous day vintiquing at Abington Park Northampton", on Homes & Antiques website.

Thank You For Joining Us

When I visited Leamington last week I had a good walk around the town and enjoyed going into some shops and cafes that will be of interest to lovers of all things 'vintage'.

Magpie - 37 Warwick Street

I really like the look of Magpie and there are lots of things for ladies and children but sadly not gentlemen.

Braderie - 51 Warwick Street

However of great interest to gents who like tweeds and vintage overcoats should be Braderie of 
51 Warwick Street, I spotted a very nice Aquascutum in moss green wool/cashmere. There were also loads of original pieces for ladies and some interesting vintage toys and ephemera dotted around which added to the appeal of this well stocked shop.

Berylune - 45 Park Street
Just a few yards away you will find Berylune at 45 Park Street, walking past at a pace as I had an appointment I was drawn inside by the very eye-catching window display. Inside I found a great range of new vintage styled gifts along with some well chosen original pieces. I found the shop very appealing, the displays were very colourful and the place is well worth a visit.

The Lovely Back Room At Berylune

I also (very predictably) found time for tea for two, well actually tea for one (me) taken in two lovely establishments.

Vinteas - 16 Park Street

I had my first Early Grey of the day in Vinteas and enjoyed  a very nice Lemon Drizzle, they have some lovely vintage items on display and they present tea and cakes using lovely old china.

Corleone Caffe - 108 Regent Street

I cannot recommend the Corleone Caffe enough, it is full of images of 'old Sicily' and is an authentic and very pleasant place to spend an hour. The displays of fresh Mediterranean produce, cured ham and strings of garlic along with old packaging create a great ambience.

Vintage Treasures - 5 The Lawns  Hinckley

We have some great stalls lined up for the fair on Sunday including Vintage Treasures from Hinckley, it is a lovely shop to visit and has been nominated for the best vintage shop in Homes & Antiques Awards 2013.

Madame Medusa Beauty

Laura from Madame Medusa Vintage will be joining us for vintage styling including 'Victory Rolls' and period makeup, please follow the link by clicking the highlighted text to visit Laura's Facebook page. Appointments can be made by email: madamemedusabeauty@gmail.com

See You At The Fair

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

'Vintage in the Park' & A New Face For 2013

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.

Follow The Tracks To The Fair
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.

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.

Hats Abound
The stalls stretched out around the corridors and took best advantage of the very interesting backdrop provided by the museum displays. On the day hats (and Wellingtons!) were 'de rigueur' and everyone who arrived without one had ample chance to select one from the many on offer.

More Hats
Accessories such as hats, gloves and original vintage costume jewellery are always well represented at our fairs and attract a lot of interest.

Once Upon A Time In 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).

Vintage Picnic
When I first arranged the fair back in August last year I envisaged spring flowers and picnics in the park, one of our first guests to arrive quipped that there wasn't much picnicking going on!

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.

Lost Property Vintage
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!

My Favourite Picture From The Day
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.