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Mr Bailey says the company was wound up shortly after the resignation of two of its non-executive directors, who were the main source of investment, redirected their money into their interests in the IT business world.

The Basildon, Essex-based organiser cited the growing corporate domination of the antiques fairs as among the reasons for his downfall.

He told the Antiques Trade Gazette: “The fairs scene has seen some remarkable changes over the past decade where the smaller organisers with a string of fairs have had to compete with the larger organisers who own their venues.

“The increasing number of these events takes a large slice out of the market. Exhibitors’ mass support for the larger fairs means less and less provincial events in future and the danger here is that dealers’ livelihoods will possibly have to rest on perhaps six events a year.”

Mr Bailey also blamed cash flow for his problems, saying: “While there are many loyal exhibitors who support us, the handful who delay or do not pay have a dramatic impact on the more modest organisers. Any dealer can sympathise with a situation where if your service or stock is not paid for once sold, your future trading pattern can be seriously upset.”

Robert Bailey has always been a colourful and sometimes controversial character in the fairs world where his activities have caused much comment.

He started organising fairs 16 years ago with an event at The Swan, Harrogate and at one time was staging 38 fairs a year at 18 venues.

But many observers considered the independent-minded organiser as over-ambitious. Typical of his approach was the launch in June of The Manchester International Antiques and Fine Art Fair at the G-Mex Centre in the heart of the city.

That fair was thought by many to have potential, but was hardly a short-term money-making venture and much was spent on the first outing.

Manchester, like Bailey’s flagship London fair at Claridge’s, is no more, but from the large Bailey roster Robert Bailey himself will continue for the time being with The Northern Antiques Fair in Harrogate and Tatton Park in Cheshire.

“I hope to retain a foothold in the industry,” he said.