AFTER more than 40 years the Chelsea Antiques Fair is to become an annual rather than bi-annual event. From next year owner Caroline Penman will drop the March staging.

The Chelsea Antiques Fair is one of the country’s very oldest, founded in 1950 and still held at Chelsea Old Town Hall in King’s Road, SW3. It was launched as an annual September fair but in the late 1950s a March date was added and has remained a fixture on the London antiques scene ever since.

Caroline Penman acquired the fair almost 20 years ago and has worked successfully to maintain the quality of the two events. However – while the September fair managed sales – recent March fairs have struggled.

For the past couple of years the now well established BADA Antiques and Fine Art Fair, held less than a mile away on the same road, has taken on Chelsea head-to-head and with 100 top dealers in a glamorous marquee the March Chelsea with around 35 exhibitors could not compete, even if a handful of dealers tried showing at both.

The move of the Spring Olympia from a late February to a permanent March slot is another factor in Mrs Penman’s understandable decision not to attempt to carry on a fixture which has been squeezed out by bigger events with bigger budgets.

• The Chicago O’Hare Fall Antiques Show scheduled for October 31-November 1-2 has been cancelled after insufficient dealers committed to the 27-year-old event. Gordon Merkle of Dolphin Promotions blamed a slump in the US fairs scene and competition from a number of shows on the East Coast for the decision.