When did the centre open?
It was actually one of the first provincial antique centres, opened in 1967 by dealers Diana Souster and Doris Rayment. It opened at its current location in 1972. The building is more than 300sqm on the central drag through the town and has a yard.
How has it changed?
After 45 years the Rayment family were ready to sell but were determined that the market should continue. Petworth Antiques Market was sold to new owners on April 18, 2014. The rest of that year was dedicated to designing a revamp of the building, the first since the 1980s.
The biggest challenge the centre has faced?
Surviving the previous owner’s death. The building was up for sale for nearly two years. Dealers were stressed to see the future so uncertain. It affected the way they bought and impacted on sales. These days, however, we feel like winners and demand for space is high. All stands are occupied, though there is some cabinet space available – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever had a notable/celebrity visitor?
Prince Charles! And last year we were visited by four huge A-list Hollywood film stars and a Grammy-winning pop star. We like to help everyone blend in but our customers tend to be stylish creatives who stand out.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive in the morning?
Some dealers have already done a day’s work by the time we open and each person can be in a very independent mind-space or time zone. I start by asking each dealer how they are and deal with what they need. I’m there to take the panoptic view and work with that at heart. Up-to-date communication is key to the flow in our market.
What events do you participate in?
Stalling out at the ADFL Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair. We were pleased to be accepted last time and again this year. We also have our own three-day Yard Sale at the centre on the same weekend (May 11-13). These are very different but they give us a chance to show how wide our kaleidoscope of stock is: from rough finds to exceptionally refined.
Petworth Antiques Market Haven Cottage, 3 East Street, GU28 0AB