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Hosted in a venue built in 1904 for floral exhibitions, the temperature at the start of January’s Adams Antiques Fair in London resembled that of a hothouse.

Business at 144 stalls, under the glass vaulted ceiling of the Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria, was fast and furious on Sunday, January 20. Buyers headed straight for favourite dealers who stall out regularly at the monthly event affectionately known as the ‘Horti’.

Things calmed down by around noon as a more leisurely pace of trade took hold.

Jewellery and silver stalls dominate this event and consensus is the fair is more trade than public. Indeed, ATG witnessed some serious inter-dealing going on, with objects moving from stall to stall.


Former dealer Matthew Adams founded Adams Antiques Fairs in 1989, celebrating its 30th birthday this year. He has “always been a one-day fair organiser. I love getting in and out in one day”.

Fair founder and owner Matthew Adams said he aims “for a wide price range, so for instance there’s silver on sale here today for £13 right up to £13,000, and everything in between”.

Adams also believes he has cracked the issue of early-leaver stall-holders.

“Just before we close at 4.30pm, when rents have already been collected, we put stall-holders’ names into a hat and my granddaughter pulls a name out,” he said.

“If that exhibitor hasn’t started wrapping and packing up, they get their rent back.”

For buyers it means extra time to cross-check objects across stalls and on the web.

“People buy right up to the end, you know, having mulled their purchases for a while,” Adams said. “They’re inspired to finally purchase when they know time’s up.”

Adams Antiques Fairs

Founded: 1989

Venue: Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria, London SW1

When: monthly on a Sunday

Specialities: jewellery, silver, small collectables