2623 Samantha Buckle

Samantha Buckle with commemoratives from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation pictured at Arthur Swallow Fairs’ home and salvage event at Ripley Castle near Harrogate which took place on coronation day, May 6.

Alice Roberton for Arthur Swallow Fairs

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Coronation fever gripped the nation this year when King Charles III and Queen Camilla were crowned at Westminster Abbey in May. Pride and confidence were in abundance and in a small way this column can also put out flags for 2023.

Here are some of the year’s shout-outs which have been particularly reflected by strong performances on the fairs scene. First up are two events whose untimely deaths were premature.

Ally Pally return

Paul Kelly resurrected the annual Alexandra Palace Antiques and Collectors’ Fair after its 40-year run ended in November 2022. A former director of Nelson Events when it ran events at the venue from 2008-14, Kelly boldly launched a new fair at the ‘People’s Palace’ on July 2. Next year’s provisional date is June 9 with Kelly asking for more dealers to sign up to it.


Isle of Wight Glass’ stand at the launch of Premier Glass Fairs in Stourbridge in October.

Along with many others, glass collector Richard Burtonshaw was devastated at the loss of Specialist Glass Fairs which ended in 2020 and decided to put on his own ‘glass act’. As Premier Glass Fairs it launched on October 22 at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge.

The event went so well that Burtonshaw has two new dates next year in the West Midlands: a glass and ceramics fair at Cranmore Park in Solihull in May 12, while September 28 is set for a glass fair at Himley Hall in Dudley.

Elsewhere on the fairs scene, Arthur Swallow Fairs moved into the lush surroundings of Cirencester Park in early June for its inaugural three-day annual decorative and salvage show in the park. Celebrities spotted included actor and avid collector Richard Grant who declared the event was the perfect place to “snuffle out gubbins”.

2623 Gerard Coles

Dealer Gerard Coles gazes lovingly into the eyes of an antique creature at the Church Street Antiques Fair in London in June.

The annual Church Street Antiques Fair in London returned in June after a four-year absence. It was declared a cracker with calls for it to be a more regular occurrence, perhaps even monthly.

In July the newly formed Classic Antique Fairs announced the launch in December of a new high-end antiques fair at the National Exhibition Centre (NAEC) at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. The venue was switched to Birmingham’s NEC, the former home of Art & Antiques for Everyone, which ended in 2022.

Blackdog Events added to its portfolio of events in Suffolk with a brocante held on the Raynham Estate in August as well as a fleamarket at the Debach Airfield, near Woodbridge in October.

Depp dips in

News from the antiques centres leads with Hemswell Antique Centres in Lincolnshire announcing that sales in 2023 have gone through the roof with the strongest trading results ever, and the business plans a major expansion at one of the four centres.

In March Hollywood star Johnnie Depp dropped in by helicopter to Hemswell Antique Centres and was pictured with Robert Miller, MD of the centres.

A second antiques centre opened on the Dodwell Trading Estate, outside Stratford-on-Avon. Hudson’s now joins Top Dog Antiques which arrived on the estate in 2022.

So busy has Aspal Antiques been in Stowmarket, Suffolk, that the centre’s owners have opened the Aspal Emporium on the same site which includes a reclamation yard.

Maria Campton and Wendy Osmond opened Castle Cary Antiques and Interiors, an antiques centre in Castle Cary, Somerset, near Bruton, now a buzzing hub of contemporary design and antiques businesses and a major art gallery.

Antiques on High’s owner Vincent Page took over the Montpellier Mews Antiques Market in Harrogate and has now branched out by launching an auction house in Taunton with the first auction set to be held in January.


Meet young Ollie, a keen antiques enthusiast pictured in February at one of the Wilton Vintage Fairs which run in the village of Wilton, near Salisbury and where he is a regular.