Nothing could prepare us for the enormity of the Arthur Swallow Fair at Lincoln Show Ground. Having visited the small and intimate one at Loseley, I imagined something similar, and actually went to see some of the same sellers as I wanted more fabulous French finds.
This show is humungous. We got caught in traffic so arrived a few hours later than planned, which meant the pressure was on to get all around the fair. Upon arrival we were utterly gobsmacked, I think myself and Tamsyn must have said "oh my God" about fifty times before we decided to sit and have a bacon butty to calm us down.
So prepare yourself if you visit, make a day of it and expect to do a lot of walking. One could easily make it a two day visit.
Whatever you are looking for there will not just be one or two of that unusual thing, but tens and twenties of them. Some sellers having travelled from France and Germany just had a van full of one type of antique. It was simply overwhelming.
Take a friend and lots of spare bags to carry all your goodies, the prices are so good you won't be able to resist. It's good to have in your mind the price you would normally pay for vintage items so that you recognise a bargain, but just expect that the sellers here are very reasonable as they sell to trade.
While I would suggest having a list of what you are trying to find, so that you can stay focused, I will also contradict myself by saying, 'keep an open mind' as you simply cannot predict what you will come across. And then, just when you think that you have covered the enormous field, you find another one at the end! I nearly collapsed!
My photos here are a bit random, and taken last minute as I was totally distracted but I hope will at least give you a taste of the size and quality of this fair.
This weekend I was staying in a Canopy & Stars Yurt in Norfolk, near to where Tamsyn Morgans lives, so she hopped on board for the trip. I was so pleased she could make it, sometimes you need a girlfriend to help you decide. Having said that, my Other Half found a vintage piece of musical equipment which he bought for under 15 and is worth 250, so he was a bit smug there.
The next Lincoln show is in October, and we decided to treat this as a preliminary reccy, so we could save up and return with a plan.
My reason for going was to track down the wonderful Gaelle of GZ Badboys (thats her dogs), and pick up some more french linens. I will be doing a totally separate post about these and the other decorative items I found. I'm sure Tamsyn will also be posting her pics of the lovely glass kilner jars, galvanized dolly tub and victorian tile, styled to perfection I expect.
For more fairs like this simply check the Arthur Swallow website, they seem to have built a very good list of dealers from all over Europe. Happy hunting.