Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Ardingly antiques fair

Today I braved the freezing weather to go to my first Antiques and Collectors fair at Ardingly show ground. I've never been to anything like this before so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but to sum it up briefly it was immense, random and cold.

Theses fairs happen all over the country and there seems to be one at Ardingly every couple of months. If you love stuff, GO. There was so much of it; furniture, silverwear, ceramics, more silverware, jewellery, all manner of different stuffed animals. Everything you could ever want, it was there.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular, it was really nice just to walk around (well apart from the fact it was bitterly cold - I imagine it would be much better in the spring). It was an amazing place to take photos, there were so many weird and wonderful things to photograph, but I did feel a little inhibited taking them of peoples stalls mostly because no one else was. As a result I did miss some great photos, next time I will be more bold, or perhaps sneaky.

Most of the fair is outside, but at Ardingly there is also a lot inside, and this was mainly the smaller stuff which I didn't find as interesting as the bigger random bits outside. But there were some lovely things to be found.

I was hoping to find some lovely vintage fabric, but there wasn't a great deal of textiles. I did find a few stalls selling old bits of lace and old clothes and scarves that had potential. There was one lovely stand with some dress patterns, loving the illustration on these.

Also, if you live in a flat and need some pointers on how to survive, it may be worth trying to find this book...

There was some beautiful hardware to be found, great if you were trying to refurbish a Victorian house, these door handles looked so pretty all lined up...

One little stall had a tonne of sewing notions and equipment,

Random seller award to this guy, old school footballs, wooden skis and a toy car. All it's missing is a stuffed badger, but not to worry, there were plenty of those elsewhere, along with stuffed squirrels, ferrets, deer, birds, foxes, next time I go, I will played stuff animal bingo, want to play too?

In the end I bought nothing, the only thing I came close to buying was a french book of kids clothes from the 20's/30's which would have made an amazing source book but it was incredibly expensive.

Exciting other random occurrences from the day, my friend and I turned a corner to see money everywhere fluttering all over the path. People were picking it up and naturally we pitched in too. Most of the crowd dispersed quickly leaving us with the money we collected and that of an old lady who was keen to hand it over. We handed it in of course, much to the horror of the stewards who we asked for help. We found £250, I think at least double that was blowing around.

Also, we saw actual Cath Kidston, carrying around some pretty textiles for inspiration, of course, what else would she be doing? stuffed animal bingo maybe, I expect she has been before.


  1. I actually went to a mum friends house and was confronted with a huge stuffed badger. Apparently her partners mums friend 'rescued' roadkill. That's when I knew she must really love her husband.

    And I don't know how I survived my time in London WITHOUT that book.

  2. What a great day! (So says me, who begrudgingly went to Tesco/WHSmith for some free Lego, so anything else sounds fab!)
    Love the photos too, especially the fruit picker's ladders, could just imagine one or two lined up with some scrummy fabric hanging over the rungs.

  3. I would so love to go there. Or any other large fair for that matter but I'm rubbish at getting up early and then there's always the kids to palm off (oops!). Perhaps in the Spring, as you suggest. Great to see your photos, thank you x

  4. I normally go to Ardingly with my father (he is the most perfect shopping companion for that type of thing), but as it's half term I haven't gone to this one. My favourite random seller is a Dutch man who comes armed with hundreds of wooden sledges...I feel fascinated by where he's found them all & have wondered whether he might be found on the slopes in the winter stealing them from small children...


  5. We went to the Newbury version, which is clearly smaller - my first time and I loved the randomness of it!

  6. Amy, tolerating a stuffed badger in the home is clearly love, yuk!!
    Flying Blind, thank you for telling me they are fruit pickers ladders, I did wonder, and you are right, they would look perfect with fabric draped on them.
    Kate, no early start required, we got there about 10 (after having palmed the kids off!!)
    Florence, I'd forgotten about the sledges, a missed photo op of the huge tower of old fashioned sledges. Surely there are some sad kids back in Holland missing their sledges?!
    Ali, I'm not sure it needed to be so big, a lot was very similar, and we did get repeatedly lost as a result!