Adrian Gilmour, co-owner of the Hungerford Arcade, with Norwegian dealer Erik Thorbjørnsen.

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He says: “All our 115 dealers have a spring in their step and a whole new purpose, queuing up to come in to the arcade to clean their units and completely restock.”

Rita Kibble, a dealer at the centre, said: “Opening day on April 12 cannot come soon enough for all of us.” During lockdown the arcade was busy replacing all the lighting with ‘green energy’ LED units to lower C02 emissions.

Gilmour is pictured above in 2019 with Norwegian dealer Erik Thorbjørnsen, who owns an antiques business in the popular holiday destination of Hvasser, an island on the Oslo Fjord.

A regular customer at the arcade but unable to visit the UK during the pandemic, and desperate for stock, he asked the staff to photograph and video items he was interested in. Two weeks later the shippers picked up 500-plus items including tables, blue and white china, bird baths, planters, bench ends, columns, lamps – the list was endless, said Gilmour.

Cumbrian high life

Vincent Page, owner of Antiques on High in Oxford and Sidmouth is opening a third AoH. Along with the other two centres this new venture will open for business on April 12, in the tourist honeypot of Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria.

More on this in a future issue.