As fair organiser Kate Button puts it: “I’m out of lockdown mode and back to a full inbox.” Here we focus on dealers and events in the antiques-rich counties of Suffolk and Norfolk.
Button, an antiques dealer and Blackdog Events fair organiser, is relaunching her spring and summer fairs in Suffolk starting with Glemhall Hall, eight miles from Aldeburgh, on Saturday, May 16. Around 70 dealers will be setting up in the hall’s parkland.
“There’s been a ‘wow’ response from regular dealers, most of whom are from East Anglia, for the May 16 brocante, some of whom have also booked for all five of the remaining year’s fairs,” says Button. “Plus we have some newcomers including French Atelier Antiques, Les Dilettantes and Bay Tree Interiors.”
Feeling of joy
“There is definitely the feeling of joy that living with beautiful rugs, antiques and artworks can bring, especially when we have all had to be at home for such sustained periods of time,” muses Sarah Cannell.
The Cannells’ two antiques businesses have now reopened, one on the Raveningham Estate in south Norfolk and the other with six other dealers at Bayfield Hall, near Holt in north Norfolk.
Dealer Mal Cannell specialises in rugs and Sarah, his daughter, says: “Mal is busily buying new stock online and we are tentatively thinking of doing Ardingly, Lincoln or Kempton. In the meantime we’re having good numbers of customers returning to buy rugs and furniture.”
She adds: “It feels like the antiques business has a good future as it is so environmentally positive with the restoration and reuse of existing objects.”
Last October we ran a piece on Teresa Potts’ plans to open an antiques centre in the Suffolk town of Woodbridge later in the year following planning permission for former Red Cross training centre which had been empty for four years.
Due to the pandemic the delay was even longer than she had anticipated but finally Theatre Street Antiques was opened in April by Stephanie Connell of the TV show Antiques Roadtrip and Potts was able to get behind the counter at the centre.
She says: “It’s been great to become part of such a independent shopping community in Woodbridge and we are excited about what’s to come for the centre.”
Two other antiques centres in and around Woodbridge have reopened as restrictions ease.
A few miles away in the Suffolk countryside is Marlesford Mill, a 30-dealer centre which is set in a three-storey early-20th century grain mill.
The Woodbridge Antiques Centre by the quay has been running since 2007 and has a thriving online presence, particularly jewellery and small silver items.
Zoe Durrant’s Little Vintage Lover Fair in the grounds of Mannington Hall, a moated medieval country house near Norwich, was last seen in May 2019. Now though she is happy to say that “Mannington is on” two years later, with 30 vintage stands on Sunday, May 23. “We’re keeping it to that so that we can create more space between stands,” she adds.
However, the planned fair in the privately owned village of Heydon, near Reepham in Norfolk on Sunday, August 8, is cancelled because of concerns about the numbers of people coming to the village for the event.
Earlier this year we featured Henrietta Lewis and Alan Knight, who own the Diss Emporium in Norfolk, describing their plans to expand the business and open a 3000 sq ft antiques centre at Stonham Barns Park, near Stowmarket in Suffolk.
These plans have come to fruition thanks to a Covid-19 business support grant, and with their business partners Wendy and Alf Faulkner, the Knights opened Aspal Antiques last month.
Knight says: “So far business has been encouraging but obviously we need people to get to know we are there. Diss Emporium, which we launched two years ago, has been really busy so that’s also good news.’’
The two couples are also launching a monthly mid-week antiques, vintage and salvage fair at Stonham Barns Showground with the first on Monday, May 10.