Above: Newark Castle, last Thursday, with early morning sun streaming through the windows.
Newark, Nottinghamshire - Newark's International Antiques and Collectors Fair was held on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th October. Thursday was a beautifully sunny day with a slight chill in the air and the car park was busier than usual at 9.30am as people arrived at the Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground where it is held.
A handful of trade could be spotted mulling around, though architectural antiques seemed a bit thin on the ground. There was slightly more in the way of garden furniture and ornament. Hugh Chudley of Mark Chudley International Shippers was busily packing up a van, and called out 'It's busy, isn't it!?' Mark and Kim from Morris Interiors, Shepton Mallet were visiting for the first time in three years. Adam Hills from Retrouvius, London had found a few bargains. Linda North had a pitch and was merrily buying away. Guy Trench, who also had a pitch was, by midday, off on his bike enjoying the sunshine. And with the only big display of antique brassware, Carol and Terry Sparke were buzzing after a big sale earlier that morning.
Rachel Everett from IACF said today that 'Newark was much busier last week than previous months. A combination of things helped; those who have closed shops down, or left antiques centres are relying solely on antique fairs to sell, and with the end of the recession in sight, there seems to be spurge of buying going on too. We saw it happen around 1996, after the last recession when Newark was really at it's peak'.
All the talk at Newark was of the previous two days which saw Arthur Swallow's Antiques & Home Show move from RAF Swinderby to the Lincolnshire Showground, and IACF, who bought Newark from the DMG Group in June 2009, set up a sister fair to Newark at RAF Swinderby on the same two days as Lincoln.
The Lincolnshire Showground is 10 minutes drive from Lincoln and 25 minutes drive from Newark. At Newark, Joe Sutton said 'Lincoln is a lovely new site with really nice feel. We're all trying to get used to not calling it 'Swinderby'. The two 'Swallow' sons were there and doing a great job.' The Lincolnshire Showground has just had a seven million pound makeover, and now boasts a new state of the art eco-friendly building, complete with marble floors, heating, and baby changing facilities.
There were rumours that IACF's sister antiques fair at Swinderby had been slow. Rachel Everett of IACF said 'It was decided that IACF would keep a fair running at RAF Swinderby in order to keep Newark strong. So the two shows could work in sympathy with each other, as the foreign dealers especially like to visit the two sites one after the other.' The Swinderby exhibitors seem to have split 25/75 between the old and new sites with 650 exhibiting at Swinderby in October and about 2,500 at Lincolnshire. To lure more people out during the winter months IACF are offering free entry to buyers on both days at Swinderby in December, and entry for buyers on Thursday at Newark in December is £10 instead of £20, and on Friday £5 instead of £10.
ICAF, Newark and Swinderby. Tel: 01636 702326
Arthur Swallow Fairs, Lincoln. Tel: 01298 27493