Published: April 1, 2008
Fashionable Chelsea, in West London, has been home to numerous antiques fairs over the years. Several antiques, art and interior design fairs are also staged on the opposite bank of the river Thames, in Battersea Park. The area has a tradition.
One of Chelsea’s well-established events is the twice-yearly, two-day antiques and collectibles fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall on Kings Road. Ill health had forced one organizer to pass the event onto another exhibitor a few years ago. By that time, and like so many others, it had lost impetus. The new organizers struggled to keep the twice-yearly show on the road.
With only 28 exhibitors, last October’s event threatened to be the last&†until those organizers passed responsibility onto fellow exhibitor Daniel Cotton.
Cotton trades in bulk metals, such as titanium, during the week and, occasionally, in silverware and silver artifacts on weekends. For the past two events, many considered his to be one of the best displays. But this time Cotton and wife Deborah were also the organizers.
Cotton succeeded in doubling exhibitor numbers to 58 (capacity) and had already accumulated ten names on the waiting list. In a matter of months, the event had been turned round from possible cancellation to full capacity.
Although the revitalized spring event had not lost the village or church hall community flavor, there was much more urgency about it. Visitor numbers had almost tripled to 1,400, with those visitors having to take in twice as many stands as before.
About ten percent of the exhibitors offered stock predominantly in the $20 to $200 range with another ten percent at the other end of the spectrum, up to $20,000.
Interior design remains strong in the UK, with a dozen or so of the exhibitors specializing in decorative artifacts, modern and contemporary paintings and fabrics. Half the stallholders were based in London and the surrounding area, while another half had traveled from as far afield as Edinburgh, Scotland.
October’s Little Chelsea promises to be even better than the March event. The waiting list grew from ten to 40 within one week of the fair’s end. That level of competition for spaces is unparalleled in recent years.
The autumn fair is on October 6 and 7; for information, +44 20 7258 1159.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm