Finds of the Fair 10th November 2019

1950s Triang toy van, £55.00 from All Our Yesterdays:

What small boy, of any age, could resist such a grand tin-plate van? This model, a Transport Van No.200, made in England is in remarkable condition for its age and especially so with all of the original tyres intact and a working steering wheel. The van stands about a foot tall and would make an imposing centrepiece for a display of vintage toys – just as long as you can avoid playing with it….

The Elegan Guaranteed Shingling Clipper, £3.00 from Emily Lashford:

In an environmentally concerned world many of us are moving away from modern throwaway goods, going back to old tools that are made to last. A few years ago I stopped using aerosol shaving foam and then disposable razor blades – for three years the only waste to be thrown from my shave is the wrapper from the shaving soap about once a year. My shaving brush is already a good few years old and my newest razor is older than me. So this trimmer made me wonder whether it is time to stop using electric trimmers for beards and such. It also made we wonder what “shingling” actually means – my friend Google says it is a haircut originating from the 1920s, a kind of bob cut very short at the back. Not sure it would suit me, but if you need the clippers….

Box of Christmas baubles, £10.00 from Allsortz:

Allsortz had a lovely box full of vintage Christmas baubles and no sooner had I seen them than my wife, Maggie, bought them and off I went carrying them carefully to the car for safekeeping. We always have a soft spot for vintage decorations and Christmas and tend to shy away from anything too modern.

Silver charms, £10.00 each from Judy’s Hidden Treasures:

There is something special about silver that I find much more interesting than gold (maybe being allergic to gold has some effect on my thinking) and charms have so much detail to add even more interest. Alongside her other jewellery Julie has several of these cards full of charms and aside from the intended use on bracelets they make really nice hanging decorations as gifts for almost anyone – in the picture we have a traditional heart locket, fish, baskets, boats, note-holders, animals, vehicles and musical instruments. Lovely, or charming perhaps….

Vintage bottles, £2.00 to £6.00 each from Lucy Lu Vintage:

My wife buys and sells vintage bottles and has taught me about the different types. I myself have a growing collection because I love them and seem to struggle to part with them once I’ve acquired them. It is from Maggie that I learned to recognise ink bottles like the small blue one at the front of this image and as a user of fountain pens and dip pens for writing and artwork they have a particular resonance for me. As a photographer I really like the way the light works with the glass and the subtle colour effects. Once again thanks to the stallholder for letting me rearrange these bottles just to make a photo.

Feather pins, £4.00 each from Re-Loved:

Feathers can keep their natural colours for many years and the examples here are mainly Edwardian but look as good as new. The stallholder has mounted the Edwardian feathers onto the decorative holders which pin to your clothes as a brooch. She explained to me that all of the feathers in her stall are naturally shed from birds in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and have not come from dead birds. I’m just taken by the colours and alongside a pot of naturally shed peacock tail feathers these really caught my eye.

Handmade bobbin trees, £3.50 each from Hessian:

These lovely little trees are a novel way of using some vintage cotton bobbins. The stallholder has made these in a wide variety of colours to blend nicely with the colours of the thread. This is an ideal size Christmas tree for home and although it won’t hold much in the way of baubles and tinsel it won’t block the view through the windows either. Every computer monitor or desk ought to have one of these for the festive season. The book converted into a clock is another creative speciality of Hessian and you can find a title and colour of cover to meet your needs.

Tailoring scissors / shears, £25.00 from The Grand Collector:

Tools used to be made to last and these large heavy duty scissors are a prime example of traditional high quality working tools. Even after many years they still function as well as modern specialist scissors costing several times the price of these vintage examples. I often see similar scissors at antique fairs and the like and they’ve been polished to within an inch of their lives and are used purely for display but I much prefer these as they carry their history with them. As a writer I can imagine where they’ve been, who has used them and the stories they’ve been a part of; did they cut the cloth for uniforms, or suits or dresses for special occasions or were they in the kit of a servant used for making and mending for the better off? Might they have cut the brown paper for parcels, or the strings that tied them – the possibilities are endless. I wonder what others might imagine….

Hello, I’m Seamus, Finder of the Fair for November. I’m a poet, writer, photographer, image maker and help people develop those skills in workshops as well as working with community groups and teaching part time.

I’ve been coming to the Vintage Village for a few years with my wife, Maggie, who loves all things vintage. I love the quality of many vintage items which were really made to last and have a growing collection of photographic equipment, hand-tools and office equipment – and of course as a poet I love to read I’ve a growing collection of vintage and antique books. I buy lots of items as props for my close up and macro photography and I really ought to get around to selling them on afterwards so that others can enjoy them.

You can find my work on Instagram, my website and Etsy.

Rocky Robin Christmas Cake, £6.50, from Stuart Thornley Cake Design:

From a range of cakes for Christmas this little Rocky Robin really stood out. Having bought cakes from Stuart, and his dad, previously I know it will taste as good as it looks. Designs are all by Stuart himself, but his dad likes to help out when he can – especially when making the round cakes like the robin which are trimmed into shape from regular circular cakes – well someone has to clear up the trimmings don’t they?

Vintage baking equipment, £4.00 to £12.00 from Maureen:

As we head towards Christmas a selection of lovely vintage baking equipment caught my eye. Making Christmas cake or pudding without an old Mason Cash bowl or mince pies in a modern baking tray surely just isn’t the done thing.

Very large 500 watt lamp, £5.00 from Martin Brown:

The lamp, which we tend to call a bulb, is much larger than normal domestic versions and can provide lots of light by using lots of electricity very quickly. This is the type of lamp used in old photographic studios or workplaces and looks to be in perfect condition. I’m always a sucker for reflections and stallholder Martin was happy for me to rearrange his items to get a nice image.

Coronet folding bellows camera, £18.00 from We Used to Have One of Those:

I’ve been interested in photography for a long time and have a growing collection of vintage cameras going back around 100 years. I always go to have browse on this stall where there is always a wealth of vintage photographic gear as well as a wide range of prints and documents and other vintage goods that most of us have owned or come across over the years. The Coronet camera, complete with its case, is a lovely example of a vintage camera made in Birmingham which would have been sold as an easy to use and modern camera. With a little cleaning, cameras like this can still be used and create lovely images with an evocative atmosphere which is hard to replicate digitally. They also look great on a shelf and an English brand makes a nice change from the ubiquitous Kodak models.

Brass blowlamp by Max Sievert of Stockholm, Sweden, £16.00 from Dave and Gill Collectables:

As a young man I was always fascinated by the tools my dad, a joiner by trade, used to carry out all sorts of jobs around the house and in his workshop. The blowlamp was always fascinating, as anything with potential to cause harm generally is for small children, and although we’d get to watch we were not allowed to use it ourselves. The heat, the smell and the pump action are all brought back by this really nice (posher than my Dad’s) version from a top maker in Sweden. I also love the way that companies put their stamp of quality on goods in the past “BEWARE OF IMITATIONS”. An excellent find.

Butchers’ scales, £80.00 from Anna’s Attic:

As a young man I was always fascinated by the scales used in local shops which enabled the butcher, fishmonger or grocer to weigh goods and immediately read off a price. The scales have the prices per pound along the pointer which indicates the weight of the goods and then alongside each of those prices on the pointer the shopkeeper could read the price for the quantity being weighed. With prices in shillings and pence and weights in pounds and ounces it is fair to say they don’t make ‘em like that anymore. A lovely visual, tactile and functional reminder of shopping as it used to be.

Ceramic barn owl (and friends), £7.00 from The Side Room:

Perched silently on a shelf a little group of owls watch over the stall and the ceramic barn owl from West German maker Goebbel was just lovely. I don’t collect ceramics but after chatting with the stallholders about all things owl related including the specially adapted silent flight feathers that enable the barn owl to hunt at night and the behaviour of snowy owls I was sorely tempted.