Please meet our Finder for the December Vintage Village Christmas Crackers Fair, who was kind (mad?) enough to volunteer herself with only a few days notice, thanks to the powers of Twitter. Not only does our Finder have a discerning eye for vintage pieces and a talent for composing pleasing and entertaining text - as you will clearly see - but she bravely fought her way through a rotten cold to complete these Finds of the Fair for us. Over to you . . .
I’m Louise (Twitter @louisebolotin) and I’m a fulltime freelance writer and editor. When I’m not working, much of my spare time is devoted to food but also “stuff”. I like old stuff and I’m sure this stems from a childhood of being hauled round charity shops by my mother in search of books, bric-a-brac and even clothes. The habit has stuck – I still dress myself from Oxfam if I spot nice vintage threads and I love to rummage for old cookery books and obscure dictionaries. I’m currently collecting vintage glass – my dresser is full of 40s wine glasses and also champagne saucers, whose decadence has gone out of fashion in favour of po-faced flutes.
As it happened, at time of writing I was in the process of researching Greater Manchester’s more interesting markets away from the city centre. So when I got the call to be a Finder, how could I resist?
1950s side dishes, £6 from Tea for Two Vintage:
I absolutely loved these Atomic curved dishes from the 1950s. Rebecca explained that they were actually side servers for vegetables, shaped to sit snugly alongside a dinner plate. We agreed they’d also be fabulous for serving nibbles on to guests. These were probably my top find and I wanted to buy them but I didn’t want to schlep them round with me. If I’d been smart I would have bought them and collected them later. Of course, when I returned they had been sold to another sharp-eyed customer. Sob.
1970s phone, £60 from All Mod Cons:
Dial phones are definitely coming back into fashion and the only reason I don’t have one is because you can’t access digital phone services on them – not much use when you’re ringing a call centre. This timeless GPO design was around for decades until BT started phasing it out in the early 80s. Chris refurbishes them to work on a modern phone line – the unusual two-tone here is from recycling parts from different phones made in the late 1970s. It’s certainly striking.
1930s tea set, £65 from Serendipity:
It would have been impossible to walk past this tea set and miss it, it gleamed so brightly. It was both retro and modern. I do like a decent-size teapot and this one came with a thermal lining inside that shiny metal jacket. Once the water’s in with the tea, all you have to do is pop the cover on to keep it warm. Tea cosies are so over! My coffee machine drips filter coffee into a double-walled steel thermos jug and I always wondered why no one had invented a teapot that stayed hot – well, they did. This was so mint it still had the original tag on it. Karen and I wondered if it had been a wedding present that had been kept in a display cabinet.
Gentleman’s set, £10 from Retrodec:
Aileen had a fantastic selection of vintage furs and we chatted about a 40s cape that was probably made of wolf. But I’m sure any man who travels would be pleased to have this gentlemen’s set from the 1970s. The tan leather case was immaculate and all the contents were intact (the canisters are for a toothbrush, shaving brush and aftershave). Someone else obviously liked it too as next time I walked past, Aileen had sold it.
Breadbin set, £8 from Retrofunky:
My final pick was this kitchen set. As a child in the 60s and 70s, melamine was everywhere – it was popular because it was hard-wearing, almost unbreakable and was often very brightly coloured. Our kitchen was brimful with melamine beakers, plates and more. This 60s breadbin is highly unusual, though. I assumed the huge pots on top were matching biscuit tins, but no. Silly me, they’re for tea, coffee and sugar. Enough for a platoon.
And that concluded my first visit to The Vintage Village. It definitely won’t be my last though!
[Editor back again] Huge thanks Louise for presenting such an enticing selection of treasures! It certainly looks like you enjoyed your first trip to The Vintage Village, even though we made you work for it.
I don't know if it was your intention, but every single item you've picked would make a fabulous gift for Christmas (I'll have the Dior gloves and the 50s side plates please, Santa).
We look forward to seeing you again in 2013!
1950s teacups, £10 from Lost But Never Forgotten:
I’d barely walked through the entrance when the first thing to catch my eye was this trio of adorable black and white polka dot teacups. I’m a mug person when it comes to tea-drinking – I don’t quite understand the wisdom of pouring an essential liquid into something so small that’s gone in two sips (and gone cold almost immediately too) – but if I were going to drink my tea from fine china, these would be in my sideboard. Crownford china from Burslem in the Potteries, I’m not sure how old they are – 50s at a guess – but certainly cute enough to grace anyone’s dresser.
1930s mirror, £58 from Retrospektiv Studio:
I was with my friend Karen, who’s pretty knowledgeable about vintage glassware, china and more, and it was she who spotted this unusual mirror. I loved the little trees on the plinth and the crescent moon on the glass. The stallholder told us he believed the ballerina was modelled on Pavlova.
1950s suede gloves, £20 from Lady Kitschener’s Vintage Emporium:
The Christian Dior gloves were made of the softest, thinnest suede, with the lovely gauntlet cuffs trimmed in red. They reminded me of my grandmother, an impossibly glamorous former model who dressed entirely in designer couture until the Wall Street Crash drove her family back to the UK, where for decades after she still wore Chanel suits and 40s frocks sent to her from a distant relative. These 1950s gloves would have suited her so well.
1980s Liberty fabric picture frames, £18 from Je Ne Sais Quoi:
I loved these cloth photo frames – the Liberty print fabrics seen here are more recent versions of their original art nouveau designs. Tucked at the back on the left is a Liberty-covered notebook with an art deco peacock print. These would be perfect for a unique present.
Cheeseboard with cloche, £10 from Snygg:
Alex and Alison at Snygg told us this lovely pottery damsel was Polish and a cheeseboard to boot, age uncertain but made by Boleslawic. She was certainly charming, with that lovely east European folk art appeal. So charming that Karen snapped her up before I’d barely had time to photograph her. Alex said this kind of stuff was very collectable and hugely popular in America. They had many lovely 50s and 60s porcelain items on their stall but I came away with a pair of Doctor Who curtains – not very vintage or retro but for me utterly irresistible.
Finds of the Fair >