A little drizzle will not stop a good treasure hunt. The enormous indoor space within two halls, the numerous exhibitor tents, the wares leaning against vendor vehicles, all set against picturesque verdant rolling hills, make Malvern Flea a truly magical exploration, nearly year-round.
Held nine/ten times per year, the Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair is said to be the UK’s largest flea fair. It’s one of the splendid experiences held by Back to Basics Events Ltd (B2B Events). A family-run business, Alan and Helen Yourston have been hosting such events, sharing the love of vintage and antiques, since 2006.
Collectors, interior designers, crafters, thrifters and upcyclers are all likely to find treasures in these green pastures.
The Severn Hall Events
Jokes about the weather aside, B2B Events occur year-round. When there’s a little chill in the air and a little more than a drizzle, ample indoor booth space allows for vendors of many sizes and specialities at the Malvern Antiques & Collectors Fair. While smaller in scope than the Malvern Flea, it still boasts up to 150 stands, all safe from the elements, at Severn Hall, Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire. Thanks to the abundant indoor space, Malvern Antiques has one event left for 2022 on 6th November.
The industry had to adapt to a more online presence during Covid, however when we came out of global lockdown, flea fever remained strong. B2B co-owner Helen Yourston observed, ‘The Antiques industry is resilient, we have seen it before when the world or the economy is in chaos, somehow our industry does the opposite.’
Indeed, B2B were one of the first event organisers to hold an event after Covid. ‘We were only allowed to hold an all-outdoor event, this being at the Kent Showground,’ Helen tells us. But the event was an enormous success. ‘With well over 200 exhibitors and just under 3000 buyers. It showed the industry was raring to get out and do business.’
Since then attendance has continued to increase, it seemed everyone was keen to return. ‘Exhibitors have looked at what they are doing and consolidating,’ Helen noticed, ‘But the industry is still here.’
From larger furniture pieces to lighting, textiles and decor items, one finds everything needed for interior enthusiasts at the flea fair. Strolls through the booths reveal a treasure trove of ceramics, glass, art, books and jewellery of the vintage, antique and/or collectible variety.
The main event in Malvern, of course, is the Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair, said to be the UK’s largest flea fair. Known for breadth of goods, quality, and the loyalty of both patrons and vendors who return month-after-month, year-after-year to the Three Counties Showground, the Malvern Flea inherently inspires enthusiasm for all things vintage, antique and unique.
“Malvern Magic” they call it. It takes only a few minutes and very little imagination to see why. With so many vendors and specialities to choose from, pros and tyros alike will walk away with something magical.
A Weekend at Kent County Showground
Another B2B Events venue has a different flavour: the Detling Antiques, Vintage & Collectors Fair. With a proximity to both Gatwick airport and Dover crossing, Detling Antiques, Vintage & Collectors Fair welcomed the world to Kent County Showground.
Detling Antiques has been described as “cosmopolitan.” Indeed, vendors would hail from municipalities the world over, in up to 300 indoor stands, with more outside (weather permitting).
Interiors enthusiasts, vintage aficionados and upcyclers enjoy the hunt in the Garden of England, sporting furniture, ceramics, jewellery, garden goods and more.
‘We have seen a marked difference since Brexit & Covid,’ says Helen ‘with the crazy paperwork the Exhibitors are having to negotiate to get into the country with stock it has put many off, however I am confident that things will turn around once the Country has got back to some normality, that’s not round the corner just yet.’
Recycling, Repurposing, Reshaping
While Malvern and Detling offer wares of many ilks, the repurposing and even upcycling mean something special to Helen Yourston. A green advocate herself, antiquing and upcycling are more than just interior trends to Helen.
‘We live in a world that needs to be sustainable,’ she tells us. ‘Don’t you think that the Antiques, Collectables — call it what you will, business is, and has been one of the best repurposing, reusing, reshaping industries around? It is certainly a green industry in as much as everything is reusable in some form or another. And it’s great that some items gain value over the years, of course there is no guarantee there but at least you enjoy what you have in front of you rather than have it locked away where you can’t use it. Haha, that’s unless you have priceless gems or art.’
The repurposed and sustainable abounds at this November’s fairs. Check out Malvern Antiques Fair, November 6, followed by Detling Fair, November 26-27. You can view B2B’s calendar of events on their website for details.
As Helen said, ‘History is a bug. If you have the bug there is no hope, it will stay with you for the rest of your life, just like antiques & collectables selling, buying and collecting.’
If the history bug has caught you, these events offer just the right treatment.