The Textile Society’s London Antique Textile Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall

Alice Roberton enjoys a wonderful day of textile indulgence on the Kings Road


Last Sunday (6th October) The Textile Society’s London Fair offered up a stunning mix of textiles rich in colour, history and beauty – ranging from Persian rugs and tapestries to floral quilts and pretty dresses.


The society works hard to promote and support those studying, archiving, selling and collecting textiles and this fair showcases just what a wonderful job they do. Organisers John Fisher, Janie Lightfoot and Uthra Rjgopal were delighted to see their hard work pay off as both traders and visitors enjoyed a wonderful day.


I was fascinated to chat with Alasdair Peebles, a specialist collector of 1750s-1950s boys’ clothing, who bought a cotton 1840s boy’s shirt and two silk waistcoats, one damask and the other with an intricate metallic beading detail. After some research into their provenance, Alasdair hopes they may later feature in a book he’s currently working on.


Trader Hannah Whyman’s stand was bursting with textiles from all over the world. She was showing a customer this lavishly embroidered 19th-century silk temple wall hanging when I walked past.


H&A reader Deborah Partington (right) has quite a collection of 1930s-50s clothing and was eyeing up this pretty floral Massetta of London dress on Sue Holly’s stand. Sue owns the long-established vintage shop Susannah, in Bath’s chic Broad Street – a personal favourite of mine.


Trading next to the H&A stand was Clive Rogers, who specialises in antique carpets, textiles and art. This customer was drawn to this small 19th-century Indian dhurrie, most likely a sample piece. I liked the little 20th-century rag rug Clive is holding. It was made using a technique traditionally known as ‘tatting’.


There was so much to look at and be tempted by at this fair. Tables and shelves spilling with irresistible cottons, linens, tapestries, silk, lace and wool – a feast for the eyes!


Jill Beard from The Warner Textile Archive in Braintree, Essex, was admiring the wonderful workmanship of this quilt with her friend Chris Helm. The quilt was on the stand of Rebecca Ahelton-Agar, who trades at Top Banana Antiques in Tetbury.

Do come and visit H&A at a fair near you to buy great homewares, textiles, magazines and subscriptions. Here’s where we’ll be throughout the coming weeks.


Saturday 19th October, 9am-3pm – The Vintage Bazaar, The Cheese & Grain, Market Yard, Frome, Somerset

Sunday 20th October, 10am-4pm – Leamington Spa Vintage Fair, The Royal Pump Rooms, The Parade, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Thursday 31st October – Sunday 3rd November, Antiques For Everyone, Halls 17 – 19, NEC Birmingham, West Midlands


Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November (Fri 9.30am – 8pm, Sat 9am – 7pm, Sun 10.30am – 5pm) – MK Handmade and Vintage Christmas Extravaganza, MK Shopping Centre (outside John Lewis), Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd November, 10am-5pm – Jukebox & Retro Fair, Chessington Community College, Garrison Lane, Chessington, Surrey

Saturday 2nd November, 10.30am-4.30pm – Penshurst Vintage Christmas Fair, Penshurst Village Hall, High Street, Penshurst, Tonbridge, Kent

Saturday 9th November, 11am-4pm – Vintage in the Shires Olney Fair, The Church Hall, Church Street, Olney

Saturday 16th November, 9am-3pm – The Vintage & Makers Market, The Assembly Rooms, South Molton, Devon

Sunday 17th November, 11am-4pm – My Little Vintage Fair at Bosworths Garden Centre, Finedon Road, Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire

Sunday 17th November, 10am-3pm – Vintage Zoo, Chessington Community College, Garrison Lane, Chessington, Surrey

Sunday 17th November, 10am-3pm – Homespun Christmas Fair, Gerrans Parish Memorial Hall, Gerrans Hill, Portscatho, Cornwall

Saturday 23rd November, 10am-4pm – My Little Vintage Fair at Nene Court, The Embankment, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire


Sunday 24th November, 9.30am-4pm – Bath Vintage & Antiques Christmas Market, Green Park Station, Bath, Somerset