Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Antiques for Everyone

I went to an antiques show recently.

It was called Antiques for Everyone, and was held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) at Birmingham.

I had been invited to attend with a partner, so my wife Anne came with me. She, like me, is very busy, and it is not often that we are both free at the same time.

There were stalls from all over the country, although it was clear that there were two halves of the show. The first half was much more luxurious, and was obviously the part where exhibitors had paid a considerably higher fee.

While chatting to some of the exhibitors, it became obvious that many of them (in fact, all the ones with whom I raised the subject) did not have actual premises anywhere, and did much of their business at shows like this.

We admired quite a lot of paintings, as well as furniture and stuff like walking canes and helmets from suits of armour.

We also had a look at the display of Matthew Boulton silverware, which of course we also admired.

The clientele seemed to be pretty well heeled, and it was probably a good job that I didn't cough, however discreetly.

There was one thing, though, that was irritating, and that was the inconsistency of the name signs above the stalls. They gave the name of the company, and underneath was its location. Some of the locations, however, gave the name of a town, such as "Bourton-on-the-Water", while others gave the name of a county, such as "Leicestershire". The obvious question there is "Whereabouts in Leicestershire?" It turned out to be Rothley. One stall gave as its location "Hove East Sussex".

One stall represented, it said, "W & B Antiquies". Now, I know we can all make mistakes, although if I were taking space at a show like this I would expect the organisers to get it right.

The thing is, it might have been right, although most probably it should have read "Antiques". It could, however, have been "Antiquities".

So, intrigued, I asked the man who was apparently in charge of the stall. His reply surprised me. With a superb use of the glottal stop, he said "Dunno, ma'e. No' go' a clue".