Vintage Norwich Investigates – The Cloisters Fair

September 8, 2011

Set in the beautiful St Andrews Hall is The Cloisters Fair, where you can pick up an array of gorgeous antiques, collectables and vintage items.  It is the oldest and biggest fair in Norwich, at the proud age of 40 next year.  Having recently taken over ownership of this event, Helen Leith invited Vintage Norwich to The Cloisters Fair Relaunch.

Walking into the main hall at St Andrews, I was welcomed with a variety of stalls selling all sorts of antique and collectable items from 1920’s brooches to 1970’s tiny tears dolls.  It was just a taster of what is to be expected to any one that swings by this regular and marvellous event that is in the heart of Norwich and could be a welcome Wednesday lunch time break for the busy city gal (or guy).   Recent Stall holders to the fair, such as Marilyn Taylor selling jewellery and with a real passion for dolls, have joined more established stallholders like Books Etc selling second-hand books and autographs among others items of value.

We were served Champagne cocktails and seafood Bellini’s that were delicious and an extra little treat for all the guests that were already being spoilt by the gorgeous stalls selling their wares. The Gershwin Gang were the entertainment playing a collection of the very best jive of the last century and had everyone in the room tapping their feet along.

One stall that really drew my attention was Prettyful Things with a beautiful selection of jewellery on display; the founder Karen Reynor described some of the vintage glass and porcelain she also has on offer at cloisters fairs.

Antidote vintage fashion  also had a seductive stall offering a small selection of the treats they have on offer in the shop on Upper St Giles. I had promised myself to save my pennies for indulgences such as food, however I couldn’t help but fall in love with a vintage blue pinstripe jacket for my man at home and at the very fair price of £10.

The Lord Mayor Jenny Lay was also present and gave a few poignant words on the how in a world where so much trading is done online, the cloisters offer a world of antiques where not only do you get to benefit from a good value but also the invaluable face to face advice and expertise from so many that are passionate about antiques. Helen gave a sincere and at times emotional speech on the hard work that had been put in to the fair and all the fun that she had doing this, pointing out the joy of ‘going through a lot of dust to turn up one precious ruby’, a statement that many of us can relate to.

The Cloisters Fair really is a joy in our fine city of Norwich. With the abolition of the entrance fee and the introduction of a small café for tired shoppers laden with the goodies the fair has to offer, it is a must for all avid antique and vintage lovers as well the simply curious in all things beautiful and enchanting. I can’t wait for the next one or the added bonus of The Original Fleamarket on the 26th November followed by The Christmas Nostalgia Fair offering all the seasonal treasures you could wish for.

 The Cloisters Fair runs every Wednesday in St Andrews Hall.
This piece was written by our roving reporter Elspeth Trigg.
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Elspeth is a local gal with a passion for local history and vintage fashion. Flitting anywere from 1900's to 1990's her wardrobe is a mishmash of the decades. Originally from Cambridge, Elspeth moved to Norwich 14 years ago and completely fell in love with the place, the quirkiness, the history and the many ghosts stories that surround the area.

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