May 20 2010
Tracking down that ideal Victorian fireplace or period feature for the home often means flogging halfway across Britain to a country backwater. Even then there is no guarantee that you will find what you’re looking for. But over the weekend of June 26-27, the Salvo Fair, an outdoor exhibition of architectural salvage, garden antiques and reclaimed building materials, takes place in the deer park of Knebworth House in Hertfordshire.
I attended last year’s event and although I came away with nothing but a Victorian watering can for my gardening-mad sister-in-law, it was a fun day out in a fantastic stately home setting and the fair was packed with desirable items.
Dealers in architectural salvage converge on the Salvo Fair with everything from fireplaces, bathtubs, sinks and stained-glass windows to garden benches, urns and sundials, mostly at reasonable prices.
Garden antiques dealer Tina Pasco will be among the exhibitors this year. Pasco has spent many years trailing around the big antiques fairs in England and France buying and selling garden antiques. And among the items offered for sale by V&V Reclamation will be a stone doorway (second picture), reclaimed from the demolished St Barnabas’ Church vicarage in Clapham, south London. Standing at 2.9m, the doorway is priced at £2,500 plus VAT.
Set up by Thornton Kay and his late partner Hazel Matravers in 1990, Salvo is a web-based network for the architectural salvage trade. All good dealers will subscribe to the Salvo code, which guards against items having been stolen or taken from listed buildings.
The first Salvo Fair took place in Sussex in 1997. Since then the fair has grown year on year, especially as people have become more conscientious about the re-use and recycling of old materials. As well as rich pickings for those looking to upgrade their garden or property, there will be craftspeople demonstrating their skills in stone, wood, metal and fabric.
For children, there’s an adventure playground, plus the wonders of Knebworth House to behold.