A Visit to Kempton

Once I had finished the armchair, I was once again in search of a new project. This time I really wanted to do something for myself, either to keep or sell on. I had been systematically trawling the local house clearance and charity shops but nothing had caught my eye.

When I moved into my unfurnished house a few years ago, I needed to find items that I could afford on my my teacher salary quickly. My aunt runs a successful antique shop in Sussex and recommended going to Sunbury Antique Market which is held on the second and last Tuesday of every month at Kempton Racecourse. You have get up at the crack of dawn to get the best deals when it opens at 7am but it’s worth it. I found a lovely oak topped drop leaf table and four spindle backed chairs for £100. On another visit I stocked up on vintage French honey kilner jars and Hovis bread tins from a factory clear out.

On this visit, I was looking for furniture that had a solid frame, but spoiled upholstery so that other people would look straight past it. At Kempton, you are encouraged to haggle which I am not good, at so my kind aunt met me there where she was buying new stock and helped me get good prices.

The first thing I spotted was a Victorian spoon chair was braiding falling off the edges. I walked away though, and did a circuit of the whole place which took a long while. There are so many wonderful thing to be found there, lots of retro and vintage furniture and accessories, many of which are from the continent.

Eventually I found my aunt who took me to see a chair that she thought I’d like. Of course, it was the first chair I had spotted. A little haggling later, and it was mine for £55. She has sold reupholstered versions for £250 so there is a comfortable potential profit margin there.

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After that I picked up a beautiful French footstool that had already been partly stripped down. It was hard to haggle because it was obvious I really wanted it and in the end I agreed on £70, down from £85.

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With most of our shopping done, we went for a final wander. I had wanted another piano stool with a storage compartment but hadn’t seen anything battered enough. At almost the last stall down one end of the fair, I spotted an unusually long stool that might have fitted the bill. My aunt explained that it was a duet stool, for two people hence the length. With my last £30 burning a hole in my pocket, I took the plunge, haggled on my own and got it.

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The final challenge was to fit it all in the car, enjoyable if you are a fan of Tetris! I was all done and dusted by 9.30, and back in the office after lunch. I’ll definitely be back soon.

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Finds from Kempton including a Victorian spoon chair, French foot stool and duet stool

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