Plea for memories of Norwich’s antiques fair

A city antiques fair is gearing up to celebrate its 40th anniversary – and wants to hear from local people with memories of it in bygone times.

Gary Barnes, organiser of the historic Antiques and Collectables Fair at the Cloisters in St Andrew's Hall is putting a book together to celebrate its 40-year run. By October 2012 the fair will have been held 2,000 times. The fair first began trading in October 1972 in the Old Library off Guildhall Hill in the city centre, but not much else is known about its origins.

Mr Barnes, 44, of Yarmouth Road, Thorpe St Andrew, is appealing to any local people who have come into contact with the fair and might be able to shed light on its history.

Mr Barnes said: 'I believe it to have been set up by a co-operative of ten auctioneers and I have an old newspaper clipping about the fair from 1972, but it says nothing about who set it up.

'We want to know more about the history of it and the people involved in it.'

He would particularly like to draw up a list of everyone who has ever traded at the fair, which is thought to be thousands of people.

Mr Barnes runs Barnes Auctioneers of Norwich with his daughter Gemma, 21, and took on the running of the fair four years ago. Mr Barnes said the fair's appeal lies in its variety. It also reflects the thriving vintage scene in Norwich.

Most Read

His favourite memory of his years in charge is of an American woman who bought a 1970s reprint of the Domesday Book. He said: 'I tried to explain that it was a copy, but she wouldn't listen. She paid me �5 and ran out of the hall shouting to her husband 'I just bought the Domesday Book, let's get out of here before they realise what it's worth!''

The fair is held every Wednesday in St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich, from 9am-4pm and on selected Saturdays.

If you have any information to share contact Mr Barnes on 01603 304 337 or visit

Have you got a quirky story for the Evening News? Contact us on 01603 772443 or email