After a really sad dwindling of markets during the 1990s and early 2000’s, markets do seem to be on the rise again. Many towns and cities in the UK are encouraging this growth as it brings people back into the centres, popularises the area and creates secondary business as well.

At markets you can buy and sell all sorts, from toys, baskets and buckets to plants, glassware and the more bizarre. Regular markets tend to build their own character, they become known for their antiques, their vintage goods or their high street wares.

Car Boots

Needham Car Boot

Car Boots have been a very common form of market during the last 20 years, where ordinary people can pay for a pitch the size of their car(ish). However, there does seem to be less of them around today. Car boots are great for all sorts of items and used to be a very good source of vintage items- the popularisation of ‘vintage’ means that everyone is an expert and bargains are not so available but the trawl can be fun!

A European form of carboot, a ‘viede grenier’ is when houses in a particular area just have an attic/garage sale – no pitch fees and quite a lot simpler too! I found my favourite ever bargain, an amazing set of dishes, at such a market. The Lille Braderie is a massive version of this- the largest market of the kind in Europe.

Star Wars Figures
Fil a Fil Seduction- Fabulous Dishes
French ‘viede grenier’

Festival Markets

IOW Festival

Music Festival Markets can be great sources of vintage clothes. Great music, relaxed atmosphere and shopping too – brilliant! We loved trading at Bristol’s Ashton Court Festival – everything on our stall was cheap- one year every item was just £1!

Obviously, the atmosphere depends on the festival but people are usually quite chilled. Quality and price of the goods on sale depend on the festival. Bigger festivals such as Glastonbury have to provide enclosures for the traders, its generally more difficult to get pitches, they are pricey and therefore so are the goods- you really cannot flypitch anymore!

Flea Markets

Repsycho @ M32 Flea Market

These differ as they are traditionally professional traders paying a higher pitch fee than car boots charge. Today flea markets often have a mixture of vintage traders, car booters and antique goods. So certainly, a wide range of options for all purses!

In the past we saw many traders from Europe which allowed for a more diverse style of goods- hopefully they will return very soon.  Many street and flea markets are essentially the same, however this is not always the case- some of the biggest flea markets in the UK are held at county showgrounds.

Buckets, Baskets and Cars all available at Malvern Flea
West German Pots
Disturbing Stall at Shepton Mallet Flea

Street Markets

These are also usually professional traders with permanent pitches. Street markets are often the oldest markets around selling a wide range of items- think Portobello Road, Camden or Brick Lane.

At Portobello you could start with the junk area at one end and wander through to the more antique section up the road- never forgetting to look through the vintage clothes and accessories under the Westway canopy. In north-east Paris the street market seems to have spread into neighbouring shops and warehouses, providing artistic showrooms for the merchandise while retaining the street market vibe!

St Ouen, Paris
Turin
Dijon

Ashton Court Festival

Although now settled in Gloucester Road, Bristol, Repsycho began life as a market stall, our roots are firmly in the trendy Portobello Road market of the 1980’s. However we also traded in student union markets at unis around the south of England, many, many music festivals including Glastonbury and the wonderful Ashton Court Music Festival in Bristol.

Repsycho @ M32 Flea Market, Bristol

Now a new generation of Repsycho is enjoying the market scene. We can again be found out in all weathers with our wheely rails, tape measure and marker pens! We are at the M32 Flea Market in Bristol on the last Saturday of every month- come and see us!

Unbranded Leaf Shaped Side Plates

When collecting vintage homeware there are a few areas that deserve a second look. Sometimes the best find is the unknown. Whether it’s a beautiful plate, a delicate glass or simply some cute cutlery the joy of finding something you like is immense.

Vintage Ceramics

Eastern European ceramics have a special vibe – it’s difficult to quantify. Like the Singing Ringing Tree, its clearly different and this is where the excitement begins. Sometimes its awful but it can be absolutely your thing. Taste is different for everyone- no one is telling you this is a good piece, a famous make- its down to you alone.

An Espresso Set, A Small Jug, A Hors D’Oeurve Tray,

Ceramics by less famous makers can also be a complete bargain. Once in France we found a fabulous set of dishes at a vide grenier. We bought them at a reasonable price and later found out they were a known brand. Nonetheless we bought them because they were amazing and we loved them.

Vintage Homeware Glasses

Vintage glasses are a joy. They come in so many shapes and forms. With coloured designs or more delicate etched ones. With jugs, in sets or on their own. Many are so beautifully fragile it is quite scary to handle them! Should you cherish them in the safety of a cupboard or a box or enjoy them as they were designed to be used? Your choice – the really appealing thing about these items is that they are not priced out of usage.

Vintage Homeware Cutlery

Cutlery can be a great item- I’m not necessarily talking about traditional silverware. Vintage cutlery can take many forms and again it depends on your own particular taste. I was given some cute knives as a gift and am looking for some forks or spoons to use with them. This is a little side eddy it is very easy to fall into – I have so many condiment pots without their partner!

Vintage Ornamentals

Finally ornaments, tiles and dishes are an area which is found readily at car boot sales, brocante and in all good vintage shops. They can be extremely good value and add a little individual spark to your home.

Tankard and Lidded Pot, Tile Wall Hanging, Dish/Ashtray

When we are finally allowed to get out there and have fun again keep your eye peeled for these little bargains. Once the mass produced for high streets all over, they have survived and as such deserve some love! In the meantime please browse our website. or our ebaystore.

There were numerous ceramic studios in West Germany in the post-war decades. Scheurich, the largest and most prolific studio, still in operation today although it no longer produces this style of pottery. E S Keramik was another large producer with a reputation for quality and striking designs though not so good at marking products and Ruscha produced quality items such as The Ruscha 313. There were many others such as, Bay, Carstens, Otto, Jopeko, Roth, Steuler, and Ü-Keramik - the list goes on.

However, one of the best tools you can use is your eyes- looking around flea markets and shops throughout Europe they do tend to pop up frequently and once you have your eye in you will be spotting them forever- even when you have decided your collection is large enough (it never is)! The pots may not have any marks or stickers at all but you can just tell, if you like it and the price is right, buy it! In many ways the finding of a West German pot is part of the fun of the collector: the search, the find and the haggle all add to the story of ownership. Good luck!

The most synonymous design feature of the genre is the Fat Lava glaze which gives the pottery its tactile quality. Another element was form, handles were no longer just shoved on at the end but were an integral part of the design, shape challenged and added interest. Colours were bold and solid, whatever colour or colour combination you prefer, it’s probably been replicated in West German pottery. Reds, blues, oranges, and earth tones are frequently found. Greens, yellows and white are less common. Complexity of designs can add to the value of pots; obviously a handled jug or finely ridged vase that has survived is rarer and an intricate pattern which has taken time and workmanship to achieve should be considered more significant than a plainer style.

Identifying West German pottery can be tricky; studios were lax about marking their pieces. Many do still have branded stickers – very useful! The base of the pot may have a mark with up to 3 numbers identifying the piece, the place of manufacture and the company, unfortunately they do not always have all or any of these numbers, however a piece with no numbers could still be a genuine West German pot! The base colour can help too, Ceramano, Roth and Carstens all used red clay while most others used off white.

Obviously there were numerous different brands making ceramics and tableware in the UK during the latter part of the 20th century. However we will endevour to scratch the surface of the most readily available, affordable and of course the coolest items!

Several of the lines and designers for Midwinter are highly valued by collectors, Toadstools by Jessie Tait and Saladware by Terence Conran are two such designs.

The companies of J & G Meakin, Johnson Brothers, Alfred Meakin, Ridgway and Pearson were all related and their activities intertwined, which explains why some of the designs from the 1950s and 1960s have similar themes however they also have some iconic shape and designs.

Johnson Bros. coffee set, Flying Geese design.

Studio Shape tea plate from J&G Meakin with the INCA pattern.

J & G Meakin Studio jug. White ironstone base with a design of a sunflower (Palma)

Alfred Meakin – brother of J&G- founded in the late 19th century and also exported mainly to the US prior to WW2. Postwar the company was responsible for the production of many great designs. These are some of the more delicate designs and also some of the more affordable.

Fiesta plate made in the early 1960s by Barker Bros. influenced by the Homemaker pattern by by Enid Seeney's Homemaker pattern (Ridgeway, 1955)

The firm of Broadhurst & Sons had the foresight to employ a young Kathie Winkle as a paintress in 1950. However, it took until 1958 for her to start designing her own patterns, she designed geometric patterns in simple colour ways; usually only about 3 to save money. 

Her patterns became increasingly popular due to the increased demand of new styles of kitchenware. Kathie Winkle produced over 100 eye catching designs; all are signed on the base so can be easily found. 

The designs comprised two parts - an outline in black created by the stamping process with bright colours then hand painted in the spaces before glazing. Like her contemporary designers, the new geometric patterns were a clear departure from the more usual floral motifs found on tableware. However, her designs were determinedly popular, with a utilitarian flavour- all made in the same shape on white ceramic and very definitely for the working person.

Beautiful leaf shaped side plates- no stamp so may not be from UK but definitely bought in UK!

Windsor bone china coffee set 1966 black crosshatch design on a white background.

Buying ceramic items online can be tricky, shipping is not cheap and when the item arrives it is dispiriting if the description and photos have not truly depicted the condition of your new acquisition.

At Repsycho we always endeavour to avoid disappointment and describe the condition fully. Chipped or cracked items are usually weeded out- we don’t generally list damaged items. But a few tiny nibbles, fading to the pattern or a little crazing, you can be sure we will mention it in the listing.

Vintage mid-late 20th century ceramic homeware has been popular for many years in the UK, recently this market has grown in many other countries too. Obviously, there is a limit to the number of damage free items available and as they grow rarer interest in obtaining them increases too. Post-war the trend was to banish the dreary wartime darkness, in Britain, as soon as rationing allowed. Colour, vibrancy and opulence exploded onto the design scene! In the world of ceramics, a new contemporary look was created and it is that innovation which is so desired by collectors today.

Midwinter is one of the best known and most popular ceramic producers of modern design in mass market ceramics from the 1950s to the 1970s. As managing director, Roy Midwinter modernised and glamourized, recognizing changing appetites and developing new shapes the public would appreciate keeping ahead of the market and developing fashions during the decades following the war. 

His most recognisable styles are Stylecraft, Fashion and Stonehenge. All adorned with designs by various talented designers, Jessie Tait and Eve Midwinter being the most synonymous with the brand while more prominent collaborators included Terence Conran, Hugh Casson and Peter Scott.

Ridgeway 1970s Indian Summer Trio.

J & G Meakin was originally founded in 1851 manufacturing tableware in Stoke-on-Trent in England. Before 1945 they made inexpensive items, which were particularly exported to America. After the 2nd world war the expansion in the UK market for tableware for the home, resulted in J&G Meakin producing a wide range of both traditional and fashionable shapes and patterns. In 1968 J&G Meakin took over Midwinter Pottery. Over 100 patterns on 17 different shaped pieces have been recorded for the period 1945-1975. J&G Meakin's Studio Shape, date from 1964 to the late 1970s. The designers involved in developing the Studio Shape range include Alan Rogers, Tom Arnold, Frank Trigger and the more well-known Jessie Tait.

Alfred Meakin TV Cup and Tray featuring the Brixham design. A fantastic product for the new TV era- just the thing for the viewing audience!

Broadhurst & Sons, Compass 1960

Calypso Coffee Pot

Of course, as any fashionista should know – it’s not all about the labels! You really should buy what you like and what you can afford - whoever made it! There are some great items available to be purchased at flea markets, second hand stores, car boots and charity shops around the country as well as online.

Elizabethan fine bone china, design: Portabello

Portmeirion, a small storage/spice jar with a cork stopper, featuring a fantastic abstract pattern, Variations, designed by Susan Williams-Ellis

Hornsea trio from 1976/77, Saffron design by John Clappison