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Chatham (UK)

Article about: 'thought I’d give a bit of a shout-out to this monthly UK Fair. It takes place on one Sunday a month….virtually every month….Jan-Dec and it opens early. Chatham is about 15 miles from the Th

  1. #1

    Default Chatham (UK)

    'thought I’d give a bit of a shout-out to this monthly UK Fair. It takes place on one Sunday a month….virtually every month….Jan-Dec and it opens early. Chatham is about 15 miles from the Thames Crossing at Dartford, in the collective which is known as the Medway Towns….in Chatham (obvs). It’s an old Naval place and the historic dock hosts, in one of it’s huge old sheds, the fair. This means that at 7 o’clock in the morning in the summer months it’s bright and cool…..but in the winter months take a coat, possibly two coats and a torch – my photos didn’t come out as it was so dark when I was there. But do not let darkness, cold and slow-to-cook bacon (only yesterday) influence you – it’s a great Fair…an old fashioned style Fair….just like “old” Stoneleigh…there’s stuff on the floor, on car bonnets (hoods), in vans……I don’t think I saw one display cabinet…camo, lids, tank bits, ordinance, flags, books…pulled out of vehicles (the vehicles are there too…well, the dealers have to sleep somewhere!). The Sheds themselves are masterpieces of historic building techniques…..towering Hangar-sized chasms made of HUGE trimmed tree trunks jointed together – if you go (and if it’s light enough!) look upwards for a few minutes. This Fair always takes me back to the good ol’ days when there were deals to be done, “stuff” everywhere (and not positioned exquisitely in walnut’n’glass). Sadly for me it’s a 2-3 hour drive so I don’t go every month…but there’s a huge FREE car park, great stuff (if you can see it!), a stunning venue (“Max Show” it ain’t!) AND there’s other stuff nearby.

    …and if you time your visit late enough or walk the Fair slowly, you can move on to the Royal Engineers museum…probably the best collection of tracked Bridgelayers in the world amongst other things. And then there’s the Ships’n’naval stuff too. If you're in the London area check the dates out - it's worth a trip...but don't expect rows of table-clothed tables bedecked in glass-topped shiny dagger-filled cabinets!

    Timing influences some dealers….if there’s Fairs on anywhere else it tends to partially dilute dealer attendance…but that’s the same anywhere right?

    But a great place to visit, a great Fair, good stuff and great people…….and, thanks to the timing, you can get most of your Sunday back if you go early!
    Plan your visit - at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

    No, I'm not on Commission!

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  3. #2


    I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but I have now largely stopped going to this event. The last few times I went earlier this year the quality of stalls and sellers was pretty bad. You get some staunch 'good guys' there like Chelmsford Militaria, D&B etc., but the rest really is tat for the most part, chancers selling repro junk, modern (even non-military) outdoor clothes and boots, or rusty junk. If they make an effort to encourage more good traders and dealers to attend, more people will go, but if the quality there is what it was last time I was there people will just go elsewhere.

  4. #3


    Thank you. I think one has to pick their months carefully by avoiding clashes with any other events in the South / South East...the Milweb calendar is good place to start. It also depends on what floats your boat...if one is looking for FINE daggers, caps, medals etc I’d certainly go elsewhere. But if you’re a lover of old fashion Fairs (and there’s no event clashes) I’d still recommend it.

    ....I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.....

  5. #4


    No prob, if I works for others then it works

  6. #5


    ...I suspect we've both kissed a few frogs though ! :-)


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