Despite being a big fan of ephemera, I didn’t actually know it had a name, let alone specialist fairs – until I came across the Ephemera Society. This is one of the reasons I love this city – if it exists, you can get it London.
Last Sunday I paid my first visit to one of the fairs, incongruously held in the swanky Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Holborn. We paid the £2 entrance fee and were greeted with an overwhelming array of bus tickets, theatre programmes, maps, magazine ads, postcards, posters, greetings cards, magazines – if it’s made of paper, they had it. Some were frighteningly expensive (£250 for a tiny ticket, clearly rare and for serious collectors only) and others pleasingly budget (50p for a bus ticket) – but all were from times gone by.
My first find was this gorgeous Carter’s Lemon Syrup ad (love its bold claim to prevent cholera) and was pleased to discover a fantastic bonus print on the back of the Great Wheel at Earl’s Court, the world’s tallest ferris wheel at the time.
Unsurprisingly, I cleared one seller out of sewing and knitting-themed items (resistance was useless), which I plan to make into a framed display for my as yet non-existent craft room.
I’m going to do a similar thing with these lovely bus tickets. There are some beauties in there, my personal fave is the Last Tram Week one.
I longingly left some other items that would have blown my budget. But there’s always next time – fairs are held approximately every two months.