The old ones are the best

From 1970s G-Plan tables to retro Scandinavian glassware, our love affair with vintage endures and, luckily, Yorkshire is a hotspot. Sharon Dale reports.

Steelux chairs from Pool Bank Vintage Interiors, near Otley.
Steelux chairs from Pool Bank Vintage Interiors, near Otley.

Vintage style has floated in and out of fashion over the years but it seems that the trend has finally graduated into a mainstay. There are many potential reasons for this but quality of design and materials, the desire to be different and nostalgia are top of the list.

The craftsmanship of a G-Plan coffee table made in the 1970s beats today’s mass-produced equivalents from China. You don’t have to be an expert to discern the quality of mid-century fabrics – you can see and feel the difference. As for pottery, some of those retro dinner services look bang on trend.

Just as compelling is shopping for vintage fashion and homeware. It’s like hunting for treasure and you never know what you might find. You may start out looking for a 1950s enamel bread bin and come away with a set of Hornsea storage jars and some gorgeous 1960s art glass.

You’re also safe in the knowledge that most vintage items will appreciate in value, so they are a good investment.

Fortunately, Yorkshire is a hotspot for specialist shops, fairs and events. One of the coolest stores is Space Vintage on The Ginnel in central Harrogate. It has an equally popular record shop and a great bar-cafe upstairs. The owner has just opened Pool Bank Vintage Interiors in an old mill complex near Otley, which is proving a big hit with interior designers and home owners.

The fabulous Festival of Vintage is held at York Racecourse on April 21 and 22, and attracts people from all over the country. It features a wonderful mix of stalls selling 1930s to 1960s homeware and fashion and offers a great excuse to dress the part. The ticket price, from £11 if bought in advance, includes entertainment, displays, shows and live music.

The week after, on April 28 and 29, Rose & Brown is hosting the Leeds Vintage Furniture and Home Fair at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley. It acts as a barometer for what’s fashionable. Organiser Caroline Brown says Ercol and G-Plan furniture is still sought-after, as are industrial items, while there is also a growing re-appreciation of brown furniture.

“Mid-century furniture and homeware, such as West German pottery or Scandinavian glassware and kitchen accessories, which have a retro feel, seem to appeal to the under-35s, who may be kitting out their first homes,” she adds.

Festival of Vintage, York Racecourse, April 21 and 22,; Leeds Furniture and Home Fair, April 28 and 29, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley,; Pool Bank Vintage Interiors,

*or anyone interested in knowing more about vintage and retro classics, Judith Miller’s book Mid-century Modern: Living with Mid-century Design is a must.

It charts the most desirable furniture, ceramics, glass, metalware and textiles from the 1940s to the 1970s and lists 175 key designers, including everyone from Alvar Aalto to Frantisek Zemek.

Stylish, a great read and hugely informative, it costs £30 and is published by Octopus Books.