Thanks to everyone who came along to this summer’s Pop Up Vintage Fair at the historical Wilton’s Music Hall in East London and helped make it one of the best vintage fairs yet! The rain was pouring down as I drove along narrow Cable Street with my tiny car (Bella) keeping me and my boxes of vintage clothing dry. Goosebumps crept over my skin as I entered the dusty pink doors of the old music hall balancing a clothing rail and my dressmakers dummy. The walls of the World’s oldest surviving music hall is full of ghosts that seem to come alive as traders bump into each other in the bricked hallways and dusty stairs, arms piled high with vintage dresses, jackets, scarves and even Japanese Kimonos. My stall was on the balcony this year, a different position to the past two years I have traded at Wilton’s and it was the perfect place to survey the scene. Traders expertly transforming blank spaces into their vintage pop up shops, My Favourite Things with curlers in their hair and their voices filling the domed ceiling as they performed their sound check. The 300 year old music hall was starting to come alive and its spirits fill the atmosphere with past escapades.
From the moment the doors opened, the crowds poured in. True vintage fans were the early birds, parading around the fair in their finest vintage clothes and hairstyles, foraging for more inspiration. The queue outside started to snake around the corner as crowds turned up for the vintage shopping a cocktail in the bar and to experience the historical atmosphere of the now famous East End Music Hall.
As the vintage fans poured into the hall, My Favourite Things sang in harmony old tunes such as ‘Hit The Road Jack’ and ‘Summertime’, tunes that I can imagine were sung here before WWII, after which the hall became a missionary church. The venue was sensitively restored in 2015 to make the building safe, winning two RIBA awards for the project. The walls haven’t been covered up with new smooth plaster but have been left peeling away in soft dusky colours, conserving the layers of history in it’s walls. If you haven’t had the chance to view the grade 2 listed music hall yet, there are a wide range of events to chose from or join a guided tour of the building on a Monday evening.
Thanks to Pop Up Vintage London (top photo belongs to them) for working tirelessly to create such a popular and well organised event. Olive Road’s next stall is with Pop Up Vintage at another historic venue, St Stephen’s Church in Hampstead on the 1st October. See you there!