South London school gate friends bring So Last Century Vintage and Retro Fair to Catford

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So Last Century Vintage & Retro fair comes to Lewisham
We are so happy to have welcomed So Last Century to Catford we were dying to know more about Alan and Alison, how they got their amazing Vintage and Retro fair started and what made them think that Catford really is the place to be…

Two years ago, school-gate friends Alan Old and Alison Davis, both running small vintage businesses alongside bringing up young families, were talking about how to maximise local trading opportunities.
“We wanted to set up a school-hour friendly business which promoted our love of vintage design and sustainability We also wanted to keep it local and bring this vibe to our hometown of Beckenham, which we’ve always seen as a bridge between the inner-London suburbs and suburban outer Bromley,” explains Alison, who in previous careers worked as a stage & TV writer, then in housing and planning policy.

So Last Century Vintage & Retro Fair was born and launched in September 2015 to a delighted response from local residents and stallholders alike. And after 8 successful fairs, it’s now an integral part of the local events scene.

Time to expand the business to a second venue – but the question was whether to look to inner or to outer-London.
Having both been residents of south London for the last 25 years (between them they’ve lived in Brockley, Streatham, Tooting, Balham and Battersea) they are instinctively drawn to inner London.
“The more you look, the more you notice historical buildings and traces of earlier urban living tucked away between cutting-edge new developments. Lewisham has some particularly interesting publicly-owned heritage buildings which we’re excited to see are gaining attention,“ notes Alison.
And Alan, an architect who worked in practice for 20 years before turning to events management, had spotted the perfect So Last Century venue – St Dunstan’s College, Catford. “We love the setting of this striking, red-brick example of Victorian architecture, sitting cheek-by-jowl with the South Circular and railways into the city”, he explains. “It has all the features of grand buildings of this period, guaranteed to display vintage products at their best – lofty ceilings, lots of tall windows and sweeping wooden floors”.

And the location appears to be just what they have been looking for, too: “Catford has been overlooked for too long, but we feel this is definitely about to change, ” Alan continues. “It has so much going for it, and the proximity to nearby residential areas such as Forest Hill, Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Ladywell and Hither Green which have seen a recent resurgence can only be a good thing.”

The pair are excited about their Lewisham debut – the majority of stalls are sold out (with stallholders coming from as far afield as Scotland) and customer interest is running high on social media. They share the So Last Century mission statement, which give a flavour of what to expect:

  • An abundance of top-quality, carefully curated vintage goods for you, your home and your wardrobe.
  • Things to suit all purses, but mainly affordable. You can hunt for bargains or seek out a one-off piece of inspirational design.
  • A wide variety of stalls selling mid-century decor, homeware and furniture, lighting and ceramics, vintage fashion, accessories and jewellery, retro fabrics and up-cycled creations, prints and vinyl records.
  • Commitment to salvaging, reusing and recycling. Reproduction goods are not accepted at our vintage fairs.
  • Great food and drink, including a vintage tea room, street food, coffee van and beer.
  • Proud support of many south London start-up businesses and local traders who share our underpinning aims.
  • So Last Century is expected to become a regular event in Catford, and the design-loving duo is already looking for further venues.

    You can keep up with all the latest news about So Last Century @solastc on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    So Last Century, St Dunstan’s College, Stanstead Road, Catford SE6 4TY
    Sunday 12th February, 11am to 4pm
    Entry £4, (£2 if you follow us on social media – show your phone on the door)
    Under-16s free

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    Hi. I am the coordinator for the Catford South Local Assembly and a friend of all things Catford :-)

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