Hemswell Antique Centres
A short drive from Lincoln, through the pastoral countryside, is an old Royal Air Force base, now home to a collection of antique stores. The RAF Hemswell closed in 1967, but most of the buildings are still standing and are now used as retail businesses. Located on the site is the Hemswell Antique Centres, originally opened in 1986 and now managed by Robert Miller. It is one of our all-time favorite destinations.
Hemswell Antique Centres is composed of three of the old RAF buildings. The two-story buildings contain hundreds of display areas, featuring antiques, collectibles and antique furniture. Here, dealers bring in good quality English merchandise. A little like a labyrinth fit for a king, the antiques stand on their own, not needing a designer’s touch. Tidy and orderly, each building puts the American flea markets to shame.
Each building is numbered and, when we visit, we almost always start with Building One. Here, we find outstanding mahogany, oak and walnut furniture, the best of the best. We start with One because this is where Andrew Collier has his booth. Mr. Collier features the exact type of antiques that we love to collect and sell. We’ve been lucky enough to meet with him two of the four times that we’ve visited the Centres. He has a wonderful eye and is quite helpful.
Buildings Two and Three are also a maze of a good variety of beautiful antiques. Our friend Steve McDowell, and two of his mates, Dave and Mark, have a booth on the second floor of Building Three. They pick all over England and Wales and bring their best “prizes” to the Hemswell Antique Centres to sell.
All three buildings are staffed by helpful and kind individuals. Checkout is efficient and fast, even when they are overrun with demanding Americans. Items are wrapped well and delivery is offered. During the Lincolnshire fair season, some dealers man their booths and it’s always fun to talk with them and find out where they’ve obtained the antiques. The manager, Robert, is often on hand to assist his employees and customers.
Hemswell Antiques Centre may look like a step back in time, but they are on the forefront of technology. With a presence on Facebook (good job, Jonathan!), they also have own application for the I-technology. They have a user-friendly website where we’ve pre-purchased some items to be picked up and placed on our container for shipment home.
We must give attention to the coffee shop in Building One. They offer hot and cold lunches and yummy desserts. A place to rest, we’ve often had tea and chatted up the other shoppers, who wonder about the band of Americans who are buying up all the lovely treasures. Hemswell wouldn’t be the same without the popular restaurant.