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May 20, 2015, 05:08 PM

Fair Ladies - Ruby of Salvo

By Gail McLeod

Perks of the job - meeting Will Young at Salvo Fair 2012! [photo Salvo

Wiltshire, UK - Ruby Hazael, who runs the Salvo Fair from the office in Bath, is the daughter of Thornton Kay who founded the now global Salvo brand more than twenty-five years ago - the gateway to the world of architectural salvage and architectural antiques.

Salvo Web is the essential, and very on-message resource for reclaimed architectural antiques and building materials for sale, a vital data base reference for stolen antiques and lively, well informed news in the architectural salvage world and Salvo Fair the first architectural salvage fair which set the standard for national architectural salvage fairs and developed a very loyal following with exhibitors and visitors from UK, Europe and beyond.

Following a break last year, Salvo Fair returns this year to an exciting new venue Fawley Hill not far from the M4 motorway at Henley, Oxfordshire. It will be held on Saturday 27 - Sunday 28 June 2015 with a Trade Day on 26th June.

I interviewed Ruby for Antiques News and Fairs and you can see the questions and her response here:

Salvo is a much loved and respected brand in the UK trade. How did it develop to the multi- layered brand of today?

Salvo began in 1990. From the outset the aim was to promote the industry in architectural salvage and reclaimed materials through a directory, trade newsletter, marketplace website, salvage fairs, reclamation consultancy and by lobbying government. As a consequence the business has built up a solid reputation, although many people are unaware that it is a small family business, currently made up of Thornton Kay, Shirley McConnachie (my father and his partner) and myself.

SalvoWEB is a group of websites that promote the architectural antiques and salvage trade, based largely in the UK, but with a large following in the US, France and other European countries and Australia. Salvo.US has been gradually building momentum in America for around four years.

The Salvo Code has around 120 dealers signed up, again mostly in the UK, but with some US and European dealers too. It is a voluntary code for dealers to give customers confidence that the items they are buying have not been stolen or taken from listed buildings without consent.

Have you always worked in the family firm?

I have worked for Salvo on and off since it began. My first Salvo job, when I was 17, was collecting addresses to the Directory database, and opening post for Thornton, whilst he spent time in France, Ireland and Northumberland compiling new directories. I studied Fine Art at Plymouth University, during which time I helped with the first Salvo Fair in a university Easter break in 1997. I became a Salvo partner in 2001 and have been organising Salvo Fair since then. In between times my husband and I are often in the throws of a building project and we have three children. I still paint when I have spare time which is not very often! Thornton, who spent many years as an architectural salvage dealer as one of the founders of the orignal Bath based Walcot Reclamation, is now the senior partner at Salvo, and spends his time split between managing the Salvo websites, the Salvo Code, helping me with Salvo Fair and being editor of Salvo NEWS.

How has Salvo Fair evolved since it first started and what major changes have you noticed?

Salvo Fair is the leader in its field. We spent many years building up the brand, honing the format, making mistakes along the way, and hopefully now getting it right! It now heads up a small movement of fairs that include salvage and reclamation. People are slowly becoming more aware of the industry. It's still not exactly mainstream but I no longer feel I need to describe what 'architectural salvage' is when explain what I do. Shabby chic, industrialism, vintage and retro interiors are becoming more mainstream, and people are starting to feel confident about buying at fairs, markets and antique shops. Hopefully this also means people in future will be more likely to buy a door handle or a tap from a salvage yard than a new hardware store. Shirley and I are working hard at the moment to finalise the production of the 'Salvo Pack' - a helpful local guide with directory - which we hope to sell at Salvo Fair for London and Oxfordshire. It will be the first time in a long time that we have managed to produce something to sell and promote the rest of the Salvo brand at Salvo Fair!

How will Salvo Fair fit in at its new venue Fawley Hill?

Fawley Hill is an extraordinary place. I knew as soon as I arrived the first time that it would make a great venue for Salvo Fair 2015. The owners Lady Judith and Sir William McAlpine have been supporters of the Salvo Fair since the late 1990s. Sir William is a railway enthusiast and collector of architectural salvage and reclaimed materials.

The Fawley Hill Railway is over a mile long, combining the steepest standard-gauge gradient in the world and includes three stations, two signal boxes, and a footbridge. The perimeter is adorned with several prominent architectural features including the original Wembley Stadium Flagpoles, early cast-iron bridge parapets, and arched structures from prominent London locations. The latest large addition to the estate is 'Iron Henge'. This is composed of twenty one columns which had to be removed from the undercroft at St.Pancras Station and Salvo Fair will be built up around it.

How do you reach out to new and younger audiences for Salvo Fair?

I'm not very good at it but social media is a must for Salvo Fair. I am gradually getting to grips with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There are others which I have dabbled with but am far from mastering like Flickr, LinkedIn and Google Plus which would all help. I try and tweet every day, but it is easy to forget when I'm caught up in organising everything else.

We ran a competition this year with Antiques Young Guns to offer a pitch at Salvo Fair, to engage and encourage younger exhibitors. Molly and Maud's Place won the competition and will be zipping down the M1 from Yorkshire to join us for Salvo Fair at Fawley Hill.

My younger sister Sara McConnachie is the stylish lady behind Style Salvo blog. She is blogging about the salvage-based renovation of her London apartment, and will be helping promote Salvo Fair online. Her internet presence is much more appealing to sophisticated, fashionistas and up-to-the-minute designers than mine!

Most people know that Salvo Fair is at its heart a reclamation and salvage fair but there are decorative dealers exhibiting too. Are there many different types of antiques businesses that exhibit?

Salvo Fair is attended by a variety of dealers. The majority sell architectural and garden antiques but there is room for decorative antiques too. The decorative dealers include Antiques By Design with its unusual handcrafted lighting, Nikki Page Antiques with elegant and ornamental treasures, Gary Wallis Antiques with garden antiques and vintage must-haves and The Antique French Chair & Sofa Company with its chic, understated furniture, who all have the Winter and Spring Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair at Battersea firmly under their belts. Molly & Maud's Place winners of a pitch through a competition with Antiques Young Guns will be exhibiting at Salvo Fair for the first time. Metro Retro from Essex, and regulars of the Midcentury Modern Show in Dulwich, will again bring a wonderful selection of 20th century industrial and decorative antiques and salvage.

Architectural Salvage businesses are the mainstay at Salvo Fair with the likes of Architectural Salvage Source from Hertfordshire is planning to bring antique garden ornament, reclaimed bricks, reclaimed flooring, antique bathrooms, vintage lighting and decorative pieces too. Having exhibited at every Salvo Fair since 2004, Antique Church Furnishings from Surrey will bring an array of carefully rescued old church pews, chairs, benches and church fixtures and fittings. New Salvo Fair exhibitor, Alberto's Antiques from Battersea in London, specialises in antique fireplaces and chimneypieces with antique grates firebacks, overmantle mirrors, chandeliers, and garden antiques. Long time Salvo Fair exhibitor, Cox's Yard from Gloucestershire, will bring reclaimed doors, samples of flooring and, in keeping with Fawley's steam train tradition, UK-made reproduction GWR station bench ends with reclaimed timber slatted seats. Chiltern Antiques from nearby Henley are bringing iconic genuine old Royal Mail postboxes. Bristol based Source Antiques will put on a fantastic display of the best midcentury kitchens and lighting, whilst Olliff's Architectural Antiques will bring antique fireplaces, garden sculpture and ornament, garden furniture and antique door furniture.

For the fourth time De Zonnerous will travel from Holland to exhibit at Salvo Fair, displaying beautiful decorative Art Nouveau pairs of French and Dutch stained glass doors, sculpture, and unique Eurpoean decorative antiques. With old fruit crates and boxes, baskets, tin buckets and baths stacked up to the sky, Van De Vouwer Decorations from Belgium will have a lorry load of stock that is like a Mary Poppins bag, unveiling more and more goodies throughout the weekend. Oxford Wood Recycling will return to Salvo Fair to promote its social enterprise scheme which diverts unwanted timber from landfill through re-sale and by making upcycled products.

How do you think the antiques are green movement and the Salvo brand are linked?

There are many different groups of people who buy reclamation and salvage from affluent ladies and gents with they eye on the traditional aesthetics, to architects and designers who appreciate the quality of antique materials, to eco-warriors looking to save materials from landfill and makers who appreciate the beauty of old materials. Antiques are Green is similar to Salvo in that it is helps blur the line between old fashioned antiques and modern environmentally friendly salvaged goods.

What do you enjoy the most about running the fair? Have you always worked in the family firm?

I love meeting up with all the trade. They are some of the most passionate and interesting people I will ever meet. It is a real adventure.

Antiques News and Fairs

Salvo Fair

Antique News and Fairs: Fair Ladies - Ruby of Salvo by Gail McLeod

Story Type:  Feature

ID: 89261

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