London Pen Show

by Stuart Lennon

London Pen Show

The WES Spring show in London. What a hoot!

Things went much as foreseen in my previous post, but with more Guinness.

Clare got us to the venue in plenty of time, and by nine o’clock we were ready for any early birds. The show is much larger than any of the provincial shows that we have attended, with a main room and a full adjacent corridor.

I was delighted to see a wide-range of tables. In addition to the core vintage pen dealers, there were more “fringe” folk, like us. Pen cases, nib grinders, calligrapher, ink, pencil sharpener (no, really), notebook wholesaler, vendors of new pens, a pen sharing scheme, and the Writing Equipment Society tables.

Business was steady throughout the day, without ever becoming overwhelming. It was a joy to meet customers vintage and new, and talk pens, paper, pencils and all sorts of ephemera.

I'm told that the Spring show (this is the first) was not as busy as the established autumn show which goes on in October, but that it was not the worse for that. We have been warned to brace ourselves for more customers in October. As such, Mrs L has been drafted in as Head Cashier and I may start twisting the arm of Kayley in Andover so that we can meet any demand.

The Future

I would love to see the show expand, to add on some bits and pieces. Perhaps some workshops, demonstrations and meet-ups. If I have learned anything about this business, it's that the trade is community-driven.

We could even try for some live podcasts? 1857 for sure, maybe the guys from the Mavis podcast would be interested? Could we even tempt out the mighty Pen Addict team?

I’m going to look into what is possible.

If London is in reach, do come along in October. Whether you are a long-time collector, or an absolute novice, there is something for you at the show. I found the sheer scale of some of the vintage tables intimidating, but once I spoke to a few of the vendors, I find it increasingly comfortable to talk to them, and learn from the encyclopaedic knowledge available.

Penultimate Dave has shot some great photos and videos of the show. Go check out his You Tube channel here.