Vintage Tents

More Vintage Army Marquee Images at Heathrow Airport

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Images, Tents, Vintage.

We have just been kindly sent some more pics of vintage canvas army marquee images taken at Heathrow airport.  The pics date from just after the second world war when the former airbase began to be used as an aiport.  My thanks go to John Ball for the supply of these pics.

Classic green army marquees alongside vintage period cars

Classic green army marquees alongside vintage period cars

heathrow tents

design classics alongside each other canvas marquee and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's red telephone box.

design classics alongside each other canvas marquee and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box.

Vintage Military Tent revealed Heathrow Airport 1946

Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Tents, Vintage.

Vintage Tents Photograph

We were excited to see this vintage tent photograph surface in a Daily Mail feature on a series of pictures revealing the post war creation of the luxury air industry. The picture shows the inside of the British Army General Service Marquee with the addition of some civilian lamps and a WHSmiths counter at one end.  The picture is captioned saying the tents were used in the summer of 1946 as the new commercial flying operations began at Heathrow airport. The many demobbed and trained pilots meant the fledgling industry was primed with trained pilots.

Vintage Tent Pics Pinterest

Sunday, April 28th, 2013
Tents, Vintage.

Spring is in the air and our vintage tents see their first bit of 2013 air in May.  We have set up a vintage tents picture moodboard on Pinterest. You can see some of the pics below, but there are more on Pinterest.

- Please recheck your ID.

Pop-Up Restaurant in a Spiegel Tent

Monday, November 19th, 2012
Events, Festivals, Tents.

As the festive season approaches and we seek comfort in cosy places and enjoy the lights, sounds and smells of the season why not try a Pop-Up retaurant inside the Christmas Spiegel Tent in Bristol?

Britains burgeoning pop-up restaurant scene is gathering pace and culinary delights can be found in the quirkiest of places, Sea Scout Huts, summer time gardens, festivals and tents!   Pop-Up restuarants bring the buzz of spontaneity, the spice of an unusual setting (and we all know that presentation is key to a good meal) and very ‘Now’ in the UK.   The Spiegel Tent is a vintage veteran tent that we reported on in this earlier article. The Christmas Spiegel Tent site has some history of the Spiegel Tent too.  This Christmas you can find one in Bristol hosting a pop-up restaurant from Mi Casa who are regular pop-up peeps in Bristol and the South West.

Also in our local Somerset area is Matt’s Kitchen in Bruton, the hot off the hob Kitchen Table in Wincanton. Wells chef AWARD-winning chef Adam Fellows took his Goodfellows restaurant to Glastonbury to create its first fine dining pop-up in a tent and an old Vintage Bedford TK supplied by Malinkey’s Mobile.

More articles


Britain’s Tents go Vintage for the Diamond Jubilee

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Events, Tents.

Lots of vintage military tents were out on duty last week keeping villagers in Charlton Musgrove, Somerset & West Meon, Hampshire dry for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

Charlton Musgrove's Diamond Jubilee Tent

The 60 year old tents preformed valiantly staving off the wind and rain and creating a great atmosphere for the celebrations.  They got lots of good comments and at West Meon villagers partied their way into the night on the dancefloor.

Vintage Spiegeltents Still Beating The Rounds

Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Events, Festivals, Tents, Vintage.

I first came across these wonderful tents at the Glade Festival in 2004 when Pussy Parlure’s venue was a SpiegelTent.

Image courtesy of

A Spiegeltent (Dutch for “Mirror Tent”, from spiegel+tent) is a large travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, intended as an entertainment venue. Originally built in Belgium during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, only a handful of these Spiegeltents remain in existence today, and these survivors continue to travel around Europe and beyond, often as a feature attraction at various international arts festivals

Image courtesy of

More info & bookings

The original Spiegeltents were constructed in the Flemish Region of Belgium in the late 19th century as mobile dance halls. They were transported around the country and assembled for town fairs in areas that did not have a proper dance hall.

More info on WikiPedia

What is a Shabby Chic Tent?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Fashion, Tents.

If you are involved in the Vintage scene you will come acoss the expression Shabby Chic fairly regularly. We often hear it from clients when we are designing an event.  As its banded about so much we thought we’d add a bit about it on our blog.  See the Wikipedia article for more info.

The words shabby and chic when combined together is a phrase that was used in the 1980’s by Rachel Ashwell for a type of home décor described as traditional, simple but ornate, casual and elegant; rumpled but tidy. Believe it not the two words used together are a registered trademark and should not be used to describe any goods other than those of the official Shabby Chic® range. Rachel has a blog

Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.

Shabby Chic style canvas and bunting at the Secret Garden Party

The style started in Great Britain and evokes the type of decoration found in large country houses where there are worn and faded old chintz sofas and curtains, old paintwork and unassuming ‘good’ taste.  Recycling old furniture and fabrics is an important aspect of the look

Does my tent look shabby with these?Does my tent look shabby with these?

Dust off your Vintage Tent & head to Wiltshire

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Events, Music, Tents, Vintage.

THE VINTAGE  NOSTALGIA SHOW begins this summer in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. Their website encourages classic canvas lovers to get the tent out of the shed and give it an airing (might be worth checking the proofing first though).  The website says,

If you love vintage then dig out the old bell tent from the loft and come along! Everyone is welcome. Bring your old ridge tent, teepee, yurt, vintage caravan, classic car, vintage motorbike, steam engine, tractor, push bike. Whatever your interest come and celebrate with us. On Saturday night we have the  Obscuritones playing live fast paced 50’s rockabilly.

Here at VintageTents we are mighty tempted to set up our vintage tent & caravan and spend the weekend.

1950’s Marquees Revealed

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Images, Suppliers, Tents, Vintage.

What a beauty!

Discovered some fab pics on this website today.

Barkers Marquees started life in the early 1900s at Epsom Races. Charles Fredrick Barker erected beer and tea tents to house his catering company’s light refreshments. Soon the Marquees Hire business took over from catering. By 1950s, C F Barkers and Sons were one of London’s leading Marquee Hire Businesses.

Barkers are still going to this day and flying the flag for manufacture still in good ole Blighty!

Life on the Holme Front – 1940s Weekend

Friday, October 7th, 2011
Events, Tents, Vintage.

I wandered around in the glorious 30’c heat and enjoyed this event very much.  Learnt a lot about Holme’s part in WWII, reading the display and looking at the extensive photos in Holmewood Hall. It was very evocative and easy to be transported back to those days.  The Hall itself was great to see , a lovely building and one not generally open to the public.

There was one rather tatty looking military tent serving as the newsreel cinema, and it was providing sterling service keeping the hot October sun off people.

This was a nice event with a good range of stalls, displays, vehicles and it was nice that it was integrated into the village of Holme.  The sun really helped add a lovey golden late summer feel.