For over 30 years Leek has had a reputation as being the major centre for antiques in Staffordshire and also one of the most important in the UK. The Leek antiques trade has attracted countless visitors from far and wide all searching the Leek antiques for a bargain and maybe that special something to furnish their home.
It was a chap called John Aspley who, at the end of the seventies, realised the potential of the Leek antiques trade and made “Compton Mill” into the largest Leek antiques emporium for miles around. The antiques trade became very fashionable even giving rise to various television programmes ( the most well known would be The Antiques Roadshow ) and lots of people started to take an interest and collect various types of antiques. Compton Mill and the other numerous Leek antiques shops ensured that there was a large number of people visiting the town on a regular basis to browse the Leek antiques.
Leek antiques grew into a major source of revenue for the town with dealers from “across the pond” making regular visits to the town normally coinciding with one of the biannual fares that were held in the area for example the one at Newark.
The Leek antiques trade has had a couple of major setbacks recently. One of the most well known of the Leek antiques dealers, Roger Haynes, passed away in 2014. Roger had been involved in Leek antiques for many, many years and had acquired a wealth of knowledge and endless friends and contacts unsurpassed in the Leek antiques trade. Many of the American dealers made the trip to Leek purely because of their relationship with Roger with one or two becoming the best of friends. The closure of Compton Mill to be developed into housing for the elderly is also a major setback for the leek antiques trade and the end of an era but if there’s one thing you can be sure of it’s that the Leek antiques dealers are a resourceful kind and am sure will continue to prosper.
Leek has its general market day on Wednesday’s but, in addition to this, there is a bric a brac market every Saturday morning where you can still find a bargain amongst the Leek antiques.