Total Pageviews


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Arundel and The Old Swallow Brewery

Arundel and
The Old Swallow Brewery

Arundel, Sussex UK.


Castle on one hill, boasting 1000 years of history.

Cathedral standing majestically over the town on another.

Commissioned in 1868.
Designed by the architect James Hansom who also invented the Hansom cab.

the gardens in the Collector Earl Gardens are just stunning, particularly at tulip time.

A river running through.

The river Arun.


One of the fastest running rivers in the UK.

In the early 19th century Arundel was still a bustling port.

Buildings in the town date back to the 16th, 17th and 18th century.

There are still two late medieval buildings in Arundel High Street.

Houses in King Street were built by Napoleonic prisoners of war.

 There's a theatre.
Small and intimate.
Home of the Arundel Players.

Ghost, old town and riverside tours.

You can listen to jazz in an eerie 1836 jailhouse
 where prisoners were kept before, well, you know.

 You can hire it for private parties or corporate events.

drummers Westie to the left

At the Town Hall, you can get married,
 have a party or watch the latest film.

(Not all at the same time of course)

 And sip a glass of wine or cup of tea in the interval while they change the reel.

The scenery is so beautiful it will take your breath away.

Restaurants,  pubs and sandwich shops are around every corner.

you won't go hungry....

or thirsty.....

The Kings Arms is the oldest pub in town.

Then there is the Wildfowl Trust, Swanbourne Lake,
individual quirky gift shops, antique shops and centres, art galleries,
that's without even mentioning
 the ten-day gallery trail,

 and the Arundel Festival.

And no, I don't work for the Arundel Tourist Board.

And yes, it has its problems and irritations,
 like all towns.

But there's something special about Arundel.

Nass and I live
 in a small Victorian cottage by the river,
with our spaniel, Elsa.

Who nearly didn't make her 1st birthday last September.

A grass seed went into her leg and migrated to her spine.

It was a scary few months.

So every daily walk over the Arundel hills

 or beside the river is a double joy.

Our road is friendly.

The odd minor verbal spat, but they are
 few and far between.

a street where neighbours are more
 likely to share a bottle of Prosecco and a summer barbecue
 than borrow a pint of milk.

And they are the first to
 rally round if anyone's in trouble.

We've been in Arundel over 30 years.

Our antiques warehouse/showroom is the other end of the same street.

In the last remaining buildings of the
18th century
 Swallow Brewery.

"The Swallow Brewery existed long before GS Constable
 with trade directory entries for the brewery dating back to 1783- the year of the French Revolution"

The Old Brewery Warehouses

They are not easy to find.

if  you are interested in English and French
 decorative interiors and something a bit different,
 it's worth persevering.

Just two minutes from Arundel High Street,
(well, only one if you walk fast.)

Come down from the High Street to the river,
cross the bridge, keeping to the right.

Next to William Hill, you'll see an alley, (or twitten as we say down south.)

Walk to the end and turn left.

Then take a sharp left.

Don't be put off by Co-op vans delivering.

Or the fact the back of the shops
 looks a little scruffy.

It's not the most salubrious part of town.

But trust me, you'll be glad you bothered.

There are three warehouses.
Plenty of room for cars or shipping vans to collect.

The first warehouse you come to is French Loft.

French Loft

We all had varied work backgrounds before arriving
 at the Old Brewery and Rowland Leach was no exception.

Rowland worked in advertising in London for many years.

In 2000 he and his wife, Mary, bought West Stoke House in the Sussex countryside.

They transformed it from a private house into a Michelin star restaurant with rooms.

They later opened the Amelie and Friends restaurant in Chichester,
before turning to their passion for antiques.

Here's more about them and how they came to be in Arundel.

French Loft is on two floors.

For many years it was the workshop of a local decorative ironworker.

Rowland, Mary and their right-hand man, Graham
 had a massive job cleaning and renovating the building.

It paid off though.
They transformed it.

It's open 7 days a week.

In the middle warehouse,
there's the affable Steve Lawrence

Harmony Antiques

Open every day except Sunday.

For many years Steve worked alongside Nass, 
my husband, for an antique dealer.

They would often be found loading vans to the brim
 and travelling all over the country, 
either delivering or collecting from auction houses.

The rapport Steve and Nass had then, exists to this day.

They can occasionally be found weeping
 with laughter over some private joke,
 that makes no sense to the rest of us.

They help each other shift furniture around in both our warehouses.

Now, however, they do it with groans and aching knees.

At Harmony, Steve has a combination of
English and French decorative pieces.

One of his specialities are French
 1940's Tambour filing cabinets.

If you're looking for an English or French
 19th-century chair to upholster in your own fabric,
Steve always has a good selection.

"At Harmony our aim is to offer
 an interesting mix of Antiques,
 including furniture for interiors and
 gardens, lighting, paintings, ornaments for inside and out and quirky one-off objects."

You will find all his latest stock items on The Hoarde.!/dealer=harmony-antiques

(By the way, Harmony also offer an excellent curtain making service)

Arundel Eccentrics

Nass had been a PE teacher when I met him.
My son's, as it happens.
I joined the PTA when I was going through a divorce.
Thought it would keep me busy.

We organised a summer ball.
Posh do it was.
Nass was the member of staff on duty.
The rest, as they say.......

I had done a few interesting jobs in my past.

Years ago I nursed.

This was for an ad for the nursing agency I worked for,
 (I don't ever remember looking that smart on the wards)

Was, for a while, Vegetarian Chef at the wonderful West Dean College.

Then the worst waitress in the world.
Rubbish memory, you see.

In the early days of building up Arundel Eccentrics

I worked full-time nights.

A residential home in Crawley.
"Adolescents With Challenging Behaviour."

It was wild, scary and totally unpredictable.
 I was exhausted most of the time.
But it paid the bills.

For 7 years I painted and decorated furniture every spare minute.

 On my 4 work nights, I drove an hour to Crawley,
worked a 13.5-hour shift and drove back to Arundel.
Painted some more.
Fell into bed for 5 hours of sleep.
Got up and did it all over again.


I originally started in the Swallow brewery warehouses over 2o years ago.

With two friends I had met at
The Body Shop Headquarters in Littlehampton.
We were teaching ourselves to paint and decorate furniture.

The idea was to sell on market stalls, but we ended up in the warehouse instead.

 Ambiance was born.

The landlord let us use the empty front shop for a summer.
It's now William Hill.

Afterwards, I worked for an antique dealer
 decorating with decoupage for several years.

For a while, I had a shop in Ninevah House
the converted chapel in Tarrant Street,
 and a showroom/workshop
 in a barn on a farm in Binsted,
a village just outside Arundel.

When the opportunity arose for Nass and Steve to set up
we found the warehouse was empty so moved back.

Nass and I have a combination of
English and French decorative antiques.

We also decorate English Victorian bamboo and chests.

 and vintage buckets and pots

that wind up like this

but start out like this

It was the decoupage that brought us to the
 attention of the fabulous Liberty store in London.

In 2016 they offered us a space.

It turned out to be the whole of the room on the 4th floor.

We were thrilled to be asked.

Can you imagine???

One minute you are behind the Co-op in Arundel.
The next in one of the most prestigious stores in the UK.

This was the day we moved in.

and last November we won a best small business award

Here's an idea of what we have in our showroom at the moment.

Come down and see us all if you visit Arundel.

Have a great day