Yesterday, myself and the partner went along to the International Living History Fair at Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds near Lutterworth, Leicestershire. It's organised by 'Skirmish' Magazine (which is always worth picking up for the excellent articles - even if you're not a re-enactor).
We turned up just after 12 o'clock and it there seemed to be a steady crowd of people already milling about. Unfortunately the re-enactors were due to stage their events on the field over Saturday and Sunday (11th-12th April), so most traders were using Friday to set out their stalls. The advantage for us was that we managed to get first dibs on some absolute bargains, that would've been snapped up had we arrived much later! It also meant that most of the re-enactors present could take their time chatting instead of having to dash off to do the display. One of the highlights was getting to talk at length to a couple of the ACW guys who'd turned up with their artillery.
There were some great book stalls there, and my first purchases were David Chandler's "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars", The National Army Museum Book "The Road to Waterloo", David Hamilton Williams "Waterloo: New Perspectives" and "A Good Dusting: Sudan Campaigns" by Henry Keown Brown. All for a bargain at just £2.50 each!!!!
It was a real eye-opener wandering around some of the artisan/craft stalls. The effort and research people put into creating their costumes and weapons is fantastic. I had a long discussion with a guy from the Brunswicker group (photo below) about the construction of his uniform. The 'American Civil War Sutler' had a stall there too, and I couldn't help but purchase a confederate cavalryman's kepi with badge (bit of a childhood dream fulfilled there!). Again, the quality was really superb.
On the wargaming front I came across a guy who had a few boxes of 28mm Napoleonics (Foundry) that he was flogging for a friend. £2 and £3 a bag for around 8-12 figures in each. I picked up about 3 regiments and a bag of mounted officers. Lovely!
A special mention has to go to the Derby Wargames Group who had put on a game of Blucher. I was very impressed by their home made terrain mat, which was a rug coloured with watered down acrylics.
If you're in the vicinity this weekend, it's well worth the detour. Only £4.50 entrance. Plus you'll get to see all the re-enactors in their full glory (which we missed). More details here: