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A new obsession

You can thank Naomi from Vintage Secret for my latest passion. She has the most beautiful array of vintage bone china, some of which stays in her possession at all times, but a lot of which is hired out for events and parties all across London, under the Vintage Secret at Home banner. Being short on disposable income now, I have had to seek solace in weekly trips around all the local charity shops in the vain hope of finding a vintage gem. So far, I’ve not found a single thing. But what I have come across is a plethora of gorgeous vintage bone china, usually languishing unloved in a dusty corner and with very reasonable price tags. About three weeks ago, I bought myself the most divine forty-piece Alfred Meakin tea set dating to 1933. It looks like this:

This pattern is Alfred Meakin ‘Caledonia’. Isn’t it lovely? I bought all 40 pieces (12 cups, saucers and cake plates, milk jug, sugar bowl and two large plates) for £22 and watched a set of ten places plus milk jug and sugar bowl go for £150 on eBay only a few days later!

Now, in all my time of having my own place and of being grown up enough to have tea parties, I have thrown tea parties a total of… never, so a 12-person tea service is not going to see much use at the moment (a very good excuse to start though… anyone for tea at my place?). And I already had a six-person set of Colclough china. So imagine my consternation when I kept coming across more beautiful and thoroughly cheap bone china during my trips around the local car boot sale and charity shops!

So, after discussing it with Naomi, I have decided to start up my own collection of china to hire out, as the Southern Counties branch of VS at Home. It’s not going to be a bookable service quite yet – I’ll probably launch it in the spring, when I have even more lovely china to choose from. And my china will also be used during Roaring For Teas parties when that service gets going. But before that, I thought I would share my favourite finds so far with you, in case any readers are fellow china buffs. 🙂

Stamped ‘Melba Bone China’, this handpainted set dates to the 20s or early 30s. I have six of everything plus a larger plate. Unfortunately one of the teacups is cracked, and I trusted the seller so didn’t check them all thoroughly enough. I have learned my lesson! If anyone sees a cup in this pattern for sale let me know… sadly, I think it is super rare.

Another early 30s set by Royal Vale China (which later became Colclough). I only have two cups, but six saucers and cake plates, plus a larger plate.

This next trio stirred up some controversy when I mentioned it on Twitter! I will admit I was being slightly sensationalist though!

It was made by German porcelain manufacturers Felda Rhön. It dates to between 1933 and 1949, so it was effectively produced in Nazi-Era Germany, although it’s unlikely it was produced during WWII and it was NOT made for the Nazis or the SS as it lacks a swastika on the bottom. It’s also far too pretty for any soldier or politician! 😉 Still, it makes me wonder what this little trio has ‘seen’ and how it made it over here.

These next two are 1960s sets, but so pretty!

Beautiful, graceful white china with pale green bases and middles, decorated with 22kt gold (or so it says on the bottom).

This is a typically chintzy Queen Anne set, but the cups are a nice shape, and it’s in lovely condition.
I will stop there as the rest of my bits, although pretty, aren’t particularly rare. The other sets I have photographed (along with the ones here) are in this Flickr set, but I have more I haven’t taken any shots of yet.

Do you collect a particular pattern? I will now be on the hunt for a teapot in the Caledonia pattern to match my set… in fact I can’t find a vintage teapot at all! I have a lovely coffee pot and matching milk jug, but I think teapots are much harder to come by. I expect they are used until they break and any that do get given away are probably snapped up much quicker. So if anyone ever sees one that matches mine, do let me know, won’t you!

Pip pip,

Fleur xx



Your china is just SO lovely! My grandmother collected cups and saucers. She had about twenty sets. After she passed I was lucky enough to get them. I've kept them all (except for a world's fair cup and saucer which I passed on to a friend who collects such things) but they've just been languishing in a box. Seeing your collection makes me want to bring them out into the light again.

Miss Matilda

Now we are really talking 🙂
Hope you don't mind me posting this link http://missmatildadreams.blogspot.com/2009/02/morale-booster-for-troops.html
I managed to complete my grandmother's teaset from a chap in Ramsbottom, the shop is on the same road as the chip shop Aggy Deyn worked in before fame came for her.
Anyway, I love china, always have.
I got my set pretty cheap and the guy said teasets are no longer in demand, so I hope you help to turn the tide Fleur! xx

Straight Talking Mama!

hey Fleur that's a slippery slope your standing on my dear! I love china, always had far too much, never use it enough but can't part with it, although have parted with some. I'll keep an eye out for your design!


Fleur I am so shocked you havent come across any vintage gems in your local charity shops, I work as retail development co ordinator for a chain of 19 shops and all my vintage comes from our shops……we also have lots of lovely china quite often from house clearances we carry out, do let me know if there is anything special you would like me to look out for….especially for your rental.

Ms de Vil

I completely understand your obsession being tea set collector myself. I managed to snag myslef a complete Royal Vale and also a Winston set in a charity shop up in Peterborough not so long ago (I did a blogpost about them) and I'm always on the hunt for more.

Pink Flower

What sweet finds, we recently found an idea of reusing old china cups and saucers as little plant pots for spring bulbs especially little crocuses.

Helen Highwater

Very nice!

I inherited a 50s/60s coffee set from my grandparents and then bought another set that I found in a charity shop, but I haven't bought any more because I don't have room. Oh, and I'm clumsy.

What I absolutely love though is the "Homemaker" china range which was originally sold in Woolworths. I only have one plate though, a side plate, but hey… It's just so adorable with all the little pictures of 50s furniture on it!


The Glamorous Housewife

Wonderful sets! I drink a cup of tea in the morning and again around 2:00pm. Keeps me going throughout the day. I have my grandmother's tea set and I just love it.

Thanks doll,
The Glamorous Housewife

Fleur de Guerre

Gabriella: Ooh how fabulous! World's Fair one sounds awesome too!

Miss M: I remember that post! Do you use your set?

Fiona: Thanks lovely!

Katie: well I'm amazed! Where are your shops?? I promise there is nothing remotely vintage in any of the shops around here, all high street labels etc. I do keep a closer eye on the independents though.

Ms de Vil: I just looked, yours are amazing!

Wicca'd Witch: Ooh thank you! Will check out the site too.

Pink Flower: What a fab idea: I will use the cracked ones for just such a thing.

Helen: Oh, I've seen that china but didn't know what it was called. I haven't seen it in real life though – if I do, I'll snap it up for you!

Syd: Thanks doll!

Always chasing: Thank you!

Glam Housewife: TWO cups a day?! How do you manage! I need at least 4… pints! I don't drink it from little teacups, not enough in there for me! 😉


Fleur, these are such lovely pieces, and I think it's a smashing idea to share them via the rental idea. As for my own "collection," I have inherited my grandmother's china, both a mismatched bunch she used when family gathered on a casual Sunday, and her more formal set, which I never saw her use, but admired in awe in her china cabinet; it is really romantic Royal Albert china with these lovely violets on it.

P.S.: Being a MAJOR tea jenny myself, I not only share your love of bone china (though I am by no means a knowledgeable collector), but I too take my tea by the pintful…and/or I.V. drip if necessary on extremely cold days. xoxo.

Marie M

very nice china collection… The story with your german china reminds me another story. I've , somewhere in the house and don't really know where ( you will understand why when i finish) a playing cards deck. I've found it in my old house and play many time without see a stamp on the heart ace. It's a friend of mine who discover the truth about this deck. On the ace there is a nazi stamp with svastika. The explanation is simple, my house was the ancient notary desk till 50s. And like all notary desk nazis have requisitioned it during war , especially here in Alsace. So when they gone one forget his cards deck in the house. Since my friend discover that i hide it and now i don't remember where. In the same spirit, my father has burned two nazi flags founded in the cellar. I think its was the notary desk flags. My 350 years old house has many stories, it's for that i love it.

Andi B. Goode

I started drooling over your collection when I saw it on flickr! You've found some beautiful pieces. I know nothing about china except what looks lovely!
My mum and I collect tea-cups but I don't know much about any of them. Maybe I should try to do a little research!
-Andi x
PS Hiring your pieces out is such a great idea!

The Cherry Blog

oooh i love vintage tea cups, every flea market i go to my other half has to hold me back from buying so many! just found your blog i love it! I have a vintage clothing online boutique so enjoy reading your posts. xx

Nadja, Lillen och Lillens pappa

O boy! (Girl! Sorry;))
Were do you have all???
I was brought up with english porseline/ bonechina! And I inherret some from my grandma and aunt.
I have a crush (spelling???) for the Royal Albert serie with diferent flowers every months. Also I love the Myotts "Coaching sceenes" beeing a horselover 😉 sadly my last mug lost it´s ear last year but I still use it!
I love china with roses! I think we had something simmilar to your Qeen Anne and I have some marked Staffordshire that I love but don´t dare to use…
Here i´m babbeling on like an old lady 😉
Thank you for the post! Hope you find your teapot, I´ll keep an eye for you here!


i love china, I have a pretty royal blue pattern, but my grandmother also has a ton of china tea cups that I would love to procure one day.


You have some lovely china! I may end up collecting myself, one day but probably only single teacups! My mum has similar German china to yours but it was definitely post-war West German made.


Fleur, our shops are based in South West London…there is a website http://www.chinafinder.co.uk which a lot of our customers use when they are looking for a replacement piece for sets that are no longer in production….if you were looking to make complete sets for rental this might be of use, personally I prefer the mismatched look. A lovely couple who became some of our regular customers had an afternoon tea for their wedding and they spent every weekend searching for floral tea cups and saucers for their special day.
We get some great tea pots – I love tea pots and use a lot of my vintage metal ware ones to house flowers around the house.
If you would like me to put aside cups and saucers you only have to ask….

Fleur de Guerre

Landgirl: good to know it's not just me! Hehe, IV drip!

Marie M: What a cool story!!

Maggi: ta!

Andi: Fab, and thanks!

Cherry: Thank you so much!

Penelope: Thank you!

Nadja: Ooh, thanks, let me know if you spot anything!

Heather: I need to snaffle my own granny's set which my mum is hoarding at the moment!

TCSM: Just call me the Enabler 😉

Perversia: Thanks lady!

Katie: I'm on the edge of South West london and need little prompting to come visit – what's the chain? If you do get any nice big teapots (4-6 cups+) please do save them for me – all I ever see is ugly coffee pots!


I am very excited for you about your new ventures! People are the most successful and happiest when they do things that they are passionate about. Best to you and your pretty china and hostessing! x


I love this post! I'm BIG on china as well, ever since I was a child! I can't be taken to thrift shops (or I suppose "charity shops" where you are) because as soon as I go to that section I spend every last penny I have on china. Hope you find a teapot! I've also been trying to find one. I'm definitely envying you for getting your hands on such a big set! Complete (and especially BIG) sets are SO hard to come by here for some reason!


Oh Fleur, I guarantee you that using and collecting your lovely tea things will bring MUCH joy! I held my first tea party not long ago, a charity event for the RSPCA and everybody delighted in using proper china. There's something just so special and restful about it… the ritual of taking tea. Well done!

Love Poppy

Lovely pictures of your china… I love vintage china too.. I know you are in Surrey but just in case it appeals to you I thought I would let you know that I am offering Vintage Afternoon Tea in Brighton in my home on Sunday 20th December.It is part of the secret supper clubs that are now popular in London.
If your interested you can view my blog or the supperclub website for more details.


Look forward to hearing from you,

Love Poppy…

tea cozies

What sweet finds, we recently found an idea of reusing old china cups and saucers as little plant pots for spring bulbs especially little crocuses.


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