Pamela Chapman & The Things That Make Her Swoon

‘Swoon’ is a feature we run where we take the time to ask a few of our favourite people about the products or places they love. We asked Pamela Chapman, What makes you Swoon?

Pamela Chapman runs the Backstage Management and Fashion Dressing company Chapman Burrell, alongside her daughter Emily. They are renowned as the glue that holds together the London Fashion Week catwalks and events. Here are the things that make Pamela Swoon!


Let’s begin with London. Starting early from Waterloo Bridge, I love the walk along south Bank. Last weekend there was a Classic Car Boot Sale at the Jubilee Gardens – a perfect activity for a warm spring day! There is always something going on and it makes me smile and be proud to be British! Look at the book stalls; marvel at the human statues; catch sand sculptures (if the tide is out); watch the skate boarders. (Check out what is happening on And end up in Bermondsey Street for lunch at one of many good eateries. My Dad was born at number 46, now a charming shop selling children’s toys. If you pop in there, you may see this picture on their wall, my Dad is holding the kitten.

Family black and white 006The Thames

Sticking with the Thames, my friend Sue and I once walked from the source to the barrier. We stopped frequently for Sue to paint and for me to take photographs, finally having an exhibition to raise money for The Richmond Venturer. It is a beautiful river and starts magically and unbelievably as a small puddle in the corner of a field in the Cotswolds. Take time out to visit pretty much any part of it and walk the Thames Path for a while.

The Thames

The beginning of the Thames

Faversham Creek

We live on a dutch Barge on the Thames, hence our love for the river. But we go down-stream too and, for many years, have been part of the Swale Smack and Barge Match which starts off in the Swale River behind the Isle of Sheppey. There is nothing quite like race morning, hearing the crews pulling up anchor and setting sails, softened sounds reaching our ears in the quiet of early morning. A favourite mooring whilst in the area is Faversham Creek and I have grown to love this small market town. It’s one of those places where I feel totally “at home”. It is a town which inspires me, with several craft type shops popping up, lots of charity shops, various markets and antique centres and a superb choice of cafes. Easily accessible just off the M2/A2 or by train, take a day trip! And make sure you walk down Abbey Road to the Creek. In fact, make it a weekend!

Boat picture favershamCollectables

I collect – some say hoard – “stuff”. I have a weakness for fabric and haberdashery items. My head is full of ideas of things to make, and one day I will, honestly!

One of the places I find “stuff” is just up the road from where I live. Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse is a wonderful experience. It is held on the second and last Tuesday of each month. Free entry and free parking or train from Waterloo on the Shepperton line. Before you go, I suggest you decide what you want/need, which may make your visit quicker. Otherwise, you can easily get there at 6am and still be browsing at noon! There are over 700 stalls, inside and out, so put on your walking shoes! Kempton hosts many other events, not just horseracing. There are fairs for toys, postcards, rock & gem – even a Parrot Show!

Kempton park antiquesEveryman Cinemas

Most recent discovery? Live screenings at Everyman Cinemas. Our local is Walton. It is small, you sit on comfortable sofas or arm chairs. There is a bar and food and drink can be served as you watch, we saw War Horse there recently. What’s not to like? No travel to town, no parking worries, close up views and £15 each. Brilliant – but book early.  It’s very popular.


And may I finish by telling you who I admire?  My Mum, Joan Chapman who, supported by my Dad, George, started our business.  When I took over from her, my husband Edward did the maths for me and now our daughter, Emily, is taking us flying into a third generation.  Well done Mum!  You can see what we do on

And watch this space, because another project I have in mind is to “blog” all the memorabilia Mum collected from shows she worked on, starting in the seventies.  If you knew how long it took me to write this small blog entry for Susie, you would understand me asking the following:  if anyone out there has an interest in a backstage view of fashion shows from the seventies to now – please come and write it for me!!!

Thanks Pamela!