JULY 2024

Antiques And CollectablesFeatures

Over the years I have given many talks on antiques to various groups, churches, women’s institutes, and old people’s homes. I do these talks free of charge and thoroughly enjoy them. I have met some lovely people and heard some fascinating stories, mostly concerning the last World War. 

One that stands out was an exceedingly small lady, less than five foot tall. During and just after the war she had flown into Europe to bring back injured soldiers (mostly officers or important to the war effort). She was generally left to her own devices and would second anyone to help her with injured patients. She told me that during the Blitz in London she would often turn up with a patient to a hospital only to find out the hospital was bomb damaged. She would then get stuck in and help to move the patients to another hospital. She would go days without proper rest. 

I have such admiration for all those selfless people who served our country. I became a friend to this lady, and me and my wife would often go for tea. She lived in a Victorian house that her family had built, and it remained a family home for over 100 years. She would set the table in a Victorian manner and tea would be served with a silver tea set – a proper lady who sacrificed her life to help others, because after the war she worked voluntarily for a children’s orphanage for many years. 

Another remarkable man I met at a talk was an unassuming person, we got talking about the war and he slowly opened up about his experiences. He along with his mates parachuted behind enemy lines and he got cut off from his comrades in a mountainous area. As night fell, he dug himself into a fox hole, and during the night the hole half filled with freezing water – by morning he was half frozen into the bog. In the meantime, his comrades had found each other and refused to give up on him. After an extensive search they found him, and with the help of some partisans they resuscitated him and brought him back to life. He survived and served out the remainder of the war. What a wonderful, quiet, unassuming man he was. 

On my talks I ask people to bring in items for me to value and talk about, and this is one of my favourite things to do. I have had some fascinating things brought in; a lady brought in a lovely spoon warmer shaped as a conch shell in silver. The servants would fill it with hot water, and it made it easier to eat your ice cream – one couldn’t put a cold spoon in one’s mouth! How the other half lived in Victorian times. The format of the talks is for people to display these items on a table, and I then go through them one by one, there is usually a remarkably diverse selection. I am not an expert on everything but after over 40 years’ experience I can identify most things. On one particular occasion though there was an item on the table I didn’t know what it was. I skirted round this object and talked about everything else. A lady in the front row noticed I had bypassed the object, and it was obviously hers. I will describe it – it was made of brass, about 2” square with a lever concealed at the side. When I pushed the lever, four razor sharp hooked blades shot out from a groove. I did then know what it was. A Georgian scarifier which was used by doctors for letting blood. Thank goodness for the NHS!

If you would like to book me for a talk, or have interesting items you would like valued, please call into the shop, or give me a ring. 

Please see advert below for contact details and opening times. 

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