Echoes of the past: Beware, your hoard will outlive you!

editorial image

Having visited and spoken at many ladies groups one of my presentations involves being a collector what someone else might call a hoarder or even someone who is just too skinny to through it out.

Whatever it is, this is a talk that always goes down well. I do take the opportunity of telling any male members in the audience to remember that if you are pulled up when you get home and asked what rubbish have brought home now. Saying ‘It’s ok this has got real potential,’ is usually enough to convince them it is worth you keeping it.

I think most people have collected something whether it be stamps, beer maps, postcards, train numbers and what the professionals call ephemera. This means things that were produced for the one off event such as a programme, ticket, a letter with a nicely printed header or bookmark. The collecting craze is something that young lads then as adults tend to do more than girls and women.

Gradually over the years the interest in collecting will either fade or become more serious which can involve paying higher prices for the more scarce items you collect. Whilst you are buying up as much as you can to enhance your collection all the time you are getting older.

Now spare a thought what would happen if you were not there and your loved ones had to deal with your collection. What should they do with it. Some might say chuck it out, but wait a minute this vast collection has been some ones pride and joy for decades and will have some monetary value.

Henry Nixon who lives in Brighouse is someone I met 30 years ago when he asked me to carry out some research about his bottle collection. When I called to see him I quickly realised that he was a serious collector and had a vast collection.

But Henry has got older and has now decided it is time to call halt to his days of digging for old beer bottles, earthenware beer jars, Edwardian and Victorian porcelain toothpaste lids and small pieces of china.

Henry’s family are unlikely to be interested he told me when I visited him last week. He went on to say that he was concerned that they may just get thrown out one day.

So rather than that happened he has decided to sell the remainder of his collection.

The whole collection is a veritable who’s who in the business trade in Brighouse during the late Victorian and Edwardian era.

These examples of beer bottles are originally from the George Hotel and date back to the 1890s when James Dyson was the licensee.

Each bottle has the licensees name embossed in the glass. One bottle is for the Punch Bowl Hotel which dates back to Jonathan Helliwell c1905. The name Caldwell is on a number of the smaller bottles - this was Samuel Cardwell who was a dispensing chemist at 98 Commercial Street in 1910. There are small pieces of commemorative ware for some a couple of local chapels which at some stage in their life they had just been thrown out or lost.

As I sat there listening to the story of each of Henry’s ‘discoveries’ it was obvious that he did not want to think they would be just thrown out. He feels it is time to part with them and let someone else have the pleasure and enjoyment he has had with these gems of local history.

If you are a collector and local bottles and earthenware is your interest then you can contact Henry on 01484 520949 for further information.