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The Peter Punchard Collection

It’s a Cracker

pages 6 & 7

pages 4-5

How did the image of a steam train become such a symbol of Christmas? Why is that in our vision of the elf toy production line the elves are always making trains and not cars? And, why are snow covered scenes on Christmas cards always threaded with steam trains and not replacement bus services? Is there a version of the Nativity where Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem not on a donkey but on the 9.15 stopping at Jabal Harasa and Bayt Sahur? Well in a way possibly. It is certainly true that the image of a train moving people home for the holidays could be considered the modern day replacement of the “little donkey� taking his people home all those centuries before. And for many of a certain generation in cultures with a strong tradition of going home for Christmas, a seasonal special

to get you home is an indelible memory.

model of a train running around the carpet or the lino or the floorboards. It may not On platform 2 we have the mail have had a station to stop at, it train; bringing messages from may not even have had any family and friends and more coaches but it certainly took importantly, for the smaller you somewhere. And perhaps ones, bringing packages as that is the key; trains can exciting as any delivered by move you. They have a direct Santa himself. It was rail that lineage right through your brought the seasonal spices family history and they are the and flavours into our towns memories we hold on to and villages and without them most. the spread of any sort of season would have been much These memories are then more limited. laced with children looking wistfully into the big And just arriving on platform 3 department store windows we have the figurative express where there is always a train stopping at all points racing through the display. Christmas past. This train Together with movies takes you back to your front showing children running room and the image of you downstairs and being greeted and your family watching a by a perfectly set up Santa small scale, it had to be scale, special running beneath the

Toys of Distiction Saturday 9 December 10am

tree and tinsel. If we didn’t want a train as a kid we certainly believe we did now. So for those that always wanted one or indeed never stopped owning them, then our next Toys auction will certainly be a good place to stop. Included in the sale is this illustrated example of a Marklin ‘O’ gauge 0-4-0 20v loco estimated £400-600. Together with a fine private collection of Wrenn ’OO’ gauge loco’s, coaches and rolling stock. The sale also features Hornby’O’ gauge, Hornby, Mainline and TTR “OO” gauge items. Please contact Rob Kinsella for further details.

Christmas Opening Times 2 0 1 7

Fri 15 Dec Sat 16 Dec

All Sales as usual Open Deliveries & Collections

8.30am - 6pm 8.30am-12noon

Mon 18 Dec Tues 19 Dec Wed 20 Dec Thurs 21 Dec

Fri 22 Dec Sat 23 Dec

Usual opening hours 8.30am-5pm Usual opening hours 8.30am-5pm Open 8.30am-12noon Poultry Show & Sale 5pm Viewing from 4pm NO OTHER SALES ON VIEW NO SALES Closed

Mon 25 Dec Tues 26 Dec Wed 27 Dec Thurs 28 Dec Fri 29 Dec Sat 30 Dec

Closed Closed Open Viewing All Sales as usual Deliveries & Collections

Monday 1 Jan


10am-3pm 12noon-5pm 8.30am-2.30pm 8.30am-12noon

Merry Christmas from all at TW Gaze

The Poor Pastry Cook and His Novel Idea Over recent years there has been a revival in the importance of the Christmas cracker as a major ingredient of the annual festivities. The quality, range and imaginative presentation of modern crackers encourages people to spend larger amounts on them and many are colourcoordinated or themed to coincide with current favourite children’s characters, appearing in their own special edition boxes. Today, bespoke crackers can be found for weddings, birthdays, and general celebrations; not to mention the “fill your own” variety. However, on researching the subject, I find that these trends are not new but a return to tradition. Even in Victorian times crackers were not confined to Christmas. For example, from the 1880’s to the 1960’s, Mason and Church produced a range of special wedding crackers.

The story of crackers as we know them today had its beginning with a man named Tom Smith, a poor pastry cook, who after returning from a trip to Paris, had the idea of introducing the popular French comfit or bon-bon (a sweet or sugared almond wrapped in a screw of tissue paper) into Britain. The first crackers were called bon-bons because early examples always contained sweets and this name remained for some time after the scope of the cracker had grown. By 1847 love mottoes were included within the paper and by 1850 the sugared almonds had been replaced by trinkets, toys and even jewellery. In France they were distributed at parties as ice-breakers and conversation starters, but initially they were not very well received in this country. Legend has it that musing on his lack of success and impending financial ruin whilst seated by an open

fire, Tom Smith was inspired by the sparking of a burning log in the grate to introduce a bang or “crack” into the comfits. Either way, the “snap” was introduced in 1860, by which time crackers more resembled the shape we know today. By 1880, sets of crackers were being sold in coordinating boxes. Other novelties plus hats were gradually introduced and the popularity of crackers in this guise led to world-wide demand. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, topicality was most important to cracker sales. At that time it was Suffragettes, Polar expeditions, politics and all kinds of commemoratives having their special years. During the 1930’s characters form film cartoons proved best sellers for children’s parties, much as in 1993 with those decorated with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Beauty and the Beast, or “Frozen” in 2013 and Minions in

2017, whose popularity continues with the release of “Despicable Me 3” this year. The novelties and toys have become collectable in their own right. Miniature carved whistles and spinning tops were made in the cottage industries of France. Both Doulton and Wedgwood produced a range of miniature vases for crackers, many of which found their way into dolls’ houses. By the 1970’s, Wade Whimsies were a staple inclusion in crackers. Charms and miniature kitchen utensils made of tin were also popular, most of which would now be banned as being dangerous. Costs eventually became prohibitive and more inexpensive items were included in the crackers. By the mid to late 20th Century most of these were being imported from Hong Kong. Through all these changes the paper hats, jokes and mottoes remain almost standard. In 2017 the choice of cracker is bewilderingly large and some of the most luxurious contain well-made novelties and ornaments intended to be kept, clever gadgets, make-up or magic tricks. Some contain gaming pieces, others, musical notes, so that once all the

crackers have been pulled everyone can join in with a race or a tune. Alternatively, one can buy “self-assembly” cracker kits so that the contents can be chosen to suit the occasion. As with all paper products which are now considered unusual enough to collect such as match boxes, maps, and banknotes, crackers are difficult to store in the correct humidity and light levels and they also have a tendency to become squashed; and, of course, by definition there will be a limited number of early examples of

crackers to find as most have been pulled! Those that have survived are considered to be museum pieces, and pieces of historical interest rather than great financial worth – although there will always be the exception. Meanwhile, now we are in the festive spirit we have lots of “crackers” on offer throughout December starting with our Christmas Gifts sale on Friday 1 December. Specially selected over the last few months, the finer antiques will be gracing the saleroom with a warm festive feel. We have further auctions on the following two Fridays before resting on the 22 and returning for one more sale on Friday 29 December.

The words “private” “local” and “collection” always add a frisson of excitement to any auction promotion, but add “Railwayana”, “East Suffolk Railway” and “GER” to the mix and I begin to hear steam whistles blow ! The passion for local history generates much interest when opportunity arises to purchase artefacts which have played an integral part in forming that history; but there is something especially emotive about the history of the nation’s railways which pushes the importance beyond county boundaries. The first section of what is now the East Suffolk Line opened in 1854, going from Halesworth to Beccles and on to Haddiscoe. In 1859 the line extended south to Ipswich, the northern terminus being Yarmouth South Town station and the Beccles to Lowestoft branch opened at the same time. The line north of Beccles was closed in 1959; trains then used the remaining branch to Lowestoft. The development of this transport network left Southwold nine miles from a railway line. A once-a-day horse-drawn omnibus service from Darsham was not adequate to cope with needs. Thanks to the sterling work of The Southwold Railway Trust

which is ongoing and gaining momentum all the time, an awareness and understanding of train activity up and down East Suffolk in the second half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century is growing all the time. The East Suffolk Railway (and later the GER) refused requests for a branch line, so in 1875 the Southwold Railway Company was formed with the help of local people (many of whom bought shares). It was decided to build a 3ft gauge link track, and two successive Halesworth-based boards set about raising the money. The line, 8¾ miles in length, was opened on 24 September 1879. It linked Southwold with Walberswick, Blythburgh, Wenhaston and Halesworth, where passengers could connect with GER main lines. It is with great pride TW Gaze has been instructed to sell the Peter Punchard Collection of Railwayana and the auction has been timetabled to be held on Friday 5 January 2018. A Suffolk man, Mr Punchard followed in his Grandfather’s footsteps and began working for the railways. He joined British Railways in 1954 as a porter at Brampton. He then became a signalman in 1961, based mainly in Halesworth. He undertook various other roles over the years before retiring

in August 2003. His grandfather had helped to build the Southwold Railway, and Peter Punchard started his collection with items he acquired from his Grandfather. He continued to collect until his death in 2016 and will be well-known to many. His passion and determination to rescue and preserve artefacts from the railways which would otherwise have been discarded and lost is tangibly evident from the pieces in his collection. The term Railwayana references items relating to or concerning all aspects of railways, from pamphlets and ephemera such as line maps and station registers to station furniture, lineside equipment, lamps and enamelled signs. The Peter Punchard Collection represents all of these elements and more, almost exclusively from the Suffolk region. There are over 400 lots in the auction. Some of the rarities and highlights are a large “Halesworth for Southwold” enamelled sign, station totems, Lowestoft paychecks, single line tokens, pocket watches and named oil cans. For further details please contact Sale Organiser Daniel Woods on 01379 650306. Catalogues will soon be available on

Peter Punchard at work

The Peter Punchard Railwayana Collection Friday 5 January, 2018

Christmas Poultry Show and Sale Approx 250 lots of fresh, locally reared turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese and guinea fowl both rough plucked and oven ready.

G A Z E T T E TW Gaze Diss Auction Rooms, Issue 59 Diss, Norfolk IP22 4LN Christmas’17

TW Gaze Gazette  

Issue 59, December 2017