i n s p i r e d i n t e r i o r s • u n i q u e d e s i g n • s a lva g e t r e n d s • v i n ta g e s t y l e
A MID-CENTURY LAMP
Discover a design icon
I S S U E
D E C E M B E R
Meet Harry Diamond
2 0 1 6
9 772397 041003
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Lights from forgotten factories
Inside the world’s oldest Music Hall
Curious creations from the Thames
Fun and fearless interiors
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Follow Your heart to create Your own Interiors story There’s a certain allure to historical things. They’re often beautiful, reflecting times past when craft and design was taken more slowly; when everything from a grand bed fit for a king to the flour tin in a modest home was made with care. But today, it isn’t just this attention to detail that we appreciate. An attraction to vintage allows us to dream, to find unique, special things that make the stories in our imagination real – in our very own homes. Nowhere is this more apparent than with dealer Harry Diamond and his striking collection, at once macabre but also delicate. He shows that the simple truth of going with what you love can have spectacular results. And Philip and Olivia Oakley’s home is further testament to the beauty of choosing your heart’s desire. Their bright and bawdy home isn’t for everyone, but that’s the point – it’s for them. I’m inspired by the confidence in these two very different homes, and how the owners have done it their way. Further inspiration comes as we open the door on cabinets of curiosity, started by pioneers who travelled the globe, returning with items that fascinated them. It’s really interesting how ‘things’ can hold such power. Claire Read turns precious possessions into storyboxes, whilst the Blom Brothers find enduring grace in abandoned factory lamps, restoring them into covetable pieces. And in our new regular feature I look at the Barcelona chair and how this object has transcended its use to become a work of art. What holds all of these together is a willingness to go with love rather than logic. So it’s with an enquiring spirit that I invite you into this issue, and hope that you too are inspired to follow your heart. LOMA-ANN MARKS EDITOR
facebook.com/reclaimmagazine twitter.com/RECLAIMmagazine www.reclaimmagazine.uk
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© ALAN PILKINGTON
© JIM MARKS
© MATEI PLESA
© JIM BATTY
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A MID-CENTURY LAMP FROM MAYFLY VINTAGE PAGE 42
© CLAIRE MCDOUGALL
ON THE COVER
40 Barcelona! Not just a chair, but perfection
44 112 86
DESIGNER AND MAKER 64 Happily Ever After Claire Read turns precious objects into storyboxes 112 Mud Lark The Thames reveals its treasures to Robert Cooper
© WILDE FRY
24 Last Orders All the fun of the fair in this playful St. Leonards home 92 On the Map Find your bearings with antique map homewares 96 Light My Fire Guy Trench shows how to make an upcycled lamp 98 Step Aboard Narrowboat life with Jim Batty 106 A Vintage Beauty The trend for vintage interiors in the beauty business
EXPLORE 44 Show Time! Inside Wilton’s, the oldest music hall in the world 54 East of Eden Explore Eastnor, a quintessential castle 86 Tell Me Wye Innovative reclamation in the Wye Valley 118 This is the Sea A guide to Bournemouth’s vintage scene
i n s p i r e d i n t e r i o r s • u n i q u e d e s i g n • s a lva g e t r e n d s • v i n ta g e s t y l e
A MID-CENTURY LAMP
Discover a design icon
Turn to page 53 for details STYLE STAR
I S S U E
08 Odds & Ends Things to do, places to go, people to meet 18 Reclaim Edit Our curated selection of beautiful and unique pieces 32 Trip the Light Fantastic Step into the world of reclaimed lighting experts Blom Brothers 70 Diamonds are Forever Light, dark and the space in-between with dealer Harry Diamond 78 Curiouser and Curiouser Break the rules with Cabinets of Curiosity
© V&A, LONDON
D E C E M B E R
Meet Harry Diamond
2 0 1 6
9 772397 041003
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Lights from forgotten factories
Inside the world’s oldest Music Hall
Curious creations from the Thames
Fun and fearless interiors
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Odds & ends Things to do, places to go and people to meet
© ALICE ROBERTON
COMPILED BY ALICE ROBERTON
The Vintage Home Show The show is very much about colour, pattern, retro, kitsch and beautiful objects for the home. With over 50 hand-picked specialist traders you’ll be spoilt for choice for quality items from the Art Deco period, right up to the 1970s. Set in a listed Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish baths complex, which closed back in 1993, you’ll feel inspired by the design and style of yesteryear. l 23rd October, Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Manchester, M13 0FE vintagehomeshow.co.uk
© SARAH MOREL
Antiques in Tents This is one of those events that you journey to for the first time and are so glad you made the effort. Set in the homely environment of Burton Court, there are 45 carefully selected dealers occupying a series of large white tents attached to the side of the house. This is an excellent place to pick up heavenly decorative antiques and unusual pieces for the home and garden. Delicious home-cooked meals are served within the house and on cold days a log fire burns welcomingly. l 16th October, Burton Court, Eardisland, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 9DN antiquesintents.co.uk
Style Salvo is the on-going story of a woman, Sara Morel, and her journey into creating a more sustainable, and very personal, living environment. Having vowed to do up her home in west London with as many reclaimed materials as possible she took her first steps into a salvage yard and was won over. One bedroom, bathroom, garden, kitchen (and soon a walk-in wardrobe) later and her goal to seek a style to suit her own evolving taste is becoming a reality. Share the journey with Sara at style-salvo. com Thought for the day: saving to style, styling to save Follow @StyleSalvo on Instagram & Twitter
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THE JESSE COPE (DETAIL) CA.1310-25 © V&A MUSEUM, LONDON
THE SYON COPE (DETAIL) CA. 1310-20 © V&A LONDON
Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery This exhibition gives you the chance to explore, and indulge in, a selection of the most outstanding examples of English Medieval embroidery. Featuring surviving examples of exquisite craftsmanship, this exhibition focusses on the artistic skill of the makers and the world in which they were created. l V&A, Gallery 38A, London, SW7 2RL 1st October 2016 – 5th February 2017, vam.ac.uk/opus
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NEWS Hear Me Roar As new kid on the online block, this store is already making waves and gathering interest. Described as ‘Purveyors of Patina’, they showcase very on-trend, reclaimed character pieces and maverick home furnishings from a thriving community of sellers. l Roark Industries roarkindustries.co.uk
Rags to Riches If you love the idea of making your own bespoke rag rug, then this one-day course with Mary McGeown is for you. Traditionally made out of old, worn-out clothing, in the 19th century rag rugs were the ultimate ‘waste not, want not’ item for the home. Bring your own materials to ‘reclaim’ (materials also available to buy on the day) and weave a unique and stylish floor covering to enjoy under-foot this Autumn. l Intro to Rag Rugs, one-day course £115, 29th October & 11th November, The Goodlife Centre, London, SE1 0ES thegoodlifecentre. co.uk Making your Mark This day course will introduce you to the ancient art of Pyrography, by using a heated implement to burn a freehand design into a surface; traditionally wood, but also leather, paper, Tagua, bone, velvet, or even glass. The focus of this beginner’s course will be mark-making on wood and leather and you will complete two pieces to take home. l Introduction to Pyrography, 1-day course £70, 29th October, Lincoln Castle, Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA lincolncastle.com
SHOPPING That Déjà-Vu Feeling Two floors of delightful decorative antiques, vintage and salvage in Lostwithiel, a small town known as the ‘Antiques Capital of Cornwall’ due to its healthy number of antique shops and regular markets and fairs. This is the place to find your very own piece of Kernow treasure. l Déjà-vu Antiques, 31 Fore Street, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0BN dejavulostwithiel.co.uk
WE LOVE Jane Beck’s pure wool, Welsh midcentury blanket with hard-wearing herringbone twill and blanket-stitched ends has got our hearts singing all the way into the new season. £139, welshblankets.co.uk (huge range available)
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IN THE WORKSHOP ...In The Workshop with Tess Chodan of Hunter & Collector This month we are ‘in the workshop’ in Frome, Somerset to be shown what delights can be created when reclaimed Victorian domes and railway lanterns are cleverly adapted to house butterflies and moth displays. The results are magical. It all began when I was working in decorative interiors, and one day I unearthed a lovely Victorian glass dome at an antiques fair. The following week I bought a collection of perfectly preserved Edwardian moths, dating from around 1910, and found myself putting the two together, this was to be my first creation. Amazingly it sold straightaway and I realised there was potential in creating these pieces. I am inspired by the endless wonder of mother nature. I’m also drawn to the Victorian gothic aesthetic, and to those fabulous cabinets of curiosity (see our feature on page 78) curated by well-travelled gentlemen in the last two centuries. But
my ultimate inspiration is the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, which has a very special place in my heart due to its world-class natural history collection. The recent Levon Biss exhibition Microsculpture showing huge portraits of insects photographed using pioneering microscopic techniques was staggering. The sourcing process sees me travelling all over the place to find the perfect ‘containers’ for my work. My favourite objects to work with range from classic Victorian glass domes, to WWII railway lanterns and 1940s instrument cases, all of which I hunt down at auctions, antique fairs and car boot sales. My insects are mostly vintage or antique and I have been lucky enough to find some excellently preserved collections over the years. The making process starts once I have found the home, or container, for my piece. Next I will select which insects I am going to use. Generally, I use beetles, butterflies and moths, but I made a piece using dragonflies last year which I really loved. I use either wooden dowel or twisted hazel to mount the specimens; I’ve also recently experimented with light installations using incandescent bulbs and antique moths, the
effects of which are beautiful. Each piece has a unique personality and I love the idea that an everyday, often very utilitarian object, is given a new story to tell, and how ultimately the wonder of the natural world makes children of us all. Each piece is the result of many hours of work and is a complete one-off, I think people respond well to that. Butterflies in particular stir strong memories for many people of childhood, or simply a connection to a world that is often lost to us in this fast-paced, technologydriven one. My tools are fairly simple, I use a drill, a glue gun, scalpels, wire cutters, specialist forceps, screwdrivers and pliers on a daily basis. A sharp eye and a steady hand are the most valuable tools though. The art of preserving and mounting insects is an ancient one, the earliest record of a natural history cabinet dates back to the early 1500s. I hope that in some way I am continuing in that wonderful tradition, yet bringing it to a modern audience. l Hunter & Collector’s work is exhibited at The Good Gallery, 3 Stony Street, Frome, BA11 1BU goodgallery.co.uk For more information or to commission Tess visit hunterandcollector.weebly.com
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RECLAIM WITH HEART Each issue we shine a light on a business or social enterprise that is making headway by using reclaimed, salvaged or vintage materials and objects to create great products which change lives. This month, Elisicia Moore from Petit Miracle Interiors explains how people facing social challenges such as housing and employment can take control of their own lives. With the right training, and a large helping of reclaimed furniture, brighter futures are being made in this west London workshop and retail space.
Where did the idea for Petit Miracle come from? I worked at a great charity called Thames Reach managing a programme that offered decorating training to homeless people. But, as with many programmes in the homeless sector, women weren’t engaging with the service. My background was interior design and I felt pretty sure that if we offered something that was of interest to women they would attend. So I started offering taster days in interior design and, low and behold, the women came. We were over the moon and I was secretly ecstatic as I much preferred interior design to decorating. After I left the charity they didn’t continue with the training as I was the only person who had ever delivered it, but it was clear that I had to move forward with this idea. A year later Petit Miracle Interiors was born. How do you choose the pieces you sell? We look for those that are unique in appearance, as well as being functional. Shabby chic and modern painted furniture are still strong sellers so sourcing items, sympathetic to the restoration process, is imperative – this means the item must be in good condition, with only minor repairs, such as a loose spindle, chipped veneer or broken hardware. If an item is donated and damaged beyond restoration, we will dismantle it and use the parts to create new things, as we have noticed that more and more people are requesting bespoke work. So, when we aren’t creating lovingly restored items from customer
unemployment. The skills our trainee’s gain are those which employers are looking for. We unlock individual creativity, reduce social exclusion associated with homelessness and give individuals a sense of purpose. By providing affordable, and inspiring, furniture to local residents, we’re promoting pride in beneficiaries’ homes. donations, we, rather excitingly, have started our own furniture line from discarded materials. Tell us about the in-house training you offer? We’re a small outfit but we pack a mighty punch – we don’t just know what we want to achieve, we know how to achieve it and our experience and enthusiasm would be wasted without a rigorous, highly-structured modular approach. We offer a number of training options; short upcycling workshops in small groups in restoration, upholstery, interior design and basic DIY & power tool use, as well as longer courses designed to further enhance skills, gain accreditation and get people back into the working world. Our workshops are open access and cater for beginners, those looking to brush up on their skills, or those determined to gain a craft that will secure a better future. What’s the positive impact on the people you work with? By providing training and work experience in the painting, decorating and interior design trades we actively help people out of
Are there any cases where someone’s life has turned around and they’ve found a new career? Some of our biggest success stories are among our own team – people who’ve gone through the programme. Iyoub, our workshop manager, came through one of the first work experience placements and became our first full-time employee. One former apprentice is now our general manager, another has gone onto administration training at the NHS. One lady, who took all of our accredited training courses,has a diploma in Interior Design and is now earning a full-time wage. What plans do you have for the future? Petit Miracles is the only interior design charity and social enterprise in London which is self-funded. We make new pieces for our personalised line of furniture and create opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs in our Petit Miracle Hub. l Petit Miracle Interiors, West12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush Green, London, W12 8PP, petitmiracles.org.uk
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OVER TO YOU This issue we take a tour of another beautiful home, this time created by blogger Tamsyn Morgans. The Villa on Mount Pleasant is a delightful example of how using a blank canvas in order to realise your interior dream is the way forward. We also show you which clever upcycled item we hunted down on Twitter, and take you to another world with our suggested place for the perfect autumnal afternoon tea.
READERS’ HOMES Tamsyn Morgans (tamsynmorgans.com and instagram.com/tamsynmorgans) bought her Victorian terraced house in Norwich in 2014. It was in the most awful state when she and her two young children got the keys, with a musty smell and gloomy atmosphere. But beneath the scruffy décor she could see original features peeking out and knew there was potential to create the eclectic, romantic home she’d always yearned for. Here’s how she did it:
‘HAVING THE WHITE SPACE ALLOWED FOR DIFFERENT TONES TO COME IN BIT-BY-BIT, BE IT IN FURNISHINGS, PICTURES OR THE ODD SPLASH OF COLOUR ON THE WALLS.’
© JANICE ISSITT
Create a blank canvas Scraping away the unsightly surface and creating a blank canvas was the order of the day and once all the ‘horrors’ had been removed, scrubbed and sanded, Tamsyn painted the whole house white. This pulled light into the building and gave a sense of creative freedom from which to work from. Colour versus white Having the white space allowed for different tones to come in bit-bybit, be it in furnishings, pictures or the odd splash of colour on the walls. As time has gone on she’s experimented more, particularly with paint and wallpaper, but says that for her introducing large areas of colour, and indeed pattern, needs to evolve slowly: ‘live in it, live with it, and decide what feels right.’ Filling the space As a collector of all manner of things, filling the space was not a problem
for Tamsyn, as she’d already amassed plenty of treasure from years of trawling charity shops, markets and fairs. However, visiting car boot sales is Tamsyn’s top-tip for great prices and potential. Creating collections is a passion and the house is bursting with little areas of cleverly curated objects. Florals and feminine vintage Finding a way
to make a functional home that has a soft and whimsical feel, especially when you have children, isn’t easy. But it is possible. Keeping things simple and comfortable and having lots of characterful shelving to keep the more valuable things away from house gymnastics is the way to make it work. Tamsyn’s love of florals, French furniture and soft colour is what makes it home for her.
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Tamsyn’s love of soft colour and French furniture is key in making it home for her.
Nibbles anyone? What do you do when you have a 1950s midcentury egg-cup and serving plate hanging around? Linda Smith found the answer with this natty little olive stand, complete with cocktail stick holder. blueblossomlane.co.uk
TEA TIME Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey is a slice of atmospheric heaven, and every care has been given to ensure you feel nothing but satisfaction during your visit. Indulge in a Michelin star tea in the Teahouse, a beautifully restored glasshouse surrounded by sumptuous greenery, whilst sitting at a table and chairs with the finest salvage aesthetic. l Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane (signposted ‘St Peter’s Church’), off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB petershamnurseries.com
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INTO THE WOODS For the ultimate take on bringing the outside in look no further than Green Woods Furniture. Specialists in reclaimed wooden furniture, the Bristol-based company create covetable, longlasting pieces that celebrate the beauty and origin of their original material. As well as standard sizes every piece, from the reclaimed pine beds to the handpainted (using natural, breathable AURO paint) dressers can be made-to-measure in the UK, resulting in the perfect item for your home. The company launched in 2007, and just four years later they moved to larger premises to accommodate demand. With a range of suppliers from small oneman-bands to larger family firms that can operate at a higher scale, Green Woods Furniture is a great example of a business that makes
the most of our natural resources without stripping them back to the bone. Taking their ethical credentials further, the company have the largest display of organic mattresses – free from chemical fire retardents and certified by the Soil Association – in the UK. They also actively support the sustainable management of local woodlands by dedicating a tree in
the Forest of Avon for every new customer who spends £500 or more. With an accessories range to complement their furniture, Green Woods allows you to enjoy the wonders of wood every day. l Green Woods Furniture,116 Coldharbour Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 7SL, Tel: 0117 942 8732, greenwoodsfurniture.co.uk
CONTRIBUTORS’ CORNER Sometimes, it’s good to let your imagination run wild. So we asked our contributors: ‘If money were no object, what three things would be in your fantasy living room?’
Every time I write something for Reclaim I fall in love with something. I’m a sucker for coloured glass so I’d have a Waterfall Chandelier from Agapanthus Interiors and some mid-century Murano or Scandinavian glass too. I’d also buy huge dressers in French flea markets. Andreina Cordani
I’d definitely have a colourful vintage Anatolian kilim, (huge, flat-weave rugs in bold pattern, from Turkey) then a Georgian walnut bureau. And finally, it may sound like an obvious choice but I’d love a mid-century chair, possibly a Charles Eames lounge chair along with an ottoman. Emma Caulton
It’s not money that’s an object, it’s space. Inspired by interviewing Russ at Resto-Worx for Reclaim I’d love one of his 1950s kitchen larders, and after visiting Willesden Salvage, I fancy a metal fairground donkey I adore 1950s industrial lighting too. OK, money is the object as I need to buy a big house! Jane Common
My fantasy living room would be large, painted in white, but would have an air of opulence about it. A French chandelier would take centrestage, and the room would feature an ornate chaise longue. If it didn’t already have floor-length shutters at the windows I’d have to invest in some of those too. Alice Roberton
After much deliberation, my first choice would be an ink-blue, Regency three-seater sofa. The floor would be adorned with a large antique Persian rug and completing the look a mid-century sideboard. Together, they’d be comfortable, but with an air of glamour and opulence. Emilee Tombs
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SEE FOR E T I S B WE 2017 S E T DA
E E R S O F E SIT 7 1 20 S E T DA
For the very best antique and Salvage shows look no further... Antiques and Home show October 10th & 11th /November 28th & 29th Monday 8:00am - 5:00pm £20.00 Tuesday 8:00am - 5:00pm £5:00
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Smoke signal Take your pick from a collection of antique cigarette advertising tins, sourced by Discover Attic, and dating from the early 1900s. lÂ ÂŁ15 each, discoverattic.com
From industrial salvage to floral print vintage, here are a few of our favourite finds
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Through the mangle The owners of Beya Fontenay found this Victorian mangle covered in weeds at the bottom of their garden and they repurposed it as a wine rack and wine tasting table! l £2000, Beya Fontenay at seriouslygoodsalvage.com
Speed demon Limited edition toy racing car, created from rare parts by the hugely talented Paul Firbank of The Rag and Bone Man. l £185, theragandboneman.co.uk
Self service This papier-mâché tray, hand-painted with a floral design, makes a stylish addition to the kitchen. l £30, dirtyprettyvintage.com
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Good hair day Set on a black Bakelite base, this Bakelite ‘Ormond’ electric handheld hairdryer, made between 1935 and 1955, has been brilliantly upcycled into a lamp. It’s PAT tested and comes with a bulb. l £395, itsalight.co.uk
A step ahead In a framed chalkboard from the 1920s comes a vintage dance poster from 1949. l £187.50, discoverattic.com
That’s the spirit Liven up your home bar with a beautiful original 19th century brandy or whisky barrel – or indeed both! l £195 each, Spencer Swaffer at thehoarde.com
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Top step Increasingly hard to find, this ‘Hatherley Lattistep’ stepladder, which is over 100 years old, is a great display piece. l £150, Beya Fontenay at seriouslygoodsalvage.com
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High tea This dreamy upcycled vintage teacup has been hand-painted in layers of resin to glorious effect. l £175, thepurplefinch.com
In the light Salvaged from a Hungarian factory, this enamel shade from the 1940s oozes industrial chic. l £288, skinflintdesign.co.uk
Brassed off Carefully curated, this stunning artwork of brass plates and brass curios mounted in a vintage case is truly unique. l £250, signedandoriginal.com
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Top drawer A 19th century chest of drawers covered in floral fabric and with delicate gilded detail â€“ perfect for delicate bits and bobs. l ÂŁ175, Le Chien Et Moi at seriouslygoodsalvage.com
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Neon, mirrors and fun â€“ anything could happen in this room.
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LAST ORDERS PHILIP AND OLIVIA OAKLEY HAVE THE ULTIMATE LOCK-IN AT THE EAST SUSSEX PUB THEY TRANSFORMED INTO A SEASIDE HOME WORDS LINDSAY CALDER IMAGES © CLAIRE MCDOUGALL
f you’re asked for drinks at Philip and Olivia Oakley’s quirky seaside home, a painting will be removed from a wall, a hidden ladder pulled out and you’ll be invited to clamber up into their dinky secret pub. There’s standing room for four ‘plus a barman’ and space for their two Spaniels Joe and Jarvis. In fact, it’s a pub within a pub. In 2009, the couple turned an old boozer in St Leonards, East Sussex into a 6000 square feet home which Philip describes as ‘a fantasy kind of place’. The Victorian building has a chameleon past. In 1833, when it was built, it was called The Saxon Shades as it stood in the shade of the Saxon Hotel next door. Then in the late 19th century the name changed to the Yorkshire Grey and remained so for most of its life, until 20 years ago when the place was transformed into a pirate-themed pub, the Admiral Benbow. It was in that final incarnation that the couple bought it, after the last pint was poured.
And old regulars have a tale to tell about nights there. ‘It was a bit wild west,’ says Philip. ‘With people thrown through doors and hit with pool cues. You can tell that there were smashed windows on numerous occasions because all the glass is different.’ It took some imagination to see the Admiral Benbow as a home and the first viewing was hardly inspiring. ‘All the windows were boarded up and there was no light – I needed a torch. Fridges, full of old food, had been switched off so the place stank,’ Philip recalls. So what made them see the potential? ‘Big spaces are inspiring. You can suddenly do anything. I think a one-bedroom flat is a scarier purchase,’ Philip says. When they picked up the keys, they could have just
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’The most striking things in the house are, without a doubt, the vintage seaside illuminations, together with Philip’s own neon creations.‘
(right) A fairground elephant, the ultimate in kitsch chic. (above) Spot the spaniels!
opened up as a pub – everything was there. ‘But it wasn’t stuff that you wanted,’ says Philip. ‘It was all horrible.’ In 1930, the pub was remodelled and the Victorian features were stripped out. To add insult to injury, it was reworked again in the 1990s. Turfing out the junk, they discovered souvenirs of the pub’s past. ‘Upstairs I found a massive stash of porn mags along with a full bottle of champagne,’ Philip laughs. In the cellar, behind a cavity wall, he unearthed bottles stamped with the name of the Yorkshire Grey, dating to 1900. They are now displayed in a recessed glass cabinet in the kitchen. Philip started out in the ‘shallow world of fashion’ designing shops and showrooms in London, but hadn’t done a project for himself on this scale. Nevertheless, there was no architect or project manager running the show: ‘It was
me – and I’d bring in people as I needed them, from plasterers to electricians.’ At first, they were still living in London and would come down to St Leonards three days a week. Philip set about reinstating architraves, doors and skirtings. The double doors in the huge living/dining area – the old billiard room – were salvaged from a cinema, spotted in a local junk shop. ‘Hastings is great for junk,’ he says. The beautiful parquet flooring in the former billiard room looks like it has been there forever, but that was salvaged too. By chance, someone they knew had just the right amount of parquet for the 900 sq ft room. They didn’t want it to look brand new, so did a very light sand to maintain the patina. It was a success – everyone assumes it’s original. There was one piece of advice that Philip embraced: ‘Someone told me to make it how we wanted. Often, when you buy a place, you immediately start thinking about when you come to sell it, and make decisions based on that, which is bizarre. So I made it how it I wanted. That’s why it looks like a fantasy kind of place with silly stuff.’ The bijou hidden pub is a classic example, although it was born out of practicality. After a fire wall was installed at the top of the stairs, Philip was standing on a ladder and saw
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(above) Philip both makes and collects illuminations, and they enjoy pride of place.
the space’s potential as a secret room. The panelling inside was made from the old pub doors. In a nod to the old Yorkshire Grey, everything is painted grey, inside and out. Some rooms are darker than others, but not because they carefully selected from 50 shades of grey paint samples. ‘I’ve had so many boring conversations about colour in the past, so to prove a point I bought white paint and black paint and mixed them together. Each room is slightly different depending on how much I stirred in at the time,’ Philip explains. He loves telling decor buffs that it’s not a smart brand paint but his own no-frills mix. In his mind there is no such thing as the perfect paint colour or the right flooring: ‘I try to look at things from the perspective that nothing is wrong. It can be so wasteful if you feel you have to have the “right” grey paint and oak floor, then pay top dollar to get it. I tend to go with the flow, especially with 6000 sq ft. I have a slight celebration when I use up something I’ve had for ten years.’
The home-brew shades of grey are enlivened with red colour-pop doors and an imaginative use of wallpaper. The bookcase trompe l’oeil and floor tile-effect paper is all by Deborah Bowness, who is a friend.The most striking things in the house are, without doubt, the vintage seaside illuminations and Philip’s own neon creations. As a hobby he used to collect Christmas fairy lights – he has over 1000 sets – then he started buying old seaside illuminations, mostly from Blackpool where he was once Director of the city’s Festival of Light. The house is filled with ‘road feature’ illuminations that appeared on street lights, 16 feet up in the air. There are fabulous peacocks and a cute 1990s loveheart plant from Blackpool and kitsch flowers from Ramsgate. Because of their design, illuminations always look more vintage than they actually are, Philip explains. They come up for sale because they ‘take a hammering on the seafront’. His own lighting work is showcased to great effect in the
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‘Often, when you buy a place, you immediately start thinking about when you come to sell it, and make decisions based on that, which is bizarre. So I made it how I wanted it. That’s why it looks like a fantasy kind of place with silly stuff.’
Junk shop, vintage and one-off finds show personality.
space. His imposing crucifix – made of salvaged pallet wood – has a neon quote from Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. A poignant work on the dining room wall which reads ‘lots of love, mum’ is a tribute to Philip’s late mother: ‘After she died, I cleared her house and there were lots of things I couldn’t keep like wardrobes and pictures, which I gave to charity. Rather than feel guilty, I made that neon sign using the handwriting on a note she sent me.’ The exit signs above the doors came from a cinema,
modified by Philip so that they are properly compliant emergency lights. The 900 sq ft main room is split, with a seating and dining area. The industrial dining table is actually a 1940s operating table. It came from an old military base in Germany and is now topped with a glass slab. ‘I had a sort of medical fetish at the time,’ Phil explains, revealing that he used to drive around London in a 1960s (fully equipped) ambulance. People hailed him down, asking for assistance, so he often called 999. He sold it when he moved to St Leonards – somehow being ‘the man in the ambulance’ was a bit weird in a small town. In contrast to the operating table, the seating area has a more homely, retro feel. The sofa and chairs were upholstered by a friend, Bruce Robbins using a variety of old tapestries from junk shops to create a luxury vintage look. The coffee table, a circus drum, is a theatrical prop.
Philip is a master of reinvention when it comes to junk shop finds. The bannister is an old and very long surveyor’s rule. He didn’t know what he was going to do with it, but it works perfectly – and has been much-copied by visitors. In the
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‘I try to look at things from the perspective that nothing is wrong. It can be so wasteful if you feel you have to have the “right” grey paint and oak floor, then pay top dollar to get it. I tend to go with the flow.’
The grey exterior of Philip and Olivia’s house belies nothing of what’s behind the front door.
kitchen, a clever ‘Ikea hack’ gives the units character and age. Old metal handles were added to stainless steel cabinets from the Scandinavian store. The neon ‘Restaurant Open’ sign dates to the 1990s. The beautiful mosaic in the kitchen is by Susan Elliott and was her wedding gift to the couple. Elliott breaks up old china to create portraits and other works. Upstairs, the glamorous bed came from Eras of Style, a favourite antique and vintage shop in an old railway station in Bexhill. Philip spotted the Van Gogh Sunflowers in a junk shop: ‘A sign on it said “reduced to £50”, which made me laugh, so I’ve kept the tag on it’. There is another presence in the house – two in fact – that can’t be ignored: Joe and Jarvis, the spaniels. The house is dotted with portraits of the pair in one form or another, either knitted or ceramic. ‘If there’s something of two spaniels for
£5 and you’ve got two spaniels you end up buying it,’ Philip says. The dogs have ‘full access rights’ throughout the house and also have their own two-storey kennel which looks like a Hastings fishing hut. It truly is a fantasy kind of place. If an old Admiral Benbow regular were to stumble in, they might think they’d died and gone to heaven – or maybe just to the Blackpool Illuminations.
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TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC ELLIE TENNANT MEETS INTREPID DUTCH ‘RECLAIMERS’ MARTIJN AND KAMIEL BLOM, WHO RESCUE AND RESTORE INDUSTRIAL LIGHTING FROM ABANDONED BUILDINGS ACROSS EASTERN EUROPE
eeds push through perilous, sinking floorboards and fingers of lichen creep across bare, brick walls. The eerie silence is only interrupted by the echoing sound of distant dripping; the only visitors are wild boar and deer. Rubble, crumbling plaster, flaking lead paint and tiles that peel from walls like bark from trees form a dusty moonscape, scattered with debris, stained with rust. The ceiling is partially collapsed, allowing a single shaft of sunlight to pierce the damp darkness, illuminating the skeleton of a dead bird. ‘We’re drawn to the atmosphere in forgotten industrial spaces where everything is eroded,’ explains Martijn Blom, who, with his brother Kamiel, used to spend his spare time exploring and photographing dilapidated factories, breweries and chemical works in what was formerly East Germany, just for fun. ‘After years of neglect, nature takes over,’ he says. ‘That’s what makes these buildings so intriguing.’
In 2011, Kamiel stumbled across a light fitting in an abandoned laboratory and restored it for his home. When his friends admired it, he realised there might be a market for such finds, so now the duo trawl empty industrial sites across Eastern Europe, salvaging ‘doomed’ lights, to lovingly restore and sell. Removing rusty light fittings from great heights in unstable buildings is ‘always a bit risky’ admits Martijn, but the young Blom brothers are athletic; they take ladders and climbing gear and always sign a waiver before they start work. ‘We also bring our dog, a tent and a football,’ chuckles Martijn. ‘Every trip is like a holiday for us. Lots of the baffled site owners think we’re crazy.’ Sourcing the stock might take a lot of time and effort, but the boys clearly aren’t completely bonkers; a heavy double tube fluorescent light found in a former DDR laboratory is priced at a cool 1100 Euros in their up-market Amsterdam boutique, Blom & Blom. Authentic industrial finds fetch huge sums. This is serious business. The meticulously restored lights the boys sell are given
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Â© MATEI PLESA
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A salvaged factory lamp styled with industrial clocks.
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(left) The Dragon lamp before and (right) in all its glory.
‘There are so many interesting facts to share about each light, so it would be a waste not to tell the future owner; we don’t want to lose the stories behind them.’
© MATEI PLESA
quirky new names – Grey Owl, White Rhino, Bearded Dragon – and each one comes with a ‘passport’, detailing the light’s origins and history. ‘There are so many interesting facts to share about each light, so it would be a waste not to tell the future owner; we don’t want to lose the stories behind them,’ explains Martijn. ‘The historical aspect appeals to our customers. It’s what makes these lamps special.’ Much of their stock originates from the Bauhaus period, so form follows function and the Blom brothers’ customers are attracted to the simple, clean design of the industrial lamps the two source. Imperfections – dents and small areas of rust – only add to the beauty of these elegant pieces. ‘Imperfections hint at the history, like a scar on a person’s body,’ says Martijn. ‘They make you curious. They show that something has happened.’ Despite the high demand for such lights among the designsavvy crowd, often, the fixtures are ignored by the owners of empty industrial sites, or removed and treated as scrap metal. ‘Nine times out of ten, when we arrive at a site, all the lights have already been thrown out before we get there,’ says Martijn, sadly. ‘Within the context of a dilapidated factory, where everything is decayed, it’s not always easy for people to see their potential.’ The brothers enjoy the creative process of restoring the lamps and running their boutique, but nothing compares to the thrill of exploring a ‘forgotten’ space. ‘In these industrial ghost towns, time has stood still,’ enthuses Martijn. ‘It’s
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(left) The Blackbird light as the brothers found it and (right) after they’ve worked their magic.
© MATEI PLESA
‘In these industrial ghost towns, time has stood still. It’s always spooky. We go into creepy, dungeon-like basements, which are like sets from horror films.’
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Inside Blom & Blom, the brothersâ€™ stylish Amsterdam store.
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‘Imperfections hint at the history, like a scar on a person‘s body. They make you curious. They show that something has happened.’
© MATEI PLESA
Kamiel and Martijn enjoy the creativity involved in restoring each light.
always spooky. We go into creepy, dungeon-like basements, which are like sets from horror films.’ Kamiel, a talented photographer, records the mysterious spaces where the lamps are sourced with his camera and every shot conveys the eerie atmospheres. ‘These places often attract a kind of lawlessness to them,’ adds Martijn. ‘There’s graffiti and young people hang out there, breaking stuff. A lot of lights have been vandalised by the time we get there. We find the last treasures. Even though there might have originally been 200 lamps in one building, we usually only manage to retrieve five to 15.’ Martijn and Kamiel recently teamed up with an industrial climber, who scales trees and towers for a living, so they work with him on the tricky jobs they can’t do themselves.‘It’s always an adventure,’ says Martijn. ‘Everything is a challenge. There’s usually a way to eventually reach a lamp, but if a roof has partially collapsed, we have to adapt. Every job is different. Sometimes it’s frustrating because it’s too unsafe to reach a particularly beautiful lamp, but it’s simply not worth risking your life to reach a light.’ » Visit blomandblom.com to find out more
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IN OUR NEW REGULAR, �eclaim’s EDITOR LOOKS AT AN ICONIC PIECE OF FURNITURE OR HOMEWARE DESIGN. THIS MONTH, SHE TAKES A SEAT IN THE BARCELONA CHAIR WORDS LOMA-ANN MARKS IMAGES © KNOLL BARCELONA
® CHAIR COURTESY OF KNOLL
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Knoll gifted a replica of the original 1929 chair to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The chair has its own page in the Barcelona Yellow Pages Ludwig Mies van der Rohe first used the term ‘God is in the details.’ The Barcelona ottoman and footstool weren’t designed by van der Rohe, but follow the same design principles. The chair’s cushions are upholstered with 40 individual panels cut, hand-welted and hand-tufted from a single hide.
first saw the Barcelona in the nineties. A wide-eyed new graduate, I’d just moved to London and was going for a job interview at an advertising agency. Everything about the office was smooth. BBC News played at an understated volume on a giant wall TV; haughty ad execs seemed to glide across the blonde wood floor. And I – overdressed probably, nervous, definitely – was asked to wait in the foyer. The chairs I was faced with, in black, were more intimidating than the receptionist. Polished and arrogant, they seemed to sneer at my audacity at even thinking about using them for their primary purpose – sitting down. For the Barcelona isn’t just a chair, it’s perfection. Designed by celebrated Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with his partner Lilly Reich, for the 1929 German Pavilion at the Barcelona Exposition, they caused an immediate sensation. Originally only two were created, one each for King Alfonso XIII and his wife Ena. They didn’t sit in them, either. Based on the folding chairs favoured by the Pharoahs and Romans, the Barcelona captures the timelessness of an ancient throne with the clean lines of modernity. It was van der Rohe who coined the much-used phrase ‘Less is more’
and the Barcelona is the ultimate example of this. Made from top quality leather and steel, it’s as much about the space, even the person and atmosphere, on and around it as the chair itself. And that space almost always exudes glamour – perfection attracts beauty – so it’s little wonder that it’s a James Bond favourite, appearing in both Casino Royale and Die Another Day. Instantly recognisable as a symbol of success, the Barcelona has had just one design tweak since 1929. Originally the metal frame was two pieces bolted together, but in 1950 when stainless steel became available, van der Rohe incorporated it to make one seamless piece. It’s been in production for 80 years, and in 1953 the designer gave exclusive manufacturing and sales rights to Knoll, who continue to produce the chair to his exact specifications. Although there are many copies, the genuine article has the Knoll Studio logo and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe signature stamped onto the leg; it’s handupholstered and the frame is even hand-buffed to achieve that glossy mirror finish. Eventually I did sit – well, perch – on the chair. It’s certainly not a seat for slouching, and it was perfect at that moment. For the Barcelona forces you to bring your ‘A’ game.
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WIN A VINTAGE JIELDÉ LAMP LIGHT UP YOUR HOME, INDUSTRIAL STYLE, WITH MAYFLY VINTAGE
s the nights draw in, it’s time to brighten up our homes with pools of glowing light. And we’ve teamed up with online vintage furniture and homeware store Mayfly Vintage – whose pieces are all unique one-offs, and genuine vintage – to offer a beautiful French Jieldé lamp, worth £300, that can help one lucky winner do just that. Salvaged from a factory workshop in Caen, northern France, the piece is a design classic. Jieldé lights were developed by engineer JeanLouis Domecq, who saw the need for a sturdy, industrial lamp that could be moved to a range of heights and positions without affecting
the electrical wiring. He created the joints mechanism in 1950, then in 1953 he began selling the standard, floor and desk models, which became instant hits. The lamp has become an icon, and to be in with a chance of winning it simply answer this question: Who developed the Jieldé lamp? Email your answer along with your name, contact number and address to reclaimcomp@ gmail.com with ‘Mayfly Vintage’ in the subject header, by midnight on Thursday 10th November 2016. Good luck! See more of Mayfly’s lovely pieces at mayflyvintage.co.uk
Terms and conditions: No correspondence will be entered into. No employees of Uncooked Media or the companies providing the prizes may enter. No cash alternative is offered to these prizes. Entries are only valid if they reach us by the closure date. Multiple entries will be disregarded. The publisher’s decision is final. Prize is one winner to receive a Jieldé lamp, supplied by Mayfly Vintage. Prize can’t be sold on. Open to UK entrants only.
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STEEL ROSE IS A COMBINATION OF RESTORED VINTAGE, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN AND BESPOKE FURNITURE. We specialise in metal polishing and restoration and also design and hand make many pieces using steel, reclaimed timber and oak. The collection includes beautiful and lovingly restored vintage steel desks, polished vintage filing cabinets, industrial design coffee tables, TV units and dining sets. Bespoke service available giving you a truly unique piece of furniture to admire, use and enjoy for years to come. STEEL ROSE, THE BLACK BARN, WALKERN HALL FARM , WALKERN, HERTS, SG2 7HZ PHONE: 07825 324213 EMAIL : STEELROSE2015@GMAIL.COM WEB : WWW.STEEL-ROSE.CO.UK
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The famous Wilton’s stage.
© JAMES MACKENZIE & LIGHTING TONY SIMPSON, WHITE LIGHT LTD.
IF YOU’VE WATCHED TIPPING THE VELVET, SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS OR EVEN MUPPETS MOST WANTED YOU’VE BEEN INSIDE WILTON’S – THE OLDEST SURVIVING GRAND MUSIC HALL IN THE WORLD. COMPLETELY RESTORED IN SEPTEMBER 2015, WILTON’S HAS WITHSTOOD WARS, SLUM CLEARANCES AND A DEMOLITION ORDER AND, NOW, THE ROOF IS BEING RAISED ONCE MORE. JANE COMMON REPORTS www.reclaimmagazine.uk 45
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O Behind Wilton’s door, down an unassuming East End alley, lies the spirit and heritage of the Music Hall.
ona Patterson started her career as an intern at Wilton’s Music Hall – nearly seven years later, she’s never left. ‘I fell in love with the place,’ Oona, now Wilton’s marketing manager, smiles. ‘When I began here, our office was constantly moving from room to room as different parts of the building were being made safe – there was always scaffolding holding up ceilings and areas we called “the void” as they were just no go. But look at it now it’s fully repaired – it’s beautiful, so unique. The barley twist cast iron columns in the auditorium, for example, are complete one-offs – if I spot them on screen I know the programme or film has been shot at Wilton’s. Penny Dreadful features a space inspired by Wilton’s and they have barley twist iron columns, copied from ours. I can tell the difference, though!’ Oona’s pride in her place of work isn’t misplaced. From its fine Georgian frontage to the architectural quirks indoors, the building, with its main and cocktail bar, mini-museum, office and meeting space, props workshop and, of course, music hall, is a tapestry of twists and turns. So, too, is its history. ‘The main bar has been a pub since the early 18th century,’ Oona says. ‘And around that were five Georgian houses – two of which a silversmith and toy maker worked from and another which was the premises of a leech importer. (We’ve met the leech importer’s descendants, in fact, when we opened our heritage room we invited them along.) John Wilton bought the pub and built a successful mini music hall out the back, and, in 1859, he added to that and created a massive space – what we have today. So the front of the building is mainly Georgian and the back of it, with the main auditorium, is totally Victorian. That joining of two different eras has thrown up some odd shapes!’
© HELENE BINET
‘The front of house spaces are ‘derelict chic,’ whereas in John Wilton’s day they would have been opulent. But the restoration process has been organic rather than purist.’
The front of house spaces are now bare brick walls – ‘derelict chic’ as Oona describes the look – whereas in John Wilton’s day they would have been opulent and lavishly furnished. But the restoration process has been organic rather than purist. ‘The architect’s ethos was to do absolutely no more than was required,’ Oona says. ‘So, here, the cocktail bar on the first floor used to be a storage space, totally closed up. And before that it was residential – that set of collapsing stairs led to a family’s sleeping quarters. Now the stairs don’t lead anywhere but they’re original and a good example of the architect’s ‘do no more than necessary’ mantra. And look at the internal window – it’s covered in what our building manager calls ‘heritage dust’. That dust tells part of the story of the building though, so during restoration he instructed his team not to clean too much.’ Likewise the crack in the window between the cocktail bar itself and its annexed seating area: ‘It’s out of the way and completely safe,’ Oona says. ‘There was no need to repair it so we didn’t. And all these quirks add character – they’re redolent of the building’s history.’
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The beautiful Wiltonâ€™s auditorium.
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‘The upper stage is at top hat height. The idea was that whenever someone was sitting in the auditorium they could see the stage over the top hats worn by the audience’s gents.’ The theatre area itself is in almost perfect authentic order – its purpose in life unchanged as audiences stream through a discreet little door tucked next to the main stairs to take their seats. Red velvet curtains frame the stage and the plaster and papier-maché detailing on the balcony is Victorian as are those unique barley twist columns. The cornicing on the high ceilings is cast from the original too and the stage, although requiring a great deal of repair to make the foundations strong, has had a forestage added, splitting it into two levels, with the upper stage remaining at what would have been its height back in the 1800s. ‘The upper stage is at top hat height,’ Oona says. ‘As the name suggests, the idea behind it was that wherever someone was sitting in the auditorium they’d always be able to see the stage over the top hats the gents in the audience wore.’ Standing in the theatre, it’s easy to imagine the hustle and bustle and buzz of excitement of the space in the 1860s when music hall legends trod the stage’s boards.
‘On any one night there’d be several different performers so they’d turn up at their appointed time, get on stage, do their bit and go,’ Oona says. ‘There was singing, comedy, cross dressing, acrobatics – all sorts of entertainments. Probably the most famous star at Wilton’s was George Leybourne who performed as Champagne Charlie – he was one of the first music hall celebrities. He sang a song about champagne – and drank a lot of it too. He was really popular and earned a lot of money, but sadly he died, penniless, aged just 42 – a victim of his own success. Later stars of the Wilton’s stage are more familiar to a modern audience – Kate Bush shot the music video for Wow here in 1979 and, a few years later, Frankie Goes to Hollywood carried on the venue’s bawdy tradition filming the video for Relax, later banned by the BBC. ‘We’ve got a great heritage for music videos,’ James White, Wilton’s archivist, says. ‘That Frankie Goes to Hollywood video was madness. There was a live tiger on the stage, cage dancers, a naked Roman emperor in the stalls and a fracas at the bar!’ The stage at Wilton’s has not, however, always been quite so raucous. When music hall fell out of fashion in the late 1800s the building was sold to the Methodists – ironic, Oona smiles, as they were very anti-music hall and all it stood for – who turned it into their Mission. They did apparently use
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the stage for odd performances but the mood was obviously pretty sombre compared to that created by Champagne Charlie and his friends. And the Mahogany Bar – so named for obvious reasons although the wooden bar itself has now disappeared and been replaced by a replica made by the props people on the Sherlock Holmes film – became, instead of a drinking den, a rather more sedate tea kitchen and café. But, with the slum clearances of the 1950s, the Methodist congregation moved out of the area, meaning the Mission moved with them. After a few years as a storage warehouse for old clothes, the building was abandoned, the only song that of the birds and the laughter the cackle of pigeons. Then, terrifyingly, Wilton’s was marked for demolition. Thankfully Sir John Betjeman made his voice heard in Wilton’s defence but, even though it was saved from the bulldozers, everything around it was razed. ‘It became a bit of a no-man’s land, just sitting here, all on its own,’ James says. ‘There were various attempts to raise funds to restore it – all with lots of enthusiasm but no real momentum. The problem was that, even though Spike Milligan campaigned to raise funds to save it and Arthur Lowe, Eric Morecambe, Laurence Olivier and Peter Sellars all wrote letters of support, potential donors couldn’t actually visit and make a connection with the place because of safety issues. Various trusts came and went and work started and
From Music Hall to Methodist Mission: Wilton’s through the years 1859: Wilton’s Music Hall is built. Over the coming years it plays stage to attractions such as the can-can while, according to the London Daily News in August 1864: ‘Scarlet waistcoated, smart liveried footmen, like robin redbreasts with cloth tails, flit to and fro for orders.’ It has various proprietors including husband and wife and stage performance team George Fredericks and Carrie Jullien ‘who enacted their contrariness and musical versatility by answering each other in popular song’. 1888 – -1956: Wilton’s is a Methodist Mission. 1957: the theatre area is used as a rag warehouse. One of the reasons some people believe the building has survived so well was because the clothes absorbed a lot of the moisture. But, when the rag trade left, Wilton’s was abandoned. 1964: Everything in the area was bulldozed as part of the slum clearances and Wilton’s was marked for demolition. Boxing Day 1970: Spike Milligan organises a BBC broadcast from the
stage at Wilton’s. August 2, 1979: Liza Minnelli performs at the Café Royale to raise funds. 1997: Wilton’s hosts a production of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land in its auditorium – the first time it had been used for live entertainment in over a century. It may have been a hot ticket, but the auditorium was freezing. People came prepared in several layers of warm clothes. Thankfully for them, the performance was only 40 minutes long. 2012: With the help of money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the first of the two phases of repair starts. During the first phase the theatre was closed for renovations and shows held, instead, in the bar and cocktail bar; during the second the other areas, including what Oona and her colleagues called ‘the voids’, were restored. September 2015: Work on Wilton’s is finally completed. Now for the first time the staff can focus 100% of their energies on the theatre programmes, community learning and participation projects, hiring the hall out as a venue and organising events.
‘The spirit of the music hall performers, and everyone who’s sailed in Wilton’s since, lives on in the dust and the bricks and the wooden floors in this grand building.’ then stopped again when the money ran out. Then, finally, in 2004 Wilton’s Music Hall Trust, custodian of the building today, was formed. It’s obvious, then, that piecing Wilton’s back together has been not just a job for the architects but for the archivists too, with help from people who have cherished the building over the years. ‘Tom Collins was the Methodist pastor during the war years and his granddaughter recently sent us a whole load of his stuff,’ James says. ‘He was responsible for three air raid shelters in the area and we now have his old air raid protection box with the original whistle. And we also have items donated in the 1990s by Ernest C Willis, who was the last pastor in the 1950s. After he left, a boy lived here with his father, who was caretaker, and he remembers the place so well that he’s done some lovely drawings of what it looked like back then – what different rooms were used for and so on.’
Sadly, though, there are only two original images from Wilton’s early music hall days – a photographic portrait of John Wilton and a sketch of the theatre during a performance in 1871. Both of these are on display in the archives room, which also hosts a tribute to Champagne Charlie and replica newspaper cuttings and advertisements from Wilton’s heyday, one boasting of the saveloy sausages and plum cake on offer on the music hall’s menu. There’s a nod to the future too, with an exhibit by local school children who have made cardboard statues of characters from Wilton’s past. ‘The best place to read this building’s history, though, is here,’ James says, placing a hand on the cool brick wall over a Methodist-era bench that still adorns front of house. And he’s right. The spirit of those music hall performers, and everyone who’s sailed in Wilton’s since, lives on amongst the dust and the bricks and the wooden floors in this grand building. It has stood proud, through two world wars, the Mosley marches, the Cable Street clearances and its heart, musical and as the centre of the community, still beats strong.
» Wilton’s Music Hall is at 1 Graces Alley, London, E1 8JB. The Mahogany Bar is open from 5pm to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and the Cocktail Bar 6pm to 11pm Tuesdays to Saturdays. » Box Office Tel: 0207 702 2789, more information and details of upcoming productions at wiltons.org.uk
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From music hall to music video – Wilton’s has played host to a huge variety of acts and performers including Frankie Goes To Hollywood for ‘Relax’ (right and bottom).
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FREE COPY OF TILE MAKES THE ROOM WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE TODAY NEW SUBSCRIBER OFFER Subscribe today and celebrate ceramics with Tile Makes the Room from Ten Speed Press, a beautiful book worth £30 looking at tile’s role in great design and featuring 50 inspiring worldwide projects. With rooms spanning eras, countries and tastes, the book by Heath Ceramics owners Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic offers creative insight as well as practical advice on how to use tile to stunning effect. Visit tinyurl.com/TileMakesTheRoom for more information. Terms and Conditions Subscription offer is for new subscribers. Offer ends on 10th November 2016 and is available with a UK 12 issue subscription only, while stocks last.
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Lights from forgotten factories
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Curious creations from the Thames
Fun and fearless interiors
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East of Eden EMMA CAULTON DISCOVERS EASTNOR, A GLAMOROUS CASTLE AND FAMILY HOME THAT WAS VERY NEARLY DEMOLISHED, BUT HAS SURVIVED AND IS NOW CRAMMED WITH CENTURIES OF STUNNING DESIGN AND INSPIRATION
ow, here’s a home with a difference. For a start it’s a castle, looking as though it’s straight out of a storybook or Disney fairytale. And if it seems familiar, it may be because Eastnor Castle has appeared in various films and TV series, including Wallis & Edward, Dr Thorne – a period drama filmed last year for ITV and Sky’s Agatha Raisin. It may resemble one of the medieval fortresses guarding the nearby Welsh border, but Eastnor was actually built towards
the end of the Georgian period (1810 to 1824) and created in the Norman Revival style by architect Robert Smirke, who’s best known for designing the British Museum. For the 2nd Baron Somers, later 1st Earl, who commissioned Smirke, the castle was a big statement, reflecting his family’s increasing wealth and status; a rather excessive example of keeping up, if not well ahead, of the Joneses. The property’s head guide, Patricia Wilkin explains that the castle replaced a manor house, which she describes
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‘The joy is that almost every piece is traceable. It’s a treasure trove as well as a historical record of architecture and design.' as being damp, cold and with no view. Instead, Eastnor was built on higher ground giving it presence and views across the estate, which is set in the Malvern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Smirke’s interiors were simple, in keeping with the exterior, and are still evident today in the Red Hall, Dining Room and Staircase Hall. But then the 2nd Earl introduced the more extravagant Victorian Gothic decoration and in 1849 invited Pugin, at that time renowned for the Palace of Westminster’s interiors, to redesign the Drawing Room. The result is splendid. Patricia adds, “It is the most complete Pugin room outside the Houses of Parliament, and we believe it is very much as it was when designed.”
Following on, the 3rd Earl was a collector, particularly of 17th century Italian furniture, Flemish tapestries, 15th century Renaissance art and medieval armour, avant garde at a time when contemporary furniture was considered more desirable. Patricia continues, ‘The 3rd Earl had a dreadful disease called armouritis! We believe we have the largest collection of armour in a private dwelling in the country, including the suits from Charles V of Spain’s private army [circa 1520], bought in Milan in the 1850s; we have them all!’ He created appropriately Italianate settings for his collections – evident particularly in the Long and Little Libraries. So Eastnor Castle, perhaps uniquely, showcases three successive phases of 19th century domestic taste: Regency
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The sumptuous Great Hall. (left) Eastnorâ€™s owner, James Hervey-Bathurst with his wife Lucy.
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The Drawing Room, one of the most complete Pugin rooms outside The Houses of Parliament.
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‘J ames remembers playing badminton in the Great Hall when he was young, and on rainy days he and his brother would ride their bicycles in a circuit around the downstairs rooms.’ Baronial, Catholic Gothic and Aesthetic Italian, making it possible to trace the evolution of taste right through the Victorian period. Today it remains inspiring: lavishly and richly decorated and packed with treasures collected by successive owners, including current owner James Hervey-Bathurst, who inherited the house after his mother died in 1986. Patricia continues: ‘The family have bought and collected through the generations. Each family has brought something to the Castle and this one is no different.’ And they buy, with consideration, from auction houses such as Bonhams and Christie’s, sourcing quality pieces to complement the house. ‘In Pugin’s Drawing Room a new sideboard was purchased in 2006, but it was made by a modern craftsman who follows the work of the Crace brothers (who redecorated the room to Pugin’s designs), so it fits in with the room; and as it’s used regularly for receptions, it is a very useful piece of furniture. ‘People are surprised the house is so full of items. Every room is packed and people often tell me there is too much to take in, they can’t see it all on one visit so will have to come back.’
The joy is that almost every piece is traceable with a story to tell. It’s an opulent treasure trove as well as a grand scale historical record of domestic architecture and design. Yet Eastnor Castle was very nearly demolished. The family’s wealth declined in the latter part of the 19th century, hit by the agricultural depression of the 1870s. By 1920 when the 6th Baron Somers inherited the estate (the earldom became extinct in 1883) much of the land had been sold. Following his appointment as Governor of Victoria in 1926, the family moved to Australia and Eastnor was left empty. They returned in 1931; but in 1939 all of the beautiful contents were removed to make it available for the government during the war, although it was never used, except for refugees from the V1’s in 1944. From 1945 to 1949, Lord Somers’ widow lived in the servants’ wing in much reduced circumstances, the family having been hit by a very heavy tax bill on the death of her husband. The family were not the only ones to struggle to meet
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The 3rd Earl created Italianate settings for his collections, especially evident here, in The Little Library.
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Get the Look Take inspiration from Eastnor and create your own castle. Here’s how: l Effect a sense of opulence with warm tones, damask wallpaper and luxurious textures. Try this Moroccan, mid-century, Rabat pile rug at £1345, from emilyshouselondon.com l Paint walls and window frames in darker tones, as in the castle’s Dining Room. Try Farrow & Ball’s Drawing Room Blue, farrow-ball.com l Group together pictures and mirrors in vintage gilt frames, such as this at £390 from spencerswaffer.co.uk, or else upcycle old wooden ones with metallic gold paint. l Add antique silver and glassware to reflect the light, like this pair of Victorian candlesticks, £68, from theoldcinema.co.uk
(top) The Dining Room. (above) The Staircase Hall and Octagon Room.
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‘well-behaved dogs are allowed in the house, and even more exotic pets have been let in, including a parrot and two cockatoos!' the demand of death duties. As Patricia explains, ‘During the 1950s and ’60s, many owners of historic houses gave up: homes were sold, knocked down or given to the National Trust. The present owner’s mother (Hon. Elizabeth Somers Cocks) considered demolishing Eastnor, but she couldn’t afford the demolition fee!’ Instead, Elizabeth and her husband, Benjamin HerveyBathurst, moved into the Castle in 1949 and began the gradual process of reinhabiting the rooms and undertaking necessary repairs, including outbreaks of dry rot.
The present owner, James, encouraged by his wife and brother, accelerated this process of restoration and repair with grants from English Heritage and funding from the Country Houses Foundation which helped with repairing the fabric of the building, particularly the leaking roof, after which the contents could be returned to their rightful places. James’ efforts were recognised when Eastnor was given the award for Best Restoration of a Georgian Country House in the Georgian Group Architectural Awards 2012. Patricia recounts how this was a labour of love for him. James remembers playing badminton in the Great Hall when he was young, and on rainy days he and his brother would ride their bicycles in a circuit around the downstairs rooms. Not something that could be done now the rooms have been decorated and filled, although James still has a charmingly relaxed approach to visitors. Dogs are allowed in the house (as long as they’re well-behaved and on a lead) as he doesn’t want them left in cars. Patricia says even more exotic pets have been allowed in, including a parrot and two cockatoos (well-tethered)! As Patricia explains, James and his family have devoted their lives to restoring Eastnor and its estate, creating an impressive yet warm family home that makes a visit such a treat. » With thanks to James Hervey-Bathurst CBE » Eastnor Castle is open 50 days each year between Easter and the end of September, in addition to a full programme of events, including festivals and open air theatre. It is also available for weddings, corporate entertainment and filming – visit eastnorcastle.com for more information.
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The State Bedroom, is, similarly to the rest of the castle, brimming with well-chosen pieces.
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HAPPILY EVER AFTER CLAIRE READ TURNS PRE-LOVED ITEMS, FORGOTTEN OBJECTS AND PERSONAL TREASURES INTO DELIGHTFUL ‘STORYBOXES’ FOR ALL WORDS ALICE ROBERTON
vessel such as a tin, box or frame is magically transformed into a self-contained world to be enjoyed by everyone, young and old, generation after generation. These clever pieces which house little things bearing big messages, are the work of Devon artist Claire Read of Little Burrow Designs. Using only reclaimed materials, old tools and her beloved typewriter, Claire tells personal stories in a charmingly childlike way. What inspired you to start making these unique pieces? It came from a variety of things; my fascination with the past, my love of antique objects and old textiles, along with a love of music, poetry and literature. Delving into making my art started off as self-therapy after my father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. I took it up to try to channel my emotions, to gain the peace of mind that came from escaping into this miniature world of stories and sewing one stitch after another. Using old and unwanted objects to create something that contained a little piece of me was deeply satisfying. But I’ve always been a collector, curator and a creative; I studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art and Plymouth School of Architecture and even then I found myself making tiny models and creating little worlds. At the time I discovered the incredible work of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell, whose work has continued to fuel my passion for using reclaimed items in a variety of unexpected ways.
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(left and below) The inspirational ‘New Life’ and ‘Courage’ storyboxes
How much of a story is there behind each one? I suppose there is an unquantifiable amount of story behind each piece, as the items used have already begun their story, long before I get hold of them. The majority are pre-1930s, and their faults, flaws, dirt, and damage is all part of their tale. I never look for perfection in the items I use, only character. They have to feel right in my hands. As a child I spent time in Japan, as my father worked there on-and-off for over 30 years. As such, much of the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi became an integral part of my understanding. Seeing beauty in things that are imperfect, in decay or incomplete, was something which I was brought up to recognise. Very often, the objects I find lead me to decide what it is that I make. Occasionally the words inside the storybox may come first, but mostly the found objects bring their own story with them, and the piece grows from there. Where do you find the materials for your work? I’m constantly shopping, be it at local antique shops or fairs. However, I also spend quite a considerable amount of time shopping online at eBay, Etsy and through independent antique shops and live auctions. Items often come from France, Germany, USA and Australia, as well as from my local area. The majority of the materials I source are oneoffs, which does mean that a finished piece can never be fully replicated. Some of my customers find this hard when they have fallen in love with a past piece but, in essence, the individuality is the beauty of what I make. You’re an avid collector too… I collect rather random objects. I would say that by far the biggest collection I have at the moment is of vintage toy figures. It is a bit of a grey area as to which will end up in my work, and which will have an extended life sitting on a shelf for me to enjoy, before I decide it’s about time I used them. I do however have a private collection of antique Putz toy sheep,
with their adorable woolly coats and little matchstick legs. However, I seem to collect real sheep as pets too (I currently have nine), so I think maybe I just have a sheep obsession. Does working with old things bring a richness to your work that new things couldn’t? Without a doubt. I find that using old things is hugely evocative. Sometimes when I work it almost feels as if I have to do the object justice, that it is trying to tell me what it wants to be. Something can sit on my shelf for months on end, and then one day I pick it up, and I just know what I want to do with it. I often sit studying an object before I use it, wondering who last played with it, wore it, or embroidered it. You could create a whole story in your head if you let your mind run away. For commissions, how do you consult with your clients? Sometimes a client comes to me with a vintage item they’d like incorporated into a storybox, often a family heirloom which they want to keep, but don’t know what to do with. I work with them so that the finished piece has some meaning for them. Also, as I share my antique and vintage shopping finds with my followers on social media, I often find that customers fall in love with an object I’ve bought and ask if they could commission something using that particular item.
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‘Seeing beauty in things that are imperfect, in decay or incomplete, is something I was brought up to recognise.’ Describe your workspace and the tools you use. I am lucky enough to have a dedicated studio within my house, so I still get to be a part of my children’s life during school holidays. The room is absolutely crammed full of vintage objects – mostly toys, fabrics, tins and boxes. There is suitcase upon suitcase spilling out with lace and quilt pieces. I have a vintage cuckoo clock that hangs above my worktable on one side, and a treasured rabbit sculpture by my good friend, artist Annie Montgomerie, on the other. There’s an incredible view over the rolling Devon fields and hills out of the window. Generally, the room is a complete mess – I won’t lie. My tools are a real mix of vintage and modern; I rely on good, sharp scissors for cutting very delicate antique fabrics with great precision and I have a selection of old hammers, as well at tin snips, wire cutters, and medical tweezers for handling very small materials. I also rely heavily on my beloved 1960s Hermes Rocket typewriter for the words incorporated within my work. Have you ever made a piece that you can’t let go of? I’ve never kept any of my work to this point. I think if I started to then it would be hard to stop, but I do struggle to let them
go. The last time I hold them in my hands, before they are wrapped to go to their new homes, I feel extremely emotional. Each storybox is a part of me. But then I rationalise by saying that I am just a part of their on-going journey and, like the people who owned the original objects, I become a chapter in their story too. They go on to have a life after me. The fact that my work gets to travel the world, to places that I will probably never get to see in person, is awe-inspiring. Do you have any professional ambitions? I’d love to do more exhibitions, but I am exhibiting in Get Fresh at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Newton Abbot. I am thoroughly enjoying making work for that. It’s made me think that perhaps I should do more. I’d also love to do some giant storyboxes for window display, somewhere like Liberty would be amazing. » To see Claire’s work, visit her exhibition at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, crafts.org.uk, starting January 2017 and The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey, 9th – 11th June 2017, craftsatboveytracey.co.uk For more information visit littleburrowdesigns.co.uk
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DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER HARRY DIAMOND READILY ADMITS THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE THE REAL WORLD. SO, HE’S CREATED HIS OWN, A FANTASTICAL PLACE OF DREAMS FILLED WITH BONES AND ANGEL WINGS; THE DARKNESS OF ANTIQUE DENTIST MASKS WITH THE LIGHT OF SPARKLING MIRRORS. HE INVITED LOMA-ANN MARKS THROUGH THE DOOR
y first encounter with collector and dealer Harry Diamond takes me by surprise. In preparation for this interview he sends me images of his stock. Then a few more. And a further collection. ‘Sorry Harry,’ I email, ‘but my Dropbox has crashed, I can’t view any more pictures.’ ‘That’s OK,’ he messages back, ‘try this way instead.’ And with a few more pings, in they come. Image after image of his showroom crammed with the sublime, the splendid, the downright scary. And his flat too, filled with skulls, a collection of antique arms, stone sculptures of Christ, Mary, faces trapped in plaster. Those of his home must be staged, I think, for his flat can’t really be like this. Fast forward three weeks and on a drizzly day just outside Brighton, I make a mental note: appearances aren’t always deceptive. His flat really is like the pictures – and then some. And the sheer volume of images I received wasn’t, I soon realise, him being unsure of what I might like, but a zealous love for his vast collection. We begin in the kitchen, which is made from reclaimed sea groin at huge cost (he won’t be moved on the exact figure) ‘it’s a one-off, it took six months of chaos, floors being reinforced, literally blood, sweat and tears have gone into making it. But I like the look,’ he explains, whilst offering me a Diet Coke as he no longer has a kettle. ‘Do you cook in it?’ I ask, taking in the pristine steel oven that looks like it’s never been used, ‘Er, not really,’ he smiles. ‘But you don’t have to clean it. You can’t clean it! The sun’s made the wood silver, but if you clean it, it goes back to brown.’
Harry Diamond in his showroom, accompanied by antique dental masks.
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Â© DAVID WOOLEY
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© ALAN PILKINGTON
(left) The arm display on the dining room table (below) Religious iconography both in Harry’s showroom and at home.
© ALAN PILKINGTON
‘I LOVE THE FAIRYTALE WORLD. I WISH THERE WAS A MAGICAL DOOR SOMEWHERE THAT I COULD OPEN AND WALK INTO IT, EVERYTHING THERE WOULD MAKE SENSE TO ME MORE.’ This, I discover, is Harry’s ethos. His creativity and ideas trump all. Real, practical life comes in second, and not a very close second at that. He’s younger and warmer than I expected, and as I fully begin to absorb the surroundings I notice a certain childlike innocence, a delight in magic and the power of imagination that many adults lose. Harry’s pieces reflect both the good and evil found in fairytales; the Oscar Wilde quote ‘A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world’ is writ large across the hallway ceiling; a whacky-looking easel with levers and pulleys takes pride-of-place in the living room. ‘It’s my favourite thing at the moment,’ he says, ‘It’s from the 1950s and reminds me of The Boxtrolls. That’s my favourite medium in film, stop-motion animation. I like the attention to detail, I’m like that, that’s what I respect.’ Film has a big influence on Harry, and his ultimate aim
is to work in that industry, sourcing pieces for movie sets. ‘I love Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, my favourite is Guillermo del Toro, who did Pan’s Labyrinth, which is my favourite film, Tim Burton too. If I like a movie, I get the book on the styling. There’s a story behind every shot, even if it’s only on-screen for a second, so much has gone into it. That’s what I find inspiring.’ It’s this dedication to detail that sets Harry apart from most. Every picture on the wall is hung to the millimetre, each piece has been moved and adjusted so that it sits just-so. The arm display on his dining table is particularly striking. The pieces came separately, and Harry designed how they all fit together, the heights were changed, some were recoloured, others made into candlesticks. But this quest for perfection isn’t to say that he thinks he’s achieved it. ‘I move things around all the time. I wake up at 2am and start moving things. It’s exhausting but rewarding at
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‘I AIM FOR PERFECTION, BUT NOTHING’S EVER GOOD ENOUGH. YOU CAN NEVER ACHIEVE PERFECTION, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. YOU JUST HAVE TO DO YOUR BEST.’ The living room, with an antique whale bone as the centrepiece and wings on the wall.
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Â© ALAN PILKINGTON
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© ALAN PILKINGTON
(above) Bathing with the angels, (far right) the Wilde stairway and (right) the kitchen that can’t be cleaned.
the same time. And for larger endeavours I have people I always use, who know how I work. Even when I’m creating projects to sell, I aim for perfection, I’d rather do something to the best it can be. But nothing’s ever good enough. You can never achieve perfection, it’s impossible. I’ve come to realise that you just have to do your best.’ It’s an interesting irony that Harry’s pieces are so rooted in fantasy, even in spirituality, and yet his execution of his projects is so exacting. I understand his quest for perfection, but I wonder where he gets his ideas from in the first place. ‘I dream a lot of them. I wake up in the middle of the night. So I don’t get a lot of sleep.’ Harry has always been a collector, of models, movie memorabilia, toys, Transformers , but it’s relatively
recently that he’s turned his passion into a career. After leaving school he spent 14 years travelling the world as a music producer of dance and electronic music. But it was exhausting. He became ill and had to give it up. Now, he’s thrown himself into this form of creativity, to the point, he’ll happily admit, of obsession. ‘I won’t let anything stand in my way, as long as I’m able to,’ he says,‘ I have to have a project, otherwise I feel lost, even if it’s painting a flowerpot. I need to be thinking about something creative.’ So how does he find the whole business of the antiques industry? ‘There’s a lot of people I respect and take inspiration from,’ he says ‘ I love Spencer Swaffer’s whole look and ethos, also Martin Johnson, Alex Macarthur and anyone who has their own style and thinks outside the box.’ Harry’s singular purpose of getting the best pieces he can shows, so it’s not surprising that business is blossoming. ‘But normal rules don’t apply’ he smiles, ‘Expect the unexpected.’ The same applies to Harry himself. ‘I love the fairytale world,’ he says. ‘I wish there was a magical door that I could open and walk into, everything there would make sense to me more.’ I remember the surprising flood of pictures he sent me, and how, actually, they turned out to be real. I’m sitting in them. ‘Maybe your flat is that door?’ He nods. ‘That’s what I try to turn it into.’ » Follow Harry on Instagram @harrydiamondantiques, to visit his showroom email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information see harrydiamondantiques.com
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Sitting amidst the central location of Christchurch Road, Bournemouth’s Vintage Emporium is a stylish treasure trove of curiosities. Hosting over 50 traders selling quality original antiques, vintage and unusual items you won’t find on the high street. With the addition of a vintage-styled barbers shop and quirky Victoriana tea rooms, you’ll be spoilt for choice at this unique shopping emporium. The emporium and tea rooms are guided by an etiquette to maintain a creative, inspirational and visual backdrop to your visit. Imagine, if you will, a vintage department store. Set in the heart of the Vintage Quarter of Bournemouth, just down the road from Pokesdown Rail Station, we look forward to welcoming you to help you find your must-have, one off piece. 1172-1180 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH7 6DY 01202427797 www.bournemouthvintageemporium.com
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©ALEXANDER MCQUEEN:SAVAGE BEAUTY, WITH SWAROVSKI, AMERICAN EXPRESS , MAC & SAMSUNG AT V&A 14 MAR. – 2 AUG 2015
Curiouser and curiouser
THE BASIS OF THE MODERN MUSEUM, CABINETS OF CURIOSITY ALLOWED THE WEALTHY TO DISPLAY THEIR RARE AND VALUABLE FINDS. NOW, THEY’RE IN VOGUE AGAIN. EMMA CAULTON TAKES A PEEK
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CABINETS OF CURIOSITY
The Cabinet of Curiosity at Alexander McQueen, Savage Beauty at the V&A.
ll praise to the hoarder! Usually intriguing, occasionally whimsical, sometimes macabre, cabinets of curiosity are a celebration of collecting. Today creatives, curators, stylists and statementmakers use them to showcase the fabulous, fantastical and bizarre, from a menagerie of taxidermied animals to nostalgic memorabilia. But they were first popular in the 17th century when the rich and scholarly displayed their assortment of rare, valuable and curious finds from far flung places, the practice becoming the basis for museums of national significance. One such is the extraordinary Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (named after General Pitt Rivers) and an example of one of the worldâ€™s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, home to over half a million objects, with many donated by early anthropologists and
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© OSKAR PROCTOR
© PITT RIVERS MUSEUM, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
CABINETS OF CURIOSITY
(above) The Pitt Rivers Museum, (left) Viktor Wynd at his Museum of Curiosity.
explorers and densely displayed according to type. And the sumptuous Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth (see our travel feature on page 118) is a treasuretrove of artefacts from the natural world and beyond. Curator Duncan Walker explains the origins of the museum: ‘The concept of having a space dedicated to collections of art and artefacts goes back to our founders’ business, the Royal Bath Hotel, in Bournemouth. Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes used their collections not only to furnish the hotel, but to provide an attraction for visitors. As far as I know that is unique, certainly in the UK. ‘Throughout their lives they travelled extensively, touring what was the British Empire and beyond, and wherever they went they purchased curios, souvenirs and objets d’art. The oldest material on display would be some of the
‘There’s no attempt at classification, but instead an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder.’
things that they collected during their 1894 trip to Egypt, such as the lapis lazuli necklace supposedly taken from the chest of a mummy. They were also keen collectors of Japanese art and objects. On their 1885 visit to Japan they spent hundreds of pounds buying anything and everything they could. They even pocketed things like chopsticks and menu holders from roadside restaurants!’ It’s this bringing together of seemingly random objects that makes the cabinet of curiosity so compelling. The collection becomes a window into, not just the object’s origins, but the collector’s mind and perception of the world.
Idiosyncratic Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities is the cabinet of curiosities updated for the 21st century. Described as the country’s only curiosity museum (plus cocktail bar), Viktor’s intention was to focus on the origins of the museum as wunderkabinett (cabinet of wonders) with no attempt at classification, but instead ‘an incoherent vision of the world displayed through wonder.’ The result is whacky and strangely glamorous, a house of fairytales with arrangements in constant flux as objects come, go and are moved around. Says Viktor: ‘This museum displays everything that has glittered and caught the eye of its founder, from rare priceless marvels of the natural and scientific worlds like dodo
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Mixing the old and new, the tasteful and tacky at the Museum of Curiosity.
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CABINETS OF CURIOSITY
The Russell-Cotes Gallery and Museum â€“ a cabinet of curiosity writ large.
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Treasures from around the world at the Russell-Cotes.
A ‘ flood of curators have lately applied this concept as a lens to display collections and organise exhibitions, enthralling the spectator with a smorgasbord of intrigue.’ bones to the intriguing beauty of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, and the horrors and wonders of nature – two-headed kittens and living coral. By placing the rare and the beautiful on the same plane as the commonplace, banal and amusing, this museum seeks not to educate, but to subvert, to show the world not in a grain of sand, but in a Hackney basement.’ Elsewhere, curators are using the cabinet of curiosities as high art and as a central focus within exhibitions. This approach was used to startling effect in last year’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A. McQueen said: ‘I find beauty in the grotesque, like most artists. I have to force people to look at things.’ This view was developed in the exhibition’s cabinet of curiosities, a jaw-dropping, triple-height cabinet curated by Claire Wilcox, that formed the central part of the show. It focussed on paraphernalia produced by McQueen in collaboration with accessory designers, including milliner Philip Treacy and jeweller Shaun Leane, as well as show pieces made for the catwalk, using all kinds of materials. McQueen commissioned skilled wood carvers, leather workers, prosthetists,
embroiderers and plumassiers to realise his unique vision.
The V&A’s Dr Lisa Skogh wrote the essay Museum of the Mind, focusing on McQueen’s use of the cabinet of curiosity, as part of the exhibition catalogue. She is now co-leading a project with Bill Sherman, the V&A’s Director of Collections and Research, named Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities. Lisa explains: ‘The cabinet of curiosities has long held a fascination for contemporary artists and traditionalists alike. A flood of curators have lately applied this concept as a lens to display collections and organise exhibitions enthralling the spectator with a smorgasbord of intrigue. ‘The term may evoke a haphazard collection of bizarre objects and has been interpreted in a variety of ways, from the exhibited objects of the Surrealists to Damien Hirst’s collections of natural history specimens of the 1990s. But the kunstkammer (cabinet of art) or wunderkammer (cabinet of wonders), with its roots in the 16th and 17th centuries, was far from whimsical. Its origins lay in a bid to understand nature through the act of collecting, furthered
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CABINETS OF CURIOSITY
Inside the Russell-Cotes.
Create your very own Cabinet of Curiosity l Start with a vintage cabinet, such as this one from theoldcinema.co.uk or pick one up from a car boot or vintage market. l Read Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders. This book charts Viktor’s collection, tours the homes of other collectors and provides advice on starting your own. l Find items everywhere – vintage fairs, charity shops, flea
markets, the beach. This shell (above), for example, from thegaragepetersfield.co.uk could form part of a much larger group. l Choose pieces that give you pleasure. The most important thing is that it sings to you. l Display with care. Your objects need to talk to each other and be happy; move them around until they find their very own place.
by the discovery of new continents beyond Europe. Collectors displayed their knowledge of the world through various categories of objects such as wonders created by God, objects created by man and technical marvels. ‘Today, we see a wave of interest in the cabinet of curiosities from a curatorial perspective: whether staging displays of historical content or of contemporary art, it’s a unique format for worlds that don’t usually meet in displays. ‘In 1986, Italian historian Adalgisa Lugli curated Wunderkammer a show of contemporary art at the 42nd Venice Biennale. Brian Dillon curated the installation Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing at the Turner Contemporary in Margate in 2013. Last year, the Barbican looked at collecting practices of post-war and contemporary artists in the exhibition Magnificent Obsessions where Andy Warhol’s and Edmund de Waal’s own cabinets were staged in spaces evoking their interiors.’ It’s clear that the cabinet of curiosity straddles both anarchy and academia, providing a unique way to break free from rules and display the everchanging wonder of the world.
» Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PP, prm.ox.ac.uk; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA, russellcotes.com; The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, 11 Mare Street, London, E8, thelasttuesdaysociety. org; Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL, vam.ac.uk
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Next issue EXCLUSIVE: BEHIND-THESCENES OF CHANNEL 4’S ESCAPE TO THE CHATEAU PLUS: LAURA CLARK’S ECO-ARCHITECTURE THE WONDER OF KALEIDOSCOPES THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY, WITH THE HOUSE OF ANTIQUES A VINTAGE CHRISTMAS
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THE BIG KAHUNAS
Contributors Lindsay Calder, Emma Caulton, Jane Common, Andreina Cordani, Alice Roberton, Ellie Tennant, Emilee Tombs, Guy Trench
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TELL ME WYE
AND WYE VALLEY RECLAMATION, WHICH HAS BEEN CLEARING DEMOLITION SITES FOR DECADES, DID JUST THAT WITH TOM HOWELL, SON OF MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREW HOWELL, CHATTING TO �eclaim’s JANE COMMON. WITH THE BUSINESS IN HIS BLOOD AND HAVING JUST GRADUATED WITH A MARKETING DEGREE, TOM’S HEADING UP THAT SIDE OF OPERATIONS, AND FOCUSSING ON THE RECLAMATION AND RESTORATION SIDE OF THE TRADE FIRST 86 RECLAIM DECEMBER 2016
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‘We love having quirky and unique pieces in,’ says Tom, ‘and this 1966 Royal Mail cart is a great example of that. It has a similar construction to a milk float and would have been used in large cities to deliver mail. Its previous owner had neglected it, though, and it was hidden away in a corner of a yard. But it has so many possible uses for potential buyers. I could see it being used as a camping trailer on a glamping site.’
T (above, left) Blodwyn, Wye Valley Reclamation’s mascot. (right) Tom (on the left) with the team.
here’s a pleasing symmetry to the way the antiques and architectural salvage business at Wye Valley Reclamation runs. It’s one strand of Herefordshire’s sizeable Wye Valley Group, which also specialises in scrap metal processing, demolition, recycling and skip hire. Together, all the branches form a perfect circle. Everything that’s rescued from a demolition site is assessed for re-sale potential and, instead of being chucked, cherished by the reclamation side of the operation – restored, if that’s what’s required, and sold on to enjoy a new lease of life. ‘Wye Valley Metals and Demolition was formed by my Granddad John Howell in the 1960s,’ Tom says. ‘He was a scrap metal merchant essentially and he built up a big, thriving business. Back in the 90s it was still based on the farm where it all started and I grew up playing on vintage toy tractors – Granddad loved ancient farm equipment. He was a very hard worker too, I remember being woken at 6am some mornings by the sound of him shouting in the yard, giving his employees their instructions for the day. So I’ve been learning the business my whole life. I started off operating excavators, handling anything from cars to soil, and then, as a teenager, progressed into office roles, dealing with scrap metal purchases and payments to customers.’ John Howell passed away 18 months ago but Wye Valley Group, which now has 80 members of staff across its various sections, is still very much a family affair. Tom’s aunt Sue Howell is Financial Director and his cousin Amy manages the skip hire side of the business. Long-standing manager Iain McNeil along with a team of dedicated staff have built the business to where it is currently, offering a diverse range of reclaimed and retro goods.
As Wye Valley expanded, it moved – from the farm in the countryside to a 36 acre industrial park on the outskirts of Hereford, where a 21,500 sq ft warehouse is home to architectural salvage and antiques. ‘This was a munitions site for the British Army during both world wars,’ Tom says. ‘The architectural salvage warehouse itself was a shell filling factory. There’s a website dedicated to the men and women who worked here and we’ve tried not to modernise the space too much. We want to keep it, as far as possible, original.’ Now the warehouse is filled with pieces saved from the sites Wye Valley workers have demolished – everyone in the Group knows to look out for pieces that are restoration and recycling worthy and nothing is thrown away without a thorough assessment of its potential. The warehouse and accompanying outside space are split into two distinct areas – Wye Valley Reclamation and Warehouse 701, which is the name homewares are sold under. ‘We’ve set the warehouse
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‘This was a munitions site for the British Army during both world wars. The architectural salvage warehouse itself was a shell filling factory. We’ve tried not to modernise the space too much. We want to keep it, as far as possible, original.’ up so there are distinct areas for different products, making it easier for customers to find what they want,’ Tom says. ‘Just a few weeks ago we finished our industrial showroom, filled with big wooden and metal pieces. It looks great, very dramatic. Cider mills and garden troughs are selling well at the moment – they always do. And timber in general sells well here in Herefordshire along with bricks, slates, flagstones, Belfast sinks and more unique items such as examples of
early 20th century wrought iron work. We have a vast range of furniture too and recently we started making tables from old farmhouse doors, really special feature pieces, which are proving very popular.’ ‘And, as well as collecting our own stuff from demolition jobs, we’re doing a bit of buying in so we have lots of table ware, classic china plates and the like, which really appeals to our target market. There was a family enjoying a browse
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‘One of the highlight stories we have of reusing architectural salvage from demolition sites is that of the cast iron structural elements from the Victorian platform canopy at Gloucester Railway Station,’ Tom says. ‘We have painstakingly put it back together for use within a showroom we’re currently refurbishing. It will look incredible once the building is finished.’
recently and I overheard one of the kids describe the warehouse as a museum. I was chuffed with that, we want it to be interesting to visitors, whether they buy anything or not.’ One visitor who certainly finds the warehouse of interest is the tabby cat who moved in five years ago.‘We named this tiny stray kitten Darren after one of our suppliers, a massive ex-rugby player,’ Tom says. ‘We later found out she’s a girl but it was too late to change her name by then. But she’s totally at home now and visitors love her. She has free rein to roam the whole site, although her bed is in the office of the reclamation warehouse and we discourage her from entering our recycling facility. She loves exploring there but always emerges in a very oily and grubby state!’
(above, left and far right) The industrial showroom with its one-off pieces.
Darren has inspired a few marketing ideas – such as a ‘Petography’ competition on the Wye Valley Reclamation Facebook page with a prize of £50. ‘The competition was hugely popular and engaged many of our regular customers who own pets,’ Tom smiles. ‘This sort of interaction is essential for a company like ours, generating an affection for what we do is almost as important as an interest in our products.’ Another inspired marketing idea came from MD Andrew himself. ‘Dad loves classic cars,’ Tom says. ‘So, at auction, he bought a 1929 Austin saloon which had been converted into a pick-up for use as a coal delivery truck following World War II. She was called Blodwyn and we’re sticking with that. We’ve maintained, as far as possible, her original condition too although we’ve had to do bits of repair work and have produced hand-painted boards for the rear bed, with our
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‘Restoration is a big part of our new direction,’ Tom says. ‘We had an old Victorian barrow cart, which had been in the showroom for over a year, quite worn and torn, and then one of our guys decided to breathe new life into it. The cast iron chassis and wheels were shot blasted and painted and the wooden frame was rebuilt with reclaimed pine and given three coats of Fiddes Wax. It looked superb and, within a week, it sold.’
‘You can’t judge an old item’s condition in a photograph. The joy of old things is in the handling of them, in actually feeling and understanding their history and provenance.’ insignia. Now one of our retired former employees has a part-time job driving her around local market towns and chatting with people about what we do here at Wye Valley. She’s become a bit of a local attraction, in fact. I drove her through town a while ago and the looks and double-takes I received were great. Blodwyn doesn’t go much faster than 30mph but she’s a real head turner.’ With the current focus on promotion and marketing at
(right) Tom Howell, representing the third generation of the family business.
Wye Valley Reclamation – and Tom in Blodwyn’s driving seat – I ask him whether the company will use the internet more heavily as a selling space. ‘We do have an e-commerce element and are looking to improve our online presence,’ he replies. ‘However, there’s nothing like actually seeing a piece and handling it in person. You can’t judge an old item’s condition in a photograph and it’s impossible to tell the value of a special piece online. The joy of old things is in the handling of them, in actually feeling and understanding their history and provenance.’ Spoken like a man with a love of this business in his blood but a canny eye for the future too – Granddad John Howell would, I’m sure, be proud.
» Wye Valley Reclamation and Warehouse 701, Lloyd George House, Fordshill Road, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford, HR2 6NS Tel: 01432 353606; warehouse701.co.uk and on Facebook at facebook.com/wyevalleyreclamation Opening times: Mondays to Fridays 8am to 5pm; Saturdays and Sundays 8am to 4pm
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Queen V ictoriaâ€™s Bedroom, Woburn Abbey
With one of the largest private collections of ar t and antiques on display, get inspiration from the past at Woburn Abbey.
See how pieces from different time periods work together to create stunning interiors and discover the stories behind the objects collected over centuries by the Russell Family. w w w.woburnabbey.co.uk
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ON THE MAP FROM CUSTOM MAP WALLPAPER TO POSTCODE-CENTRED CUSHION COVERS, THE TREND FOR VINTAGE MAP GRAPHICS IS NOW HUGE. �eclaim MEETS A COMPANY WHOSE HOMEWARE BUSINESS IS ALL MAPPED OUT
erhaps it’s a reaction against technology such as SatNav, or a desire to understand and feel part of the area you live in, but map wallpaper, art and home-ware – specifically vintage – are incredibly popular. Living rooms might have a spectacular feature wall devoted to a beautiful vintage map that resonates with the homeowner, or bespoke poster prints are a reminder of childhood holidays perhaps. Whatever the reason for choosing maps for the home, it’s human nature to want to find ones bearings. But who are the people behind the map homeware? Where are the vintage maps sourced and who owns the originals? Reclaim chatted with James Anderson, co-owner of Love Maps On, a company that produces custom map wallpaper, gifts and homeware, to find out more. How did your passion for maps begin? My love of maps started when I was a child and we would go on holiday to some beautiful places in the British Isles – in particular Wales, and after a long climb to the top of a hill you could see for miles around you, the shapes of the coastline and the undulating mountains and valleys. I would then directly compare it visually against a map and I realised how powerful maps could be. It was only after training as a cartographer I realised just how skilled the early surveyors and cartographers were. The early Ordnance Survey (OS) maps were made in the early 1800s and it still astounds me how accurate they are.
(left) Old Series map wallpaper from Love Maps On. (above right) A selection from James’ collection of sheet maps.
Tell us about your idea to use vintage maps as wallpaper? The idea had been knocking about for a few years before my wife and I, plus another couple, took the plunge to start a business. We’d been looking at ways of re-using our World Atlas mapping in a non-book based format and had been asked by friends if they could have bespoke world maps on
walls. The natural progression was to then use these maps and any others available under license, to put onto walls. As we all worked full time in other jobs, getting things moving took a while. However we found once we had set up our initial products of wallpapers, canvases and posters we had requests for maps on other products. Have you always worked with maps? I was – and still am – Cartographic Director at Cassini Maps (Maps for Genealogy and Family History) and I’ve previously run a smaller map publishing and cartographic consultancy business after working as a freelance cartographer for many years at some of the larger London publishing companies. Where do you source your maps? From a number of places and institutions. We create the world maps, UK maps and design-based mapping in-house. Other mapping is licensed in from the Ordnance Survey and various institutions such as the British Library. Our vintage OS
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(top left and right) Reclaimed and vintage furniture adorned with vintage maps are recent additions to Love Maps On. (far right) Berkshire county wallpaper in a living room.
maps are licensed from Cassini. I was responsible for creating this mapping content from the outset. When I say creating, I mean getting the original sheet maps into a usable state. This task was undertaken at great expense and took four years of scanning at various libraries in the UK and Ireland, followed by a further three years to clean them up. This involved cropping each sheet (over 100,000) to the ‘neatlines’ (the edge of the map excluding all other page information like keys and scales) and then defining the parameters (projection, central meridian and geo-extents for each sheet so they could be used within a powerful Geographic Information System or GIS). In the process of doing this we had to re-project the original mapping which in turn created a new intellectual property (IP) and copyright on the vintage OS mapping we now use. You must have a vast collection? We understand it to be one of the largest collections of seamless, GIS ready vintage mapping in the world. We’ve now added mapping from the US, Australia and Europe in our GIS, which in turn gives us the ability to create any map of any place, vintage or present-day, at any scale and to any size ready to print on all the surfaces we offer.
What era of Ordnance Survey maps do you prefer? Some of the vintage OS mapping stands out as remarkably beautiful. The Old Series mapping for the central and southern areas of the UK are particularly aesthetic. This series was started in 1805 in the south of England (brought about by threats of Napoleonic invasion – hence why the Army Board of Ordnance were tasked with surveying the land for military purposes – now known as the Ordnance Survey). The Old Series was eventually completed in 1874 in the north of England. The intervening years between start and finish of this first series saw many changes in the landscape through the expansion of towns and cities brought about by the increase in railway building in the middle of the 19th century. The maps in the south were created before this expansion and have a beautifully uncluttered style that was lost in some of the later maps, which suffered from ad-hoc updates due to the sheer speed of development that occurred. Why do you think they appeal to people as decorative items? Maps have an appeal to us all. We know them from school and through travel. They’re always there – through Google or through SatNav, but I think it’s their underlying link to our individual and personal lives that make them work. Maps are very personal to our sense of belonging, our memories, where we grew up and where we’ve travelled. Maps of familiar places are extremely evocative, they’re also easily shared and understood by young and old alike and can form a link from the past to the present. Their appeal as decorative items could be from their pure brilliance in artistic design or from the emotive qualities – probably both in equal measures. When you see a large wall with a huge map on it, it’s breathtaking whether you know the area or not. » Check out the wallpaper and products at lovemapson.com
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‘Urban Outfitters, Oxford Street, London’
Hargreaves Reclaimed Flooring Adding Character
• Hargreaves stock over 70,000m2 of reclaimed and antique wood flooring ‘Urban Outfitters, Oxford Street, London’ • Wholesale suppliers to commercial and domestic clients worldwide •Hargreaves Contact our sales team for more information and free samples
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LIGHT MY FIRE
TAKE ONE FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND CREATE A STATEMENT LAMP WITH GUY CHENEVIX-TRENCH, OF ANTIQUES BY DESIGN WORDS EMMA CAULTON
uy Chenevix-Trench supplies renowned vintage store The Old Cinema in Chiswick with his oneoff reclaimed and recycled designs. He was at the forefront of the genre, setting up Antiques By Design (antiquesbydesign.co.uk) 17 years ago – an innovative business combining antiques, reclaimed items and old materials to create unique and covetable pieces. Guy and his team also source items for clients and offer a lighting service, turning favourite things such as sports equipment, musical instruments and tools into distinctive lamps. He works with individuals, interior designers and those in the restaurant and the bar world who are keen to find original, talking-point objects. Guy’s interest in reclaiming and upcycling was inspired by accompanying his granny, an eccentric antiques dealer who drove around in an old Bentley and was the best shot in Sussex. ‘She could always find a bargain, including something she would do up for me. She was a wonderful lady, everything was fun, fun, fun with her,’ says Guy.
Guy’s lamp topped with a handmade guinea fowl feather shade, available at Antiques By Design.
z Guy himself has always been practical. He was a deep sea diver for ten years, working under 600ft of water for 35 days at a time, fixing things in the big blue. Above water he turned his antique hunting experiences, with what he describes as ‘a good eye’, perhaps an inherited tendency towards the eclectic along with practical skills, into a business. ‘Use your imagination!’ he insists. ‘There’s nothing that can’t be made into a lamp: shotguns, old electrical metres, cricket bats, tennis rackets, World War I gas masks and helmets are really popular. If you can’t make a lamp, adapt as a wall or a pendant light. I’ve used Victorian rose wire supports as a hanging pendant lamp and it looks marvellous.’ Guy enjoys saving things with history and giving them new life, and not just as lamps. He turns old railings into console tables, tractor seats into stools, water tanks into mirrors, even gun barrels into door handles. Feeling inspired? Follow Guy’s step-by-step guide on the following page, exclusively created by Guy for Reclaim magazine, if you’re a confident DIY’er. Or else commission someone who is.
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‘GUY SAVES THINGS WITH HISTORY AND GIVES THEM NEW LIFE, TURNING OLD RAILINGS INTO TABLES, WATER TANKS INTO MIRRORS, TRACTOR SEATS INTO STOOLS.’ 2
Step by Step 1 (not pictured) First find an old fire extinguisher. Guy’s is mid-century and was picked up at a car boot sale. Undo the nozzle at the top, unscrew the base and remove contents: a metal cage containing a glass canister; drain away the water. Wash the extinguisher in hot soapy water. Use fine wire wool to clean the surface. Be careful to retain as much of the paint and pattern as possible, even rust adds to the character of the piece. Use a rag to gently rub car restorer cream across the surface so the colours are heightened.
3 Lower the extinguisher down along the length of the rod. 4 Fix into its base so that the extinguisher is upright. 5 Next you need a threaded piece, bayonet screw light fitting, inline switch, and a plug with a 3amp fuse. 6 Screw threaded piece into the top of the rod. 7 Screw bayonet light fitting onto the top of that.
2 Source a heavy base, such as a block of wood or granite, sturdy enough for the lamp not to be knocked over. Ours is a granite base from a stone mason. Drill a hole through it (if you don’t have the correct drill bit for granite ask the mason to do this for you). Position the fire extinguisher on the block. Measure from the top of the extinguisher to the bottom of the block. Cut a 13mm diameter rod slightly longer than this measurement so it is slightly higher than the opening of the fire extinguisher. Thread both ends using tap and die tools. You can invest in a tap and die set if you are an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer, otherwise ask a handyperson or electrician to do this for you. If required drill a hole into the top of the extinguisher wide enough to allow the rod to pass through. Weld a washer to the lower section of the rod with a soldering iron. Push the unscrewed base of the extinguisher onto the rod so it fits over the washer (so that the fire extinguisher sits on the washer and can’t fall down). Slot the rod into the hole in the base.
8 Wire the lamp: Guy has used old silk electrical wire (bought online). Pass the wire up through the rod to the top. Bare the ends. Guy solders the tines, sealing them to make sure they don’t unravel. Connect the wire (disconnecting earth wire) into the white porcelain socket. Fit socket into bayonet fitting and screw on lamp holder. Pull all the excess wire down so that the lamp fitting is tight on top. 9 Take the wire coming out of the bottom of the fire extinguisher; cut 50 cm along and connect an online switch. Take another metre of wire and connect it to the other end of the switch. Add plug to the end of the wire. (We advise soldering the bare tines of the wires.) 10 Get your local electrician to certificate the lighting by checking it with a PAT testing machine.
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(left) The inspired interior of Dave Godwin’s stunning narrowboat.
STEP ABOARD EVER DREAMED OF LIVING ON A BOAT? IN AN EXTRACT FROM JIM BATTY’S BOOK, NARROWBOAT LIFE, WE STEP INSIDE A BEAUTIFUL BOAT WITH INTERIORS MADE FROM RECLAIMED MATERIALS, TO FIND OUT HOW IT’S DONE IMAGES © JIM BATTY
his remarkable narrowboat’s interior has been hand-built and assembled from repurposed and recycled materials by its owner Dave Godwin. It is based on a 72-foot iron-sided hull from a 1930 ‘Joey boat’. Originally designed for transporting steel rods across the Birmingham Canal Navigations, it had no engine and would have been poled between wharfs. Dave is a highly creative craftsman, former musicians’ tour-bus driver, and independent spirit with a deep interest in the countryside he passes through and its history. He continuously cruises at a snail’s pace – the boat has an unusual hydraulic propulsion system that occasionally relies on the original boatman’s pole for manoeuvering – and runs a bicycle and canoe in parallel for local errands and collecting deadfall wood. He also has an old Alfa Romeo sports car that is occasionally used to journey further afield. He says that everyone likes his or her own space on a boat, and when his girlfriend Samantha visits from London she has her own special retreat: another small boat! The narrowboat retains a hint of its original working profile
with a large wooden back cabin and a suggestion of angled tarpaulin top cloths over a forward hold. But the analogy ends where recycled and modern materials take over to produce a delightful and spacious live-aboard craft. Unusually, you enter the boat in the middle, through one of its angled wooden hatch doors on either side. A couple of steps take you down into a vestibule where you are faced with two different worlds. To stern is an antique, intimate, wood-panelled den, lounge and sleeping cabin. Towards the bow is a series of bright, airy cabins with the light and atmosphere of a tall rustic conservatory. The galley is well equipped for preparing and cooking meals, with large wooden countertops, a Belfast sink and a curious collection of Dave’s own handmade floor and wall-mounted cabinets. Even his various tea kettles are recycled vintage items. The propane gas cooker is mounted on gimbals so is always on the level, even when the canal level occasionally drops to leave this large boat temporarily tilting to one side. Fruit and vegetables are stored in open baskets on low, deep shelves, while mugs and kitchen utensils gently
’Dave has treated all the reclaimed wooden floors gently to proudly retain the dents, stains and bruises of previous lives.’ www.reclaimmagazine.uk 99
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‘Leaded windows mounted into the canvas walls give views of the surrounding landscape. Most light, though, enters through the translucent, reinforced plastic material directly overhead.’
sway out of the way on dedicated hooks. The walls at this end of the narrowboat, above the gunwales, are made of double-skinned canvas filled with expanded foam-board insulation. The walls, sourced from a second-hand marquee, are kept taut over a wooden frame by a neat system of ropes attached to a wide ‘top plank’ that runs the length of the boat to the bow. In a traditional working boat this top plank acted as an aerial walkway used by the boatman to pass over a hold full of cargo. Leaded windows mounted in the canvas walls give views of the surrounding landscape. Most light, though, enters through the translucent, reinforced plastic material directly overhead. It is this Monotex sheeting that ensures the quality of light inside the boat changes with every passing cloud, and keeps it extraordinarily bright even under rainy skies.
(this page) The galley is filled with vintage and recycled finds. (opposite top) A giant tea urn supplies hot bath water. (opposite bottom) Dave’s workshop.
Throughout the boat the variety of natural materials and textures give its interior a warm glow and organic coherence. Dave has treated all the reclaimed wooden floors, doors, wall panels and worktops gently – lightly sanding them and applying oil or wax – to proudly retain the dents, stains and bruises accrued during previous lives. Next door to the galley and dining area is Dave’s workshop. It is well appointed with a large workbench, table saw, planing machine, bench drill press and a host of tools arrayed in dedicated slots, with a remarkable collection of fittings in drawers and cabinets and a store of wood piled neatly on
shelves. In addition to the translucent roof there is a good variety of 12-volt and 230-volt directional lighting, with candle power held in reserve. Stained-glass windows through to the galley bring in more light and allow you to keep an eye on a boiling kettle. Through a pair of glazed wooden doors towards the bow is what can perhaps best be described as a conservatory bathroom retreat. Here, the translucent walls extend down to gunwale level and are punctuated by ornamental turned wood columns. With its tangerine coloured bulkheads, waving green plants and sun filtering through the ceiling and side walls, it’s easy to feel that you have not just reached the end of the boat, but have stepped into the dawn of time.
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’A pair of tall wooden doors opens into the back cabin: a secret, warm and cosy world of antiques gathered around an enamelled French solid fuel stove.’
Right at the bow is a large plank door on iron strap hinges. Dave cheerfully explains that it is made of elm coffin boards that, rather conveniently, are the height of a man. Behind this facade is a shallow, wide room with a simple portable toilet. The chamber is well ventilated with a swing open stainedglass window overlooking the small bow deck, and it contains a full-height wardrobe and small library. Books are found throughout the boat: on isolated shelves, in bookcases and tucked into mesh-fronted cabinets mounted high in outof-the-way corners. It is a holistic collection, with varying subjects stored in different parts of the boat, and helps sustain a unique live-aboard lifestyle.
Stars applied to the ceiling, hanging candles and strings of fairy lights must supply an equally enchanting atmosphere come dusk. Pride of place here, let into the stone-tile floor, is a tapered metal bathtub supplied with hot water from an enormous tea urn. While Dave is normally frugal with water, he admits that a full hot bath is one luxury in which he indulges. Once poured, the water can take up to an hour and a half to cool to bathing temperature. Opposite is an inspired piece of boating furniture: a hybrid bench storage seat and table, fitted with the ornamental backrest of an Edwardian Thames rowing boat. In another corner is a raised enamel washbasin with a large, galvanised ship’s light hanging beside it on a chain.
z If we return to the middle vestibule of the boat, a pair of tall wooden doors opens into the back cabin: a secret, warm and cosy world of antiques gathered round an enamelled French solid fuel stove. Coloured light peeps in through small stained-glass panels that cast curious patches of light on the carpets and worn pitch-pine floors. Discreet light also filters in through a ‘bullseye’ in the ceiling – a small porthole fitted with a thick convex lens – as well as the periscope of a Challenger tank! The latter also allows covert views across the roof to the towpath. In bright weather, this cabin can be transformed by throwing open its huge side hatch, a smaller hatch beside the desk and the stern deck doors with sliding
(opposite page) The cosy back cabin. (top left) Desk made from an antique bank filing cabinet. (top right) Keeping warm by the French stove. (bottom) Hats for cooler days.
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’Samantha’s boat is a salvaged 19-foot Isle of Wight Day Boat, that he has restored and turned into a pretty, miniature ark.’ When Dave’s girlfriend Samantha visits from London she has her own space, a beautiful, live-aboard boat.
hatch above. This floods the space with sunlight and reveals the surrounding fields and trees and sky above. Magic. The back cabin’s framing is left exposed and its graceful lines contrast with the upper cabin walls and ceiling panelled in white tongue and groove. Below the gunwales are recycled dark wood panels, some applied with Yves Saint Laurent leopard-print fabric. A French Bergère armchair with carved serpent arms faces the stove across a silk carpet. This is the sort of encompassing chair in which you could spend an entire winter’s day curled up reading. A stereo system, a shelf of music and more books are close to hand. Opposite, a triangular desk fashioned from an antique bank filing cabinet is paired with an equally remodelled swivelling cane-back chair on castors. These sit perfectly positioned for study: you gain the natural light of two Gothic windows to your left, with the heat of the fire by your feet. At the stern is a large cross-cabin bed. Storage drawers are built in, swing-out candle-holders and LED lamps are available for reading, and a video monitor appears at its foot. No incentives here to get up and light a fire on a chilly morning. Perhaps a reminder of cooler days to come, mounted on hooks along one wall, is a collection of hats and tucked behind the copper back boiler pipes is a bevy of slippers. An old Aga kettle perched on top of the stove will keep water on simmer indefinitely. Dave admits that in deepest winter he spends
most of his time at this end of the narrowboat. That said, with the fire going, hot water circulates by gravity to a series of recycled cast-iron radiators placed throughout the boat.
z ‘Samantha’s boat’ is a salvaged 19-foot Isle of Wight Day Boat that he has restored and turned into a pretty, miniature ark. With its ogee-arched side hatches, stained-glass panels, tiny oval and square portholes and carved wooden tiller, it attracts a lot of attention. The single cabin contains a large double bed that extends beneath the small foredeck, a boatman’s stove to keep it comfortably warm, and a pew bench seat. A recycled hardwood counter features a brass sink and taps, with a solid gas ring for cooking set at one end. There is good storage in the cabinets beneath, on shelves and in drawers under the bed. This is a real Tardis and there’s even room for a couple of people to hang out on deck. The interiors of both boats are elemental and sit naturally within the waterways’ environment. They express a playful sense of style and offer pleasing home comfort – the result of fine craftsmanship that has brought recycled and repurposed materials back to life. » Narrowboat Life by Jim Batty, £18.99, is published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
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S I M P L E
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A VINTAGE BEAUTY
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THE BEAUTY AND GROOMING INDUSTRIES HAVE LONG FAVOURED EITHER BLAND MINIMALISM OR THEMED ‘GLAMOUR.’ NO MORE, AS SALON OWNERS ARE LOOKING TO RECLAIMED AND VINTAGE TO STYLE THEIR INTERIORS, GIVING THEIR CLIENTS A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AS WELL AS A TREATMENT. �eclaim INVESTIGATES
THE HAIRDRESSERS A small chain of London salons, charmingly called Blue Tit, each one is decked out differently to the last. From antique dressers used as styling bays, glass partitions jazzed up with pressed flowers, to Art Deco mirrors and 1960s drinks cabinets repurposed as product display cases, it’s a very unique way of decorating in the salon world. Owner Perry Patraszewski takes it seriously, as he told Emilee Tombs.
©BLUE TIT SALONS
How did you come to interior design? I actually wanted to be an architect. I was really interested in shapes and lines and how things were put together but then I was put off by the length of study time so I went into hairdressing, which really has a lot of similarities; you are ‘designing’ hair for clients all the time, so it felt like a natural thing to do. My business partner Andi and I decided to open a salon together, we both had nearly 15 years in the hairdressing industry but wanted to do hairdressing ‘our way.’ As a result we decided to design the salons too. Which was the first salon you designed and what were the challenges? Dalston, where we used a lot of reclaimed furniture and wood. This was before it became fashionable, so it was easy to find stuff on the street or car boot sales and to drag it to the salon and change it to our needs. The challenge with upcycling is to try and ensure that it becomes a good quality piece. Once you start messing with the internal structure of something it can fall apart in your hands, so you do have to be careful.
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© BLUE TIT SALONS
’WE USE OLD SUITCASES AS TROLLEY TABLES BY EACH HAIRDRESSING STATION, FOR HAIRDRYERS, BRUSHES AND COLOUR BOWLS.‘ Where does the design inspiration come from? We always take inspiration from the building itself, along with what surrounds it. We let the area dictate how we style the interior. So in our Streatham salon the building itself is a magnificent piece of period architecture – I wanted to open up the space to show its original volume. We kept a lot of the original elements such as the tiles, fireplaces and industrial piping. In Dalston we went very retro, as that was how the area felt when we opened it. For the Brixton salon it’s uber modern and industrial, just as Brixton feels. Tell us about the upcycled and vintage pieces in your salons. We use a lot of vintage designs because that is what really interests me. I go through phases of what I love in design, one year it might be Art Deco, the next I really like the 1970s and now I’m quite obsessed with the 1990s, which is the theme for the next salon, when I find the next location! Even in the salons that seem to be modern we have great mid-century furniture, we like to mix it up. I love vintage futurism, every era since Art Deco has something modern and relevant to today.
What are your favourite pieces that began life as something else? We use old suitcases as trolley tables by each hairdressing station – we put them upright and attach small wheels at the bottom so they can move easily on the floor without lifting. Our staff use them for hairdryers, brushes and colour bowls. They look great with the vintage feel of the salons. But my favourite example is probably the picture wall in our Dalston salon. I spent a long time trawling car boot sales and eBay to find all these amazing Victorian style frames and old photo albums and then covered the entire wall with them. It’s very eclectic and I love it. Another piece I love is in our Peckham salon, it’s basically two large sheets of glass which we pressed dry flowers into and it sits between styling bays. Why is the interior of the salons so important to you? My surroundings and the interiors I work in are a crucial factor in how I feel, but they also affect how our clients feel too. I like it when people feel inspired by the interior, and maybe feel encouraged to do something similar in their own homes. It makes me love what I do, and since we spend most of our lives working, we need to love it.
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© BLUE TIT SALONS
© BLUE TIT SALONS
(far left) The Brixton salon, (left) Peckham.
© BLUE TIT SALONS
THE BEAUTY SPA
What is it about re-using and making something new that you enjoy? Giving things another life is important in creating sustainable salons but also a bit of DIY makes me think creatively. I like to create a challenge for myself and to think of ways to reinvent something that hasn’t been thought of before. » Blue Tit Salons: Dalston: 7 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BH; Peckham: 26 Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4RJ; Streatham: 69 Streatham Hill, London, SW2 4TX plus four other London locations, details on bluetitlondon.com
Kate Stevenson Lupton, owner of The Cecily Townhouse Day Spa is a self-confessed vintage nut who loves to shop for antiques and quirky furniture. A fan of Art Noveau, she took this period as her starting point for the interior, reupholstering two original 1900 chairs she uses for pedicures, in modern fabric and William Morris wallpaper swatches, and mixing with Art Deco and Victorian. The scheme works beautifully, and is so unlike most other beauty salons – (where else could you have a manicure at an old school desk?) – that it’s become a talking-point. ‘Nearly every new client remarks on the interior and little touches on their first visit. I’m sure it is a big factor in them recommending the spa,’ says Kate. She’s achieved the desired whimsical feel through a clever eye and taking inspiration from a variety of sources. ‘I look at Pinterest, history, nature, trade shows and antique shop layouts. The way some of them arrange their stock can be very inspiring, making use of a piece of furniture that’s meant for something totally different.’ Kate buys from the great local antique stores in Berkhamsted, vintage supplier Luxe 22 , ebay, car boots and house clearances. She’s onto a winning formula – many of her clients comment that they’d like to live in the spa. » Cecily Townhouse Day Spa, 10 Castle Street, Berkhamsted, HP4 2BQ, cecilytownhousedayspa.com
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© JAREK DUK/ JAREKDUK.COM
’THE JACK DANIELS BOTTLE IS UPCYCLED AS A WATER SPRAY, WHICH WAS EASY TO DO – JUST DRINK IT AND RINSE.‘ THE BARBERSHOP Short, back and sides, retro-style.
The Gentleman and Rogues Club – a barbershop on the south coast – have created a salon with a strong rustic, vintage vibe peppered with quirky items. Shareholder Darren Hayward elaborates. What vintage treasures are in the shop? We have a lot of ‘stuff’ in the shop, it’s now hard to find space for anything else! Even some customers have brought things in for us. We have a couple of stuffed squirrels that are over 100 years old. There are vintage cut-throat razors on the wall, hand clippers and old scissors. We have a collection of vinyl from 1920s Jazz to Elvis and old rock. There are some US vintage number plates also up and around the walls. Any upcycled numbers? The Jack Daniels bottle is upcycled as a water spray, which was easy to do – just drink it and rinse. All water spray nozzles fit the bottles, so we have upcycled a lot. The walls are made from floorboards, there are vintage maps from France, and we have a French cabinet that we have adapted to use for retail. Our desk is also French, and is a film prop. Who styles the salon? I have been a bit of a control freak when it comes to the look of the shop, and I thought the apron that we all wear gives us a ‘ready to work’ look. I like the boys to have their own style within the boundaries of the retro and vintage theme.
Where do you source your items? We have been very lucky with the way we collected our workbenches, cinema chairs, wall materials and other furniture. Furniture stylist Roger Street is the amazing owner of Painted French, and he and I used Pinterest to work out what would look the part, and how to find it. The mirrors are all antique along with the work benches. The odd bit I found myself from junk shops and car boots, but the credit is down to Roger. How do customers react to your ‘look’? To start with a lot of our business was all about how the barbershop looked and this is how we drew people in. The customers love the shop. They love to point out new bits I’ve found. And if we move things around, the customers are the first to tell us if they like it or not. What inspires you? I find inspiration everywhere I go. I’m a creative person and very visual – taking a bit from shows such as Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders, to the beach huts of my home town Bournemouth. The inspiration of other industry is also important, with rustic coffee bars and restaurants, local and further afield. I also love people such as Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, who have no boundaries when it comes to design. I was also inspired by vintage barber books and photos of the US barbershops from the 20s and 30s – all about textures and materials that felt strong and long lasting. » 347 Ashley Road, Poole, Dorset, BH14 0AR, T: 01202 736671, gentlemanandroguesclub.co.uk
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THERE’S TREASURE IN THE THAMES AS ROBERT COOPER HAS DISCOVERED IN TWO AND A HALF DECADES OF COLLECTING PIECES WASHED UP ON THE RIVER’S FORESHORE. THE CERAMICIST, WHO EXHIBITS AROUND THE WORLD, USES SHARDS OF SHATTERED GLASS BOTTLES AND SMITHEREENS OF FIGURINES OFFERED UP BY THE RIVER AS THE TRIGGER FOR MANY OF HIS CREATIONS, AS HE TOLD JANE COMMON AT HIS LONDON STUDIO IMAGES © WILDE FRY
s a child I spent a lot of time in hospitals, consequently becoming very good at jigsaws. And that’s what my work is, essentially – a jigsaw of finding a scrap of something and then balancing it with other bits and pieces, colour-wise and texture-wise, to make a whole. Everything I pick up ignites an idea in my head. I began mud larking when I was teaching at the City Lit in 1990. I knew about it from Dickens, of course and my students and I would stroll down to the north foreshore of the river and see what was washed up. Then we’d research our finds because inside that scrap – that piece of something – the size and function of the original item is locked. So the students would go to the V&A, the British Museum and the Museum of London to match the bits they’d found with complete objects in there. One day a student picked up a diamond ring on the shore. It wasn’t a particularly impressive diamond but still. Come the spring tides and the winter tides, the river can be throwing all sorts of flotsam and jetsam up.’ ‘When I was growing up, in Sheffield in the 1960s, we were just on the cusp of the “I don’t want that; throw it away” mindset. There still used to be a pot man who trawled the streets on a horse and a cart shouting: “Pots for rags”. People would rush to meet him and swap their old clothes for a cup and saucer – there was a logic in that. So I’m keeping up that tradition, I suppose – recycling. I’ve found all sorts over the years in the Thames that I’ve used; bits of old license plates, candlesticks and sconces, cups with moustache protectors – they’d be from the 1850s when Prince Albert’s moustache started a trend; garden tiles; glass bottle tops; Staffordshire flatback figures. There’s always a lot of Stoke pottery. And earlier items too. I’ve found mediaeval pieces. I could just go to a shop, buy some modern pottery and break it up but it wouldn’t have the same history.’
Robert Cooper in his studio in south London.
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’THE NUMBER OF EGG CUPS I‘VE FOUND ON THE FORESHORE OVER THE YEARS IS INCREDIBLE. I THINK THE SERVANTS COULDN‘T BE ARSED CLEANING SO THEM THEY‘D CHUCK THEM IN THE THAMES.‘ (above left) ‘Wrapped Around’ and ‘Hare Trigger’ 2015-2016. (above right) ‘Wall Sconce against a red background’.
‘I’ve always collected things. I used to go to jumble sales every weekend. I quite liked fighting with old ladies who’d hardened their elbows in vinegar: “Get back you hippie!” sort of thing. I reclaim old fabrics to use in my work – people donate them to me and I visit car boots – and I buy old soft toys from charity shops too. When my granddaughter Scarlet was very young, we’d buy her toys and they’d disappear, just like that. Where did they go? And I became fascinated by all the soft toys in charity shops so I started dipping them in clay to save them and glazing them in the kiln to give them a more permanent life story. I’d take their plush insides out and refill them with a wire skeleton. But their brains I’d always leave intact.’ ‘The number of egg cups I’ve found on the foreshore over the years is incredible. I think the servants couldn’t be arsed cleaning them so: “Oh they’re broken, m’lud” and they’d chuck them in the Thames. And then there are runs of similar things, all washing up at once, like these funny little dog statuettes – I found six within a short space of time.
It’s a bit like McDonalds giving away those toys with their Happy Meals and then, a few years later, there they are in boxes in charity shops. Objects have a life cycle, I suppose and, through my work, I’m extending that.’ ‘I just whack my Thames finds in a bag and they clatter and clink on the bus home. I try not to change the bits I find – it’s important to me that they retain their integrity. Then I scrub them up with bleach on the patio in the back garden and put the day’s batch in a tray in the attic. It’s full up there now. I have pieces that are very old, waiting for their match. But everything has one, even if it takes a while to find. Some of the pieces from the Thames are almost spooky in shape and colour because of the way they’ve been fired and burnt with the rubbish years ago.’ ‘My work is varied because I’m always trying to keep ahead of my students. I love teaching, I get so much out of it. When I studied at the Royal College of Art my tutor was Eduardo Paolozzi, the collagist and sculptor, and he was great. I
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(clockwise from top) ‘Mother’s Little Helper’. ‘Dogged’ lid for vessel, 2014-2016. ‘Trophy’ candlestick and ‘Half a Shaving Mug’ candlestick, featured in CAA ‘Teas Up’ exhibition, 2012. ‘Come Together’ candlestick with fish paste holder, 2015.
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1. ‘This was part of a project I did for an exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts called Tea’s Up. I took a cast of a paper coffee cup, slip cast to create froth round the top, and then I applied transfers in a random way to give a garbled effect. The china tea cup and the cat himself are charity shop finds and I’ve thrown a champagne cork in there, for a bit of hedonism. I see this as a trophy for survival – it has different elements, the paper cup contrasted with the china cup, each with their own history. They were thrown away but recovered and that’s where the survival comes in. And it works either way round – with the tea cup or the disposable cup as the base, depending on whether someone’s in a modern or classical mood.’ 2. ‘I enjoy reading a piece of artwork and that’s what makes these mud larked pieces so interesting, I hope – working out the provenance of the different components. With this candle, for example, the tile was fished from the Thames. It’s Renaissance so could have come over from Italy – there are plenty of intact tiles like this in the V&A. And then we have a handle from a tea cup, a bit of a soup tureen, a floor tile and the top of a tub of bloater paste. So it’s all these random elements coming together to create a whole.’
’THE THAMES MUD IS INTERESTING IN ITSELF. I KEEP THINKING I MUST SCOOP SOME UP AS IT CONTAINS WHO KNOWS WHAT AND WILL PROBABLY FIRE UP VERY NICELY.‘ Robert creates stunning works of art with material found on the foreshore of the Thames.
went to college late as I’m dyslexic and lacked confidence but the RCA gave me that. And Paolozzi inspired my first Thames mud larking creation, which was a candlestick. I enjoy making them as they’re so barmy and anomalous. When I was at the RCA Paolozzi showed the Lost Magic Kingdoms exhibition at the Museum of Mankind, part of the British Museum, for which he pulled out the most wonderful pieces from the collection’s archives. He grouped these random pieces together in such striking ways and I learnt from that. Everything has a purpose – a beauty. It’s just hitting on it.’ ‘There are pieces in this studio that I started decades ago and still haven’t finished. I’m distracted by something else but then – often, hopefully – the unfinished piece distracts me back. That robot on the shelf, for example, was a Tigger toy I found in a charity shop. I took his fur off – he still bounces around, don’t worry – and I’m considering gold leafing him. I just haven’t got round to it yet.’
‘The Thames mud is interesting in itself. I keep thinking I must scoop some up as it contains who knows what and will probably fire up very nicely. A student of mine at the City Lit lived in Southend-on-Sea and would go to the estuary edge and dig up a bucketful of mud then leave it to dry for six months. Afterwards she’d take it out of the bucket and put it on her wheel to create a shape. And when it was fired it would split and melt and mould into the most wonderful shapes with this sparkling mineral finish. Quite beautiful.’ » For information about Robert and his work go to robertcooper.net Robert’s work can also be viewed, by appointment, at 2d/e Vanguard Court, 35-38 Peckham Road, Camberwell, London SE5 8QT » For information on mud larking on the Thames foreshore see the Port of London’s website: pla.co.uk/Environment/ Metal-Detecting-and-Digging-on-the-Thames-Foreshore
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(far left) The Vintage Emporium, (middle) Bournemouth’s beautiful coastline and (right) Decades of Design.
THIS IS THE SEA WITH ITS RENOWNED ARTS UNIVERSITY AND THRIVING CREATIVE INDUSTRIES IT’S LITTLE WONDER THAT BOURNEMOUTH’S VINTAGE SCENE IS FEELING THE BENEFITS. MAKE THE TRIP FOR INTERESTING ANTIQUE STORES, BOUTIQUE B&B’S AND INDEPENDENT CAFÉS – KISS ME QUICK HAT OPTIONAL WORDS LOMA-ANN MARKS
he seaside town of Bournemouth is relatively young. Founded in 1810 it rapidly expanded in the 1870s, with its waters seen as health-giving. The town escaped much of the WWII bombing, so the Victorian architecture and Pleasure Gardens remain as they always were, giving the town a sweet, retro feel. At one time it was seen by some, unfairly, as being a blend of rowdy stag do’s at one end and zimmer frames at the other. But Bournemouth has big ambitions, and is a far cry from this, now outdated, reputation.
With increasing investment in the arts, the likes of JP Morgan, Nationwide, Urban Guild and (full disclosure) this very magazine with its headquarters there, the town’s attracting innovation, creativity and a growing market for the original, unique and independent. There’s also a lovely combination of friendliness and cool. You won’t be intimidated by any of the shop owners or their price tags; at the same time the place feels modern; happening. Visit for a day browsing or stay longer to enjoy the seven miles of Blue Flag beaches and gorgeous countryside nearby.
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© JIM MARKS
Book Lovers One of life’s pleasures is curling up with an interesting book in a cosy environment, and The Crooked Book invites you to do just that. Opened by former Arts University student Jamie Miller and Eloise Leyton the shop offers a winning combination of treats: quality second-hand books, delicious coffee and food and hand-picked vintage furniture, homewares and curios. Like the rest of the town’s vintage stores, it’s friendly and has that personal touch that attracts loyalty and makes you want to return. They’re also part of building Bournemouth’s creative community, with evening events such as open mic nights, poetry readings, live music and book launches.
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Westbourne Pit Stop If you’re laden-down with the spoils of your trip, then head to Westbourne, lovingly known as Bournemouth’s ‘village’ with its mix of boutiques, bars and high-end brands, for lunch. Dot Teas is a charming café selling British favourites such as dippy eggs, crumpets and mugs of tea. But the best thing about it is the eclectic décor. It’s unashamedly pretty, with crochet tea cosies, lace runners, twinkling glassware and a window adorned with vintage Barbie dolls. Even the staff wear their hair in victory rolls. Or, if you fancy getting a bit closer to the beach, The Living
Room between Westbourne and Alum Chine is a real hidden gem. An award-winning vintage B&B, coffee lounge and tea room the place is an upcycled haven, with its 1950s sideboards turned into the main café counter to the reclaimed furniture in each of the seven unique bedrooms. Run by mother and son team Teresa Bushy and Zak Pelekanou, The Living Room, unsurprisingly, has many loyal regulars so if you’re planning to stay the night (and do if you can) book early.
’THERE’S MUCH MORE INTEREST IN ANTIQUES AND VINTAGE. HERE IN BOURNEMOUTH IT’S AT ITS HEIGHT RIGHT NOW.’ Antiques and Vintage Quarter There’s always been an antiques scene in Bournemouth, centred around Boscombe and the Christchurch Road, referred to as The Golden Mile in its heyday back in the 60s and 70s. But recession and an appetite for the new and massproduced forced many stores to close. Now, says Peter Hall of Noah Valentine, the oldest antique shop on the road, things are on the up again. ‘There’s much more interest in antiques and vintage, and it’s easier to find things and look them up with all the promotion on TV, the web and social media,’ he explains. ‘Here in Bournemouth it’s at its height right now.’ It’s easy to see what he means. The shop’s filled with covetable pieces from neon signs to huge clocks that fit straight into the hugely popular industrial aesthetic. ‘But we don’t follow trends,’ says Peter, ‘We specialise in one-offs, in creating funky interiors. Everything we buy I’d have in my house.’ It’s this personal touch that really stands out in the coastal town, making shopping for pieces with a story a real pleasure. Further along the Christchurch Road is Decades of Design,
owned by Amber Cook who’s had the shop for eight years. As well as quirky mid-century pieces she stocks big design names including Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Knoll (see our feature on the Barcelona chair, page 40) Ercol, G Plan and Robin Day. Again, she buys what she loves – and it shows. This combination of passion and savvy is what makes The Vintage Emporium, a stroll up the road, so special. Opened just two years ago by Graham Spridgeon, a former hairdresser and DJ, the store, housed in a hangarstyle warehouse complete with stylish tearoom, is a great example of selling vintage for the modern shopper. It’s divided into areas including Bohemia, Kitchenalia, Mod and Industrial, so there’s no thankless rummaging in the vain hope of finding that perfect piece. It’s easy to see the pieces in situ – one section is like walking into the famous 70s play Abigail’s Party, with its collection of wooden cabinet recordplayers, hostess trolley and acid orange maxidress; the next is straight from Quadrophenia complete with targets, scooter, mini-dresses and even a traffic cone. The styling and layout is deliberate – Graham takes his inspiration from contemporary designer stores that
(opposite page, top left) statement pieces at Home Alchemy, and (right) the mannequin, fondly known as June, at The Vintage Emporium.
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The Vintage Emporium 1172-1180 Christchurch Road, BH7 6DY bournemouthvintageemporium. com Noah Valentine 790 Christchurch Road, BH7 6DD noahvalentineantiques.co.uk Decades of Design 856 Christchurch Road, BH7 6DQ facebook.com/decadesofdesign The Crooked Book 725 Christchurch Road, BH7 6AQ facebook.com/crookedbook Dot Teas 31a Seamoor Road, BH4 9AE facebook.com/ DotTeasVintageTeaBoutique The Living Room The Living Room, Drury Road, BH4 8HA visitthelivingroom.co.uk Molly’s Den Unit 9, 11-15 Francis Avenue, BH11 8NX mollys-den.co.uk Home Alchemy 352 Ringwood Road, Ferndown, BH22 9AT home-alchemy.com ACE Reclamation Pine View, Barrack Road, West Parley, Hurn, BH22 8UB ace-reclamation.co.uk
Essential Information Travel from London Waterloo direct to Bournemouth on South West Trains, in under two hours. southwesttrains.co.uk Getting around: United Taxis offer an excellent service, 556677.com and buses run regularly throughout the town, morebus.co.uk, bybus.co.uk Where to Stay: The Living Room (see Westbourne Pit Stop) visit thelivingroom.co.uk, The Southbourne Grove Hotel, southbournegrovehotel.com, The Green House Hotel, thegreenhousehotel.co.uk
© JIM MARKS
’WE’RE IMPROVING ALL THE TIME. WE’RE ALL ABOUT BUILDING A COMMUNITY, ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO GET CREATIVE.’ allow customers to experience the whole room. He’s got big plans for the place, too. Soon to come is a tattooist, vintage games (including everyone’s favourite, the iconic Pac Man) an updated menu for the café and function room. ‘We’re improving all the time, and always getting new customers, from school parties to tourists and the students. We’re all about building a community, encouraging people to get creative,’ he says. Beyond Boscombe It isn’t just the Christchurch Road that boasts Bournemouth’s antiques. You can’t mention reclaimed or vintage in the town without referring to Molly’s Den. A vintage hunter’s paradise, it’s on an unassuming trading estate and is worth the short drive for well-priced retro furniture, clothing and collectables. Part of a larger group of ‘Dens’ (there are another three in Winchester, Bridport and New Milton) the Bournemouth branch was the first. There’s a lovely café and even a delightful play area, complete with wooden toys and Ladybird books, for the children. Slightly further afield in Ferndown is the fabulous Home Alchemy. Head there for larger-than-life statement pieces, fairground memorabilia, the curious, the intriguing and macabre. Owners Tracy and Carl Dawe are passionate design enthusiasts and treasure-seekers, who willingly offer their knowledge, helping you choose, or source, that ideal piece. As with everywhere in the area, you’ll find a willingness to chat, an open door and a plethora of interesting pieces with a history. Bournemouth is certainly on the up – must be the sea air.
(top) Molly’s Den (above) Pieces from Noah Valentine.
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Suppliers of beautiful Bespoke solid ‘plank’ wood worktops: perfectly crafted, finished and delivered to you. Commissions now being taken for bespoke furniture and kitchens. To discuss your project and plans or to request an appointment for a site visit, please contact Neale in the Kent office
email@example.com Mobile: 07919 597881 Scotland Office: 01324 832200 England Office: 01795 488336 Hargreaves Reclaimed, Dougalshill Farm, By Airth, Falkirk FK2 8LT
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Tiny treasures From clever construction ideas to interiors inspiration, this issue’s books are all about good things coming in little packages WORDS ANDREINA CORDANI
STAr CHOICE Do you dream about building your own small living space and are you committed to using reclaimed materials? If so, Tiny Houses Built With Recycled Materials is a great source of inspiration. Author Ryan Mitchell, creator of the successful blog thetinylife.com, showcases 20 different case studies. The stories are inspiring – such as the family of four driven out of their home by the recession who love their new life in a hut on wheels with a tin-bucket-sink. But there are also plenty of hints and tips, advice on construction and sourcing salvaged building materials. Guaranteed to get you thinking and planning. l £17.99, Adams Media
The tiny homes movement may be a quirky lifestyle choice in the US but in the UK, where space is at a premium, many of us simply have to maximise what we have. There’s plenty of inspiration in Beautifully Small – interiors stylist Sara Emslie shows us how to turn our cramped corners into airy, bright places in which every square inch of space is used... and yet there’s room for a decorative tree branch or a Victorian daybed. Emslie makes the point that, as we used to live on a much smaller scale, vintage finds often fit better in small spaces. A fresh, bright treat for the eyes. l £19.99, Ryland Peters and Small
Small houses or flats often come with equally bijou outdoor spaces. If you have one of these, then My Tiny Garden by Lucy Anna Scott is the perfect launchpad for your green makeover. There are ideas for all tastes here – whether you dream of a beautiful green haven with tinkling Japanese water features or you want to grow your own veg. There are chapters on indoor growing, balcony living and – most importantly – shady spaces – a common problem if your garden is small and surrounded by high fences. Each chapter also contains fun looking hands-on projects by Lucy Conochie. Dig in. l £14.99, Pavilion
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‘VINTAGE FINDS OFTEN FIT BETTER IN SMALL SPACES.’
150 Best Tiny Home Ideas by Manel Gutiérrez Couto is a real treat for architecture buffs. Packed with glossy photos and floor plans the emphasis is strongly on visuals rather than words. The author showcases the myriad ways designers and architects can create different tricks of shape and light out of small spaces – such as the Hivehaus with its hexagonal modules, or the couple who bought an old construction trailer for 15 Euros and converted it into a light, bright family rumpus room with distinctive circular windows. Eminently flickable house porn for lovers of clean lines and clever ideas. l £20, Harper Design
The tiny homes movement started out in a very homespun style, with rustic cabins in the woods. But in Tiny Houses In the City author Mimi Zeiger shows how architects and designers are taking it to the next level. These are slick, sophisticated structures with clever space saving ideas. Our highlight was the Minim House, which had bags of airy space and also included sustainable features like solar energy, a rainwater capture system and has finishes and fabrics made from low environmental impact materials. There are some fun quirky designs in here which makes micro-living feel like an achievable and beautiful lifestyle choice. l £19.95, Rizzoli
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Places to buy
Your guide to every stockist and retailer featured...
A Architectural Heritage architectural-heritage.co.uk Autentico autentico-paint.com B Beeston Reclamation beestonreclamation.co.uk Beya Fontenay beyafontenay.com Blom & Blom blomandblom.com D Decades of Design facebook.com/decadesofdesign Dennest Ltd dennest.com Dirty Pretty Vintage dirtyprettyvintage.com Discover Attic discoverattic.com E Eat Sleep Live eatsleeplive.co.uk English Salvage englishsalvage.co.uk G Gentleman & Rogues Club gentlemanandroguesclub.co.uk Guy Chenevix Trench antiquesbydesign.co.uk
H Hargreaves Reclaimed Flooring hargreavesreclaimedflooring.co.uk Harry Diamond Antiques harrydiamondantiques.com Home Alchemy home-alchemy.com I It’s a Light itsalight.co.uk L Le Chien Et Moi lcemstore.com Lesser Spotted lesser-spotted.co.uk Little Burrow Designs littleburrowdesigns.co.uk Love Maps On lovemapson.com M Mayfly Vintage mayflyvintage.co.uk Molly’s Den mollys-den.co.uk Mongers Architectural Salvage mongersofhingham.co.uk
P Period Features periodfeatures.co.uk Philip Oakley Illuminations oakleyilluminations.co.uk R Rag and Bone Man theragandboneman.co.uk Reclaimed World reclaimedworld.com Robert Cooper robertcooper.net S Seriously Good Salvage seriouslygoodsalvage.com Signed and Original signedandoriginal.com Skinflint Design skinflintdesign.co.uk Spencer Swaffer spencerswaffer.com Steel Rose steel-rose.co.uk
T The Antique Oak Flooring Company antiqueoakflooring.co.uk The Crooked Book facebook.com/crookedbook The Decorative Collective decorativecollective.com The Hoarde thehoarde.com The Purple Finch thepurplefinch.com The Reclaim & Salvage Company reclaimandsalvage.co.uk The Vintage Emporium bournemouthvintageemporium.com Toby’s Reclamation tobysreclamation.com Trenoweth Roofing & Reclamation roofingreclamation.co.uk Trinity Marine trinitymarine.co.uk V Vintage Floor Tile Company thevintagefloortilecompany.co.uk W Wye Valley Reclamation warehouse701.co.uk
N Noah Valentine noahvalentineantiques.co.uk
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www.reclaimandsalvage.co.uk email@example.com @reclaimsalvage RECLAIM8_P.131 [Ads].indd 2
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