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Friday, 22 February 2019
A VINTAGE barber’s chair, a restored “one-armed bandit” and a collection of ornate garden sculptures will be among the lots up for grabs at an auction at the McAlpine railway museum next weekend.
More than 800 items from the museum, neighbouring Fawley Hill estate and other homes in the area will be put up for sale at the event on Saturday, December 1.
They include some possessions of the late Sir William McAlpine, a construction tycoon and railway enthusiast who founded the museum and died in March, aged 82.
His widow Lady McAlpine says she came across hundreds of artefacts after carrying out a “spring clean” of their Fawley Hill home earlier this month and asked Remenham salvage dealer Gary Wallis to help her hold a sale. She says some of the items have not been unpacked since she moved to the estate following her marriage to Sir William in 2004.
Lady McAlpine said: “It’s mostly my old stuff I’m selling. I used to have a medieval house in Kent and what fits in there doesn’t fit into a Georgian house in Fawley.
“There’s more than I expected. I’ve been going through stuff I haven’t looked at for 15 years. It’s been packed away. I’m not selling off the railway artefacts. I don’t want people panicking and thinking ‘she’s selling up’.
“There may be one or two railway-related things but I’m only selling things that are surplus to the museum’s and the household’s requirements.”
Lady McAlpine said she couldn’t remember where some of items, including old water barrels and a bronze ship’s foghorn, came from.
She said: “I started unpacking two weeks ago and just kept finding packing cases full of stuff and thought, ‘what’s in here?’
“I found some beautiful, delicate Venetian glass, which would go in the house if I had a place to put it. I hope someone would like that.
“There are other things like French garden chairs — I’ve just got too many! We’ve got some bits from King’s Cross station which we can’t find homes for.
“There are a couple of medieval garden ornaments, including a wooden post with a lion and a griffin on top. It’s a bit weathered but will attract someone.
“I also found a lovely old typewriter. I don’t know where it’s come from! It’s quite fun going through it all.” Mr Wallis is adding hundreds of his own lots to the sale, many of which he has picked up from local estates.
They include garden ornaments such as a revolving planter, a wooden rocking horse and a large bench which could have been used in a tavern.
Lady McAlpine’s neighbour Gillian Knowles is selling Georgian furniture from her home.
Mr Wallis is an “upcycler” who has previously supplied the Beckhams, Guy Ritchie and the White Company and in 2015 sold a jacket worn by actor Brad Pitt in Fury.
He said: “Judy and I were having a chat and she wanted to have a bit of a spring clean so it made sense to put a sale together.
“I’ve done several major house clearances recently so we’ve put together a really interesting sale and the timing’s perfect — just prior to Christmas.”
Among the other lots is a large pair of Berkel scales which Lady McAlpine believes were once used to weigh meat. She said: “Bill just had a thing about scales. He had everything from the scales that weigh railway wagons to these, which are old butcher’s scales.
“The barber’s chair I love. It was up in the attic with a telescope because up there you can see Windsor Castle but nobody ever used it. Bill had the fruit machine restored and it was working for 15 years. We also have a pinball machine and jukebox in the sale.”
The sale will be run by Auction Revolution.
Mr Wallis said: “It’s going to be quite an event. It’s such a fantastic venue and it made such perfect sense to hold it here.”
Viewing at the museum will take place tomorrow (Saturday) and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The more valauable items will not be on site until the sale day.
The auction will began at 9.30am and printed catalogues will be available with refreshments and facilities on site, including car parking. The catalogue will be available at www.saleroom.com and www.aucrev.com
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