Thursday, 31 March 2011

Peek's Of Holborn

Once upon a time in Arcadia, on a Thursday as well on other days of the week, gentlemen and ladies wishing to purchase fishing tackle and bait could proceed along the Gray's Inn Road in the district of London called Holborn to that great institution known as Peek's where you could buy tackle on account and even have your capture set up by their resident taxidermist.  As the angler and writer Eric Marshall Hardy wrote in the 1930's 'You never know when the big fellow will turn up, so be prepared with a newspaper.  I always carry a newspaper when out fishing because there is nothing quite so good for wrapping up a fish which is destined for the taxidermist. Don't use grass or reeds - just wrap the fish in newsprint and take it to Peek's.'  Ever the modernists Peeks had a telephone installed at their main counter and you could ring your order through to the taxidermist by telephoning Holborn 0683.  Callers to that number now may be redirected by the exchange to my field telephone Arcadia 274 383.

 Sadly Peek's has long since joined the roll call of the Lost Tackle Shops of London but you can sate your appetite for Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul on Thursdays by visiting me at my stall in Spitalfields Antiques Market on Commercial Street from a half past seven in the morning where I pay homage to shops such as Peek's by selling their wares to the passing souls of the 21st Century.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Crocodile in the Shop Window

Found in a box of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul, a 1920's Hardy Patent 'Crocodile' Spinner, or Mount, now residing 'In the Shop Window' at

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


A morning curtailed early for most at Kempton who found themselves surprised by the onset of rain.  This had been heralded by a prophetic outbreak of Barbour jackets at a stall by the rails.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Fishing in the company of the British Tunny Club

The scene at dawn in Arcadia, 1933, 60 miles off Scarborough after a breakfast of herring and pale ale.  Waiting for the tunny.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The British Tunny Club

Dating to its inception in 1933 and to be found forever flying in Arcadia, the pennant of The British Tunny Club.  The pennant could only be raised when a tunny had been caught by an angler according to strict club rules.  This example, found yesterday at Angling Auctions in the district of Chiswick and previously belonging to R. Bradlaw was flown in 1949 when he caught a tunny of 684lbs off Scarborough on the east coast of the county of Yorkshire.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

A Sociable Plover and Other Stories

Found at Spitalfields a 1st Edition copy in pristine order with its original dust wrapper of Eric Linklater's 'A Sociable Plover and Other Stories and Conceits'
( with wood-engravings by Reynolds Stone (  The book opens with a dedication that any writer will recognise only too well, 'To my dear Robert Henriques, a good soldier, a successful farmer, who for fear of too much happiness has committed himself also to literature.'  In Arcadia we are as committed to literature as much as we are committed to searching under trestle tables in empty markets, which is where this book was found in a cardboard box marked in a hurried hand 'Country - Fishing/Shooting/Birds etc'.

Friday, 25 March 2011


The first warmish day of the year at Spitalfields yesterday brightened by mid morning sunshine and the kind gift from fellow dealer the renowned Modern Centurist Mr. Steve Sorrell of a copy of a booklet produced in the 1960's by Looe Sea Angling Association.  From their HQ at The Nailzee Bar in Hannafore their secretary put together 'Where and How to Fish At Looe' whose cover was illustrated by A. Lawrence.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Rudd's Fishing Tackle Stores

Once upon a time in Arcadia and especially on a Thursday, gentlemen short on gentles could visit Rudd's Fishing Tackle Stores which stood at 7 Devonshire Street, Bishopsgate in the district of London E.C.2, directly opposite Liverpool Street Station.  Rudd's sold 'Everything the Angler Required' from rods, reels, gut, lines and floats to extra large hemp, all at the lowest prices.  Their tackle was sold in a rather fine Manila brown envelope with the details of the Stores printed on the front in red ink.  Should you find yourself short of gentles on a Thursday you will be disappointed to discover that Rudd's has been shut for many years, but hopefully cheered by the fact that by walking a little further up Brushfield Street you will come to my stall at Spitalfields Antiques Market where I can direct you to the nearest Maggot Vending Machine.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Efgeeco in Arcadia

In Arcadia not all items of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul are simply found, many are painstakingly searched for and tracked down.  Often has been the morning when a one hundred mile trip in the van has resulted in a transaction that included the purchase of a single item by the seminal London tackle making firm from Balham, Efgeeco.  A company borne out the vision of a Victorian Circus Strongman who was obsessed with sleep and whose innovative work was manufactured for three generations until its sale in the 1980's.  In Arcadia we salute Efgeeco evcryday and you can do so today by visiting them in the 'Old Friends' wing at

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Post War British Reels For the Soul

Once upon a time in Arcadia when we were feeling more industrious as a nation, men and women in small workshops and factory units made fishing reels and put them into cardboard boxes.  Now, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, men and women at Vintage Tackle Fairs and in Auction Rooms take the same reels out of larger cardboard boxes and acquire them with large sums of cash for the good of your souls.  You may view a recently purchased selection of such reels which are now on sale in the 'Just In, Sir' Room at

Monday, 21 March 2011


Found at Romsey Vintage and Secondhand Tackle Fair some pure examples of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul.  And a photograph of the Gilmour Shelley Patent Bobble Hat.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Accompanied by a Ted Hughes moon on the way down the M3 this morning and by a setting sun on the way back from today's Fair at Romsey in the English county of Hampshire.   Pint glasses of Friary Meux Ale are to be raised in thanks to organiser Mr. S. Draper and to all those who came to the stall including the very kind gentleman who brought me a present of a knitted bobble hat in British Racing Green.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Romsey Vintage and Secondhand Tackle Fair

Tomorrow, Sunday 20th March, I shall be taking the early road south west for the Romsey Vintage and Secondhand Tackle Fair where I shall be buying and selling Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul.  Please come and visit me at my stall in the main hall of the Romsey Community School on the Greatbridge Road in Romsey.  Your navigator should know that the location is served by Postal Code S051 8ZB.   The doors open at 9am and you are advised to come before lunch as the balloon goes up not long after midday.


Friday, 18 March 2011

Lost Allcocks Artwork

A lost piece of original artwork painted in watercolour at some point after the last war by the commercial artist L.W. Mitchell, discovered after his death amongst his portfolio and sold today at auction.  The auctioneer told me that after a bit of research it appeared that the work was never commissioned by Allcocks. Unfortunately, it was lost again today, at least to me as I bailed out as underbidder at £200.


Delivered to the stall yesterday an original Hardy Rod Box complete with labels and contents.  Along with a clutch of cartridge bags and 'Jock', a Scottish Terrier pup seen at the market, these were the only joys of an otherwise cold and rather undignified day.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Army & Navy Stores

Once upon a time in Arcadia, on a Thursday and on any other day of the working week, the angler finding themselves at a loss could make haste to the Army & Navy Stores in Victoria Street, London SW1.  There, in the fishing tackle department they could have purchased this lost item of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul, described in the shop's catalogue as 'A superior quality velvet grain real leather dark brown pocket book cast wallet with Chamois leather pockets and parchment flaps.'  Should you find yourself at a loss today I suggest you make haste to my stall at Spitalfields Antiques Market, where until 15:00hrs I will be selling this wallet and other items like it and drinking tea at intervals in honour of the lost tackle shops of London town.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Great Stadium

Amongst the treasure found in the bar of the racecourse at Ludlow over the weekend was this fine bronze medal awarded to R.W. Wellman as 3rd prize in Event 14 'The Heavy Bait Casting' section of  the 11th International Fly & Bait Casting Tournament in 1908.  The Tournament took place on the waters of the Olympic Swimming Tank on 9th July at the recently erected 'Great Stadium', built by the Hammersmith builder George Wimpey and later known as White City Stadium.  It was one of two official warm-up events for the 1908 Summer Olympics which opened days later.

In Arcadia nothing cheers one up more than passing an old stadium in the van and stopping to have a snoop about, admiring the grandeur of the structure, listening for the echo of voices that still seem to hang in the barrel roof.  White City was aptly named the Great Stadium, it was opened on 27th April 1908 by King Edward VII and had a rich and varied history before being sadly demolished in 1985.  But on 9th July 1908 it belonged to the entrants of all of the Fly and Bait Casting Events, to one Mr. R.W Wellman and the two competitors who beat him into third place.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fishing with Mr. Richardson

All was lost on the last day of the season as the hours finished appropriately in a blank in the company of Mr. J. Richardson.  Snatches of conversation were all that was caught on a remorseless easterly wind.  Not even a mounted sprat wobbled in the margins on an early glass rod from Mr. Ogden Smith's could tempt a Jack.  Soon the talk turned to the properties of Elgood's Double Swan, A1 roadside cafeterias serving good bubble and squeak, forthcoming exhibitions of linocuts and the folly of getting 'cut out' of one's winter thermal canvas lining too early in the year.