Sunday, 30 June 2013


A photograph kindly taken by my good friend Stephen Jones OBE of Kingfisheries, a working fishing tackle shop in the resort of Margate, which has been trading for over 70 years.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

We Always Dress Like That

Found recently a pair of Cording's Wading Trousers as seen in yesterday's artwork.  Worn with wading socks and boots and bearing the label 'By Appointment to His Majesty the King & H.R.H The Prince of Wales.  - J.C. Cording & Co 35 St. James Street & 19 Piccadilly - Trademark Protection - Estd 1839.'

Friday, 28 June 2013

Folk Art

Found beneath an awning in the rain a couple of Kempton's ago, a piece of Folk Art from the Holiday Cottage Decoration Movement dating to the Post-War Period, comprising of a hero clad in a full set of Cordings Oilskins and framed within a gold paper mount and a white painted frame.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Bambridge & Co. Windsor Bridge, Eton

Once upon a time in Arcadia and as far back as the Year of Arcadia Georgio 1790, ladies and gentlemen after 'Hook Baits of All Kinds in Season' or those looking for a 'Fishing Punt to Hire' could make their way to Bambridge & Co at Windsor Bridge on the River Thames at Eton.  There, Mr. Bambridge sold 'Fishing Rods and Tackle of Every Description at Popular Prices'.  At busy times he was even 'open' on Sunday Mornings from 09:30am until Midday.

Occasionally a piece of tackle from Bambridge's surfaces, I once had a Nottingham Reel, the central rose of which was engraved with the Bambridge legend but due to a large unpaid gentles bill I was forced to sell it to another dealer.  In order to prevent such things occurring in the near future you are summoned to my stall at Spitalfields Antiques Market, Commerical Street in the district of London known as E.1. on Thursdays only between the hours of 8am and 3pm, a place where I sell 'Fishing Rods and Tackle of Every Description at Popular Prices', and where, if you buy me a cup of tea, I can tell you where there are still punts for hire on the Thames and even where you may obtain live bait in the winter.   Thank-you.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Bought recently from another dealer a tin plate button badge dating to the Year Arcadia Jubilee and originally given away by Girls-Behind-the-Counter at branches of Woolworths in Subtopia.   Now for sale as a work of art along with other delights in the corner of my website known as 'Just in, Sir!'

Monday, 24 June 2013

Lost and Found

Found on the doormat this morning, a parcel containing a book posted to me by the writer and broadcaster Jude Rogers , 'The Young Angler's Companion' by the late Clive Gammon, published in 1962 by Souvenir Press.  Jude found the book in an attic where it had not seen the light of day for over three decades.  After several scrambled messages between us it turned out the book was not part of a larger hoard.  It arrived with the note, 'A decent substitute for tackle, I hope'.  In truth, there is no substitute for Clive Gammon, nor for the kindness of people who find things in attics.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Old Red Eye is Back

Caught yesterday as a nearby church clock struck four and clouds thickened over the fields, a tench for all seasons.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Life on Mars Pt ii

Up early and off in the van to the Other Side of Dystopia to spend the Longest Day fishing for tench in ponds.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

At Bookstalls and Enquiry Offices

Once upon a time in Arcadia, in the year 1934 to be precise, ladies and gentlemen wishing to go Fishing in the South could call in at their nearest bookstall or enquiry office and pick up a copy of 'Fishing in the South' by J.W.G. Tomkin which was published by The Southern Railway Company.  This included a list of articles by Eric Marshall-Hardy, Arthur F. Bell and Tomkin himself.  It also covered the fishing stations of the south in some detail.  For instance it said of Lodge Pond in Farnham, the place where Chapman Pincher recorded an extraordinary catch of carp in 1938, 'The pond is situated on the road between Bordon and Farnham, and is approximately 3 miles from Farnham, from where 'buses pass the pond every half hour.   The rights are leased by the Farnham Angling Society.  Fish to be caught include Roach, Rudd, Carp, Perch, Tench and Pike, and the water has recently been re-stocked with 500 Carp averaging 5lb in weight, besides 5,000 Roach and Tench.  The principal baits are worms, gentles, bread paste and cheese paste.'   It said of The Metropolitan Water Board Reservoirs at Molesey, Hampton and Staines, 'To the complete stranger it is a chancy business, but it is well worth a trial if a ticket can be procured.  I would advise you to go if you have an opportunity and try your luck.  If you strike good conditions and a good spot you can go on catching specimen fish one after the other, though, alternatively, you can sit all day without a knock.  In any case, you pay no money and you take your choice'.

Should you be a lady or a gentleman wishing to go Fishing in the South in this, the opening week of the new coarse season, you are invited to ask your local bookstall or enquiry office for directions to Commercial Street in the district of London known as E.1 where, on Thursdays only between the hours of 8am and 3pm, you will find my stall in Spitalfields Antiques Market where I sell Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul and where also I always carry a good number of original fishing books including a perennial copy of 'Fishing in the South'.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Fishing in Ponds

For all those Fishing in Ponds and on other bodies of water, a small collection of Old Friends for a New Season has been listed for sale on my website and which you may find here.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Throughout the district known as S.W.1, on Crimea Corner, in the parlour bar of The Queen's Head and across the Heath, trumpets sound in praise of all those who made the journey to Farlow's London Showroom at No. 9 Pall Mall on Wednesday last, where my stall selling Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul *APPEARED*.  Your presence was gracious and most welcome.  I am pleased to say that at the behest of the Manager of the Shop, Mr. Max Sardi, I have been invited back and so the trestle shall be set again and the velvet laid on Tuesday 17th September.  A Paper Bag for You with all of the details of the day will be printed shortly and will thereafter be in circulation.  Until then, holdfast my dear friends, holdfast!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Other Worldly

Found in the opening chapter entitled 'Colliers and Carp at Dawn' taken from John Hillaby's 'Within the Streams' (Harvey & Blythe London 1946), a description of a dawn fit for June 16th and every midsummer morning to come:

'Walton Hall at four o'clock in the morning was other worldly.

When the mists drifted off the water and it was light enough to see, huge beds of surface weeds crinkled and popped as myriads of air bubbles rose and burst.  Perhaps the dank airs of the night sustain the gasses from the vegetation; it may be that certain water plants open out with the sun; I don't know. To-day, when my mind travels back to the large sheets of water fished in the past, I can hear the soft patter and crackle of weeds half hidden in the mist.

There was the sound of the fish too, and that was a wonderful noise.  Now and again there would be a heavy splosh as a roach porpoised out of the water in a channel between the weeds.  Rings appeared almost everywhere, from little dimples on the surface to full sized rises.  Carp made a kissing sound;  nothing else describes it and, as the light grew stronger, the big ones could be seen - rolling, lazy-looking brutes which floundered about among the lily pads and scared the preening waterhens.

Mist, fish, the metallic call of water birds and prospect of a day with a rod was a splendid and never-to-be-forgotten pleasure.  

At dawn a few miners would arrive.

Many of them came straight from the pits, unwashed and tired.  They stretched out work-stiffened limbs, bent over the banks on their bellies and splashed the cool water into their eyes until it ran down their faces, making chalky channels in the grime.  They loved the place too, and many of them were excellent fishermen.

Their tackle was poor, worse than the winter roach men of Huttons Ambo, but they fished in the fine-and-far-off style with a curious jerky back cast which sent their porcupine quill floats far out into the water, fastened to the cast at the base only.  Bread was the bait and food of fish and man.'

Friday, 14 June 2013

Arcadia 78 Orchestra

Arriving by boat and by road this morning after a long journey from Cornwalia a life-saving parcel from the magnificent Stephen Parker the Leader of the Arcadia 78 Orchestra containing a collection of the most splendid Freerange Radio Hour which broadcasts sporadically to Penryn, Falmouth and other parts of Arcadia.  In the parcel also, a bulb of fresh garlic dug up from his garden, which is promptly nailed to the front door to keep the devils away.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Percy Wadham's Specialities, Newport, Isle of Wight

Once upon a time in Arcadia, ladies and gentlemen in the early summer might take the ferry across The Solent and seek adventure on the Isle of Wight.  There, they could marvel at the delights on offer at Percy Wadham's Specialities in the town of Newport.  Wadham was famous for his fishing tackle designs many of which were rendered in celluloid by local man Alfred Barnes upon whom Wadham bestowed the gift of a pair of his 'New Seat Boxes' in the year 1930.  These sold at auction five years ago and myself and another gentleman were underbidders at £1000, a failure of nerve and lack of faith which I have regretted ever since.

Should you be a lady or gentlemen abroad on the streets of London in this the early summer of the year of Our Lord and Other Regrets 2013, do not be glum, for today is Thursday and you may visit me at my stall in Spitalfields Antiques Market, Commercial Street in the district of London known as E.1, where I sell Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul, including a number of items in celluloid and where also, all regrets are drowned in gallons of tea.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Arcadia Expects

Arcadia expects every lady and gentleman to do their duty and pay me a visit when my stall selling Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul  *SHALL APPEAR* between the hours of 9am and 6pm tomorrow at Farlows London Showroom, No. 9 Pall Mall in the district of London known as S.W.1.

Monday, 10 June 2013

From Further Under Pall Mall

From further Under Pall Mall, original printing blocks used to illustrate Farlow's Catalogues of Fishing Tackle during the early 20th Century and a medal from the Casting Club of France dated 1914.  I will have a number of doubles of my own Farlow's Catalogues for sale on Wednesday.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Schliemann's Room

Found on the page of the Farlows Shop Reference Book of 1929 which featured Furnished Winders and a list of Floats the following note in the hand which appears throughout, 'Floats - Schliemann  10/4/30 - (9 Varieties), Prices in drawer'.  Mr. Schliemann crops up again later in the book as a supplier of 'Gags, baiting needles & disgorgers' and is placed at 55 Talbot Road in the district of London known as W.2.  Nothing else is known about the mysterious Mr. Schliemann nor about his origins as a floatmaker or forger of gags.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Via Edwardia Arcadia

A pot of tea drunk trawlerman style and then off in the van through Saturday morning West End streets via the era Edwardia Arcadia to deliver glazed cabinets and trunks with which to build my stall that *SHALL APPEAR* at Farlows London Showroom, No. 9 Pall Mall on Wednesday coming.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Life on Mars

Found in the pages of a book purchased on Sunday last a photograph of an unidentified angler and a barbel on the banks of The Royalty in the period known as Early Bowie.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

From Under Pall Mall

Found yesterday Under Pall Mall amongst the Farlows Shop Archive, scrupulously kept by the shop's Manager of Fishing Mr. Max Sardi, two old reference books used by former Farlows' men, the 1904 Salmon Flies book, full of Edwardian patterns and the 1929 Shop Reference Book, an annotated 1929 Farlows Catalogue complete with the piece of string from which it hung behind the counter.   Next Wednesday I shall be stalling out in Farlows between the hours of 9am and 6pm and tea will be drunk Trawlerman Style in honour of all those who have served in the shop and continue to do so.  You are invited to join us.