Monday 31 January 2011

Goodbye January, Month of Repair

In Arcadia as in other places it is the last day of January, the end of a month of repairs and of repair.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Wimbledon Car Boot Sale

A dark, cold but dry morning at a Wimbledon Car Boot Sale full of house clearance vans but empty of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul.  All I managed to buy was my ticket in and a cup of tea.  The small consolation of a bag of reels picked up after a call on the way home that included a 2 1/2 inch J.W Young Pattern No. 1A Trout Fly Reel made for Mr. Herbert Hatton's establishment in Hereford.

Friday 28 January 2011


A day of gun metal cold at Spitalfields yesterday but spirits were warmed by good conversation and the contents of a box found in a loft in a house in the South of London.  Kindly brought to the stall for me to purchase the box held a collection of well used 'user' reels from the workshops of Allcock and J.W. Young of Redditch and Strikeright of Hounslow.  Some of them are pictured here, a 1955 Allcock Aerial, a 1960 Trudex and a 1950's Featherflo.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Mr. Hunt's Belongings

The first find of the day at Kempton yesterday was what looked like a regulation pine rod box full of ill fitting rod butts and lost tip sections.  Although the box did contain a fine Milwards 3 piece complete with a transfer map of India on the butt, and a Hardy Ayton, its real value was not revealed until after I had paid for the box and the lid was produced from inside the van.  It was covered in labels and hand painted instructions spelling out the history of the box and its contents.  It belonged to a Mr. Hunt who paid for it be shipped to from Bombay to England in the hold of an unknown vessel.  It arrived safely and its journey continued yesterday as it returned back from Kempton with me.

Tuesday 25 January 2011


Van envy, waiting to find Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul at Kempton.  A debt of a gallon of tea is owed to the generous Paul and Bryony for giving me a lift door to door whilst the crate is still being patched up.

Monday 24 January 2011

Festival of Britain International Angling Contest Medallion

On Saturday August 25th 1951 the Festival of Britain International Angling Contest took place on the River Thames at Reading.  The contest comprised of 600 anglers invited from 48 teams from across Europe ranging from the Derby Railway Institute Angling Club to the German Verband Deutscher Sportfischer e. V.   The prizes for the contest consisted of silver cups for the winning team and runners up and a gold medal for the individual winner and a voucher for fishing tackle from Sowerbutts of Commercial Street London for the individual runner-up.

The contest was a riotous affair preceded by a banquet on the eve of the match in which local singer Kathleen Salisbury led the competitors in a mass rendition of Old Father Thames after which one competitor from Belgium was unable to fish after falling from her dining table whilst dancing.  Although on the day itself there were fewer winners than losers, each competitor received a complimentary tin of biscuits from the town's various and famed biscuit factories, and a bronzed Festival of Britain Medallion.  I obtained the example shown here last week from a fellow dealer in Reading.  There was no provenance with it to say to which competitor it was awarded and it has lost some of its bronzing but it is nonetheless splendid.  The dealer would not tell me what had happened to the accompanying tin of biscuits.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Lost Without the Van

At a loss without the van and the temptation of Wimbledon Car Boot Sale on a Saturday morning.  Among the consolations the opportunity to stay in, have another cup of tea and read a couple of the finds from Thursday at Spitalfields, Henry Williamson's 'Salar the Salmon' and Ian Niall's 'Fresh Woods'.

Friday 21 January 2011

Found at Spitalfields

Found at Spitalfields yesterday, the contents of a furtively offered cotton bank bag, a 3" Farlows 'Grenaby' fly reel.  According to the Farlow's catalogue of the time the Grenaby, which dates to the 1930's,  was made at their 'own works'.  It was designed and built in duralumin with brass parts and a steel check.  This example is stamped with a 5 which suggests it may have been made at another workshop other than Farlow's, at Youngs of Redditch or Reuben Heaton's or even possibly by the maker Walter Dingley who used numbering to identify his work, but usually in conjunction with a 'D'.  The reel itself is in good condition with one defect, it has a foot that has seen better days.  But as anyone who is in possession of a foot that has seen better days will tell you, sometimes it is preferable for one's soul and character to accept this without complaint.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Piscator and Fitch meet Andrews of Arcadia Uptown

In lieu of a stall and for all those of you lost without vintage fishing tackle for the soul on a Thursday a cartoon by the artist of Mr. Pete Fowler which can be seen exclusively at  

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Post War British Fishing Reels for the Soul

Lost to many who think only of Allcocks or Youngs when it comes to Post War British Fishing Reels are a number of branded reels that I found recently all of which looked rather neglected and in need of a buyer.  Today, all of them are considered cheap, almost throwaway reels but this does not reflect their true value.  They represent a period when a number of small but visionary fishing tackle manufacturing companies were opening up and employing skilled craftsmen and techniques.  Their reels were revolutionary in terms of design and materials and the better of them are still excellent users even sixty years on.  In a time when car boot sales are littered with mass produced imported fishing reels which genuinely answer to the name cheap you can do no better than to hunt out the reels that were Made in Britain when not just austerity measures but rationing was still in force.  To redeem your coupon go to the 'Just in, Sir' room on my website  

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Mr. Hodges' Patent Nibbler

Found whilst putting together a small collection of early bite indicators and electronica the very rare Hodges' Patent Nibbler, a bite indicator made from clear plastic by the Hodgayton Company of Old Rossington, Doncaster in the northern English county of Yorkshire.  They are for sale along with a selection of other such post war delights which can be viewed in the 'Just in, Sir' room at

Monday 17 January 2011

Old Town Evening Star!

For all those lost when it comes to something to read the 4th edition of that organ of sartorial venerability the Old Town Evening Star has just been published.  It includes a tribute to the greatest corduroy trouser in the world the Dreadnought, poetry by Billy Childish, a review of East End Public Houses by the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life, a selection of fine advertisements for people you can trust and the debut in print of 'Bible John' a words and linocut collaboration between myself and the artist John Richardson.  I will have copies to give away when I am next at Spitalfields Antiques Market on Thursday 27th January.  In the meantime I will also be leaving some in the bar of The Southampton Arms public house on Highgate Road when I next pop in for a half of mild.