Wednesday 7 August 2013

S. & E. G. Messeena, 94 Upper Clapton Road, London E5

Once upon a time in Arcadia in the Season 1932-33, ladies and gentlemen in search of fly-tying materials could take the London and North Eastern Railway to Clapton Station where only a few doors away at 94 Upper Clapton Road in the district of London known as E.5 they would find the premises of S. & E. G. Messeena who had traded in feathers and skins since 1865.

The Messeena price list of Season 1932-33 is a comprehensive list of all that was available for the lady or the gentleman to buy from a full range of hackles, white swan feathers, turkey tails, Indian crow (red) and Cock O' the Rock Feathers.  Amid the smell of camphor there were Best Chinese Eyes, Jay Tails (Whole), Hare's Ears and Monkey Fur, Condor and Peacock Quills, Silks, Tinsels, Tools and Sundries, Spirit Varnish, Roach Hooks and Skins.

Sadly,  Messeena closed its doors in E.5  a long time ago but the ghosts of delivery men from the docks can still be seen lingering in the shadows of a long summer's day on Upper Clapton Road and the smell of camphor can still be caught when the wind is blowing in the right direction.  However, if you are a lady or a gentleman abroad and in need of fly-tying materials do not fear, for on my stall at Spitalfields Antiques Market, on Commercial Street in the district of London known as E.1 on Thursday's only between the hours of 8am and 3pm I carry many of the original items that Messeena's and other tackle shops like it would have sold in the year 1932-33, exotica rescued from old fly-tying kits, with the obvious exception of some feathers which it is now illegal to sell.