Tuesday 31 December 2013

Shadows and Reflections

My year's 'Shadows and Reflections' are published today on Caught by the River.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

An Edwardian Christmas Day Roach

Bought recently an original postcard sent on December 25th in the year 1908 to J.L. Barnes Esq. the President of Clare & District Angling Society bearing the photograph of a roach next to a card recording it's capture, 'Clare & District Angling Society - Taken in the river Stour by Mr. Thomas Clark.  Dec 6th 1908 Roach.  Weight 1lb 9oz.'   On the back of the card the sender who one assumes might be Mr. Clark has written 'With best wishes for Xmas.  From a Member.'

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Milbourn's Tea Rooms, Hampton Court

Once upon a time on Christmas Eve in Hampton Court ladies and gentlemen went shopping for fishing tackle at Milbourn's Tea Rooms where live bait was also sold.

Monday 23 December 2013

H.V.C Johnstone, Egypt, 1914

Found recently a leather and pigskin fly wallet from Wm. Haynes & Son of 63 Patrick Street in Cork which was taken to Egypt in 1914 by its former owner H.V.C Johnstone.  The wallet is stamped in gilt with the shop's address and legend and contains a number of flies and casts as well as evidence of a few other visitors now deceased.

Saturday 21 December 2013

At the Sign of the Crow

On this, the shortest day of the year you are invited to pour yourself a glass of port or a finger or two of gin and lose yourself in a tale I have written for midwinter entitled 'At the Sign of the Crow' and which you may find published on the blog known as Toast Travels.

Friday 20 December 2013

C. Farlow & Co. of Charles St. St. James & The Strand

For immediate sale to Edwardians-at-Large, a 2 1/4" C. Farlow & Co. Brass and Alloy Trout Reel in its original red velvet lined block leather case.  The reel is engraved in a tight italicised script with the double address of 10 Charles St. St. James and 191 Strand whilst the hand stitched block leather case is stamped with similar.  Farlows acquired the premises at 10 Charles Street in 1907 which suggests this reel was purchased not long after that by its owner who lived at Penham Hall near Colchester, details of whom and which can be found inscribed in indian ink on the inner flap of the case.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Standard Works

Once upon a time in Arcadia from the year 1866, when work on it started, vast quantities of fishing tackle would be despatched all over the country at Christmas time from the Allcocks Factory in Clive Road, Redditch, known to all as Standard Works.   The giant factory employed over 400 people from Redditch and the surrounding towns and exported its wares to all corners of the globe.   After a devastating fire on the night of 7th November 1966 The Standard Works was gradually abandoned by the firm and with it went the name of Allcocks, amalgamated with other local firms and consumed by overseas concerns.

It is customary at Christmas time for me to remember all those who worked at The Standard Works and all of the other lost British fishing tackle factories by selling the items they made on my stall in Spitalfields Antiques Market which is open on Thursdays only between 8am and 3pm and acts as a reliquary for tackle rescued from the great fire of time.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Egg-Shaped and Bound

To be found egg-shaped and bound in the section of my website entitled 'Just in, Sir!' a pair of Allcocks Cork Floats each over one hundred years old and bearing the scars of many a fight.

Monday 16 December 2013

A Gentleman's Recreation

Bought at auction some months ago and kept for the consideration of the curious a Campaign Mirror sold originally by J. Bernard & Son of 45 Jermyn Street 'Fishing Tackle Manufacturers to H.M. the King'.   Now for re-sale in the corner of my website known to daily visitors as 'Just in, Sir!'.

Sunday 15 December 2013


Bought recently and for sale to those who perform the Last Rites a between-the-wars priest from Bernard and Sons at their last known address of 45 Pall Mall in the district of London S.W.1.

Saturday 14 December 2013

The Social Christmas Market - Today

This afternoon from midday myself and the Empress will be stalling out in a modest manner alongside The Caught by the River Bookshop In A Suitcase and Frank Phantom & his 7" Inch Modernist Records in Boxes upstairs at The Social at No. 5 Little Portland Street as part of their Christmas Market.   I will have a range of old print with me for sale including, in honour of next year's Port Eliot Festival Bill having just been announced, the last of the letterpress posters from 2012 and the remaining Pike for the Soul Christmas Cards.  There will be hot wine and pale ale on tap, small pies by Square Pie and special guests singing aloud in the basement.   Should you be in vicinity it would be considered rude not to drop in.

Friday 13 December 2013

Allcocks Christmas Box

For immediate sale in the goods in/goods out section of my website known locally as 'Just in, Sir!' an original Allcocks Counter Box dating to 1950 and containing ten unmounted 'silver' Devon Minnows each stamped 'Made in England' on the fins.  The box was originally intended for Wholesale Only and the design was patented by E.S. & A. Robinson of Bristol under the British Patent No. 413380.   It bears the Allcocks legend 'The Sign of Quality' alongside the trademark Stag emblem.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Soul Agent in London

Once upon a time in Arcadia in the Year of Our Lord and Other Uncertainties 1880, ladies and gentlemen of adventure in search of tackle by the new makers Hardy Bros. of Alnwick from far away in the Northumbria's would call upon only one company that being 'The Military Equipment Stores and Tortoise Tent Company' of 61 Pall Mall and 7 Waterloo Place London S.W as they alone were the sole agents in all of London for the specialities of Messrs. Hardy.

Today in the Year of Our Lord and Remaining Uncertainties 2013 I am saddened to report it has been well over a century since The Military Equipment Stores and Tortoise Tent Company traded, as their business was swallowed up by Hardy Brothers themselves in the 1890's.  Original tackle from the Northumbria's, by Hardy and other makers is still carried by a small number of agents in London of which I am one.  I can be found on Thursdays only by my stall at Spitalfields Antiques Market on Commercial Street in the district known as E.1, where I trade in memory of The Military Equipment Stores and Tortoise Tent Company and sell Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul between the hours of 8am and 3pm.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Oranges and Lemons

Across Arcadia tall jugs of Victory Gin and dirty glasses of porter are raised to all those courageous souls who came to find themselves haunted last night in the upstairs room of the Board of Guardians House on the site of the former St. Clements Hospital.  It is hoped that all got home safely to their beds through the fog.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

The Ice House and Other Stories

Tonight in the company of my poet brother Mr. Will Burns, amongst other hauntings, I shall be reading a ghost story called 'The Ice House' *aloud* in the semi-derelict elegance of the Board of Guardians Room upstairs in The John Denham Building on the former site of Bow Workhouse and St. Clements Hospital as part of the Winter Shuffle Festival.   There will be a field kitchen in the grounds serving stews, beer and hot wine.   Mile End Underground Railway Station is but a short walk away and there are some tickets remaining which you may buy for the price of a cheap life here.  

Monday 9 December 2013

Voblex The Rubber Head

For immediate sale in the recently discovered corner of my website which labours under the moniker 'Just in, Sir', a counter box from the other side of Hell's Ditch containing seven Voblex Spinners and a pop-up portrait of an alien predator.  Once upon a time when you never had it so good boxes such as these would have sat alongside the counter box for Ondex in fishing tackle shops in every London suburb.

Saturday 7 December 2013

The Killing Spoon

For immediate sale in the neglected corner of my website known as 'Just in, Sir!' a counter box from Paris containing eight Ondex spoons and a pop-up portrait of a 1960's pike.  Once upon a time counter boxes such as these would have graced the counters of fishing tackle shops across the country and in particular at Christmas time.

Friday 6 December 2013

A Pike for the Soul

To be found for immediate sale 'Under the Counter' bundles of five A Pike for the Soul Christmas Cards executed in printed letterpress by the master of ink Martin Clark and the steady hand of Anneliese Appleby at Tilley Printing.

Thursday 5 December 2013

For All Parts of the World

Once upon a time in Arcadia in the era Victoria Arcadia ladies and gentlemen in All Parts of the World in search of High Class Fishing Rods and Tackle would take the carriage to Kingston-on-Thames and visit there the premises of John R. Richardson.

Should you be a lady or a gentleman in Any Part of the World in search of High Class Fishing Rods and Tackle today do not be tempted by the knock-down delights of The Devil's Window come instead to the district of London known as E.1. where on Thursdays only at Spitalfields Antiques Market on Commercial Street between the hours of 8am and 3pm  I sell Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul from my stall as I have done for the last nine years past.   I look forward to your good company.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

St. Nicholas' Feast

This morning across Arcadia London North, pewter mugs of market porter are raised in the direction of the good custodians of the most hospitable Farlows London Showroom and all those brothers of the angle, sisters who angle also, gentlemen in the company of their dogs, writers for the cause and serving officers with Her Majesty's forces who called by the glazed cabinets for a drop of December blood uptown yesterday.

Monday 2 December 2013

I Beg to Inform You

I beg to inform the Angling Fraternity and Sisters Who Angle Also that tomorrow Tuesday 3rd December in this the Year of Our Lord and Other Decembers 2013 in celebration of The Movable Feast of St. Nicholas they can be supplied with every description of Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul all by Eminent London Makers, not to mention Imperial pewter mugs of London Porter and tea served in chipped Coronation cups when my stall *SHALL APPEAR* in Farlow's London Showroom at No. 9 Pall Mall between the hours of 9am and 5pm.   Regulars, strangers and visitors to S.W.1. are welcome.

Sunday 1 December 2013

Postcard from Arcadia

Bought yesterday in the bar of Ludlow Racecourse an original postcard bearing the portrait of a gentleman dressed in his Sunday best in the company of a pike.