In the days after the last war when old houses were being broken up into flats, shabby old family places were emptied of their contents and people moved into smaller more manageable houses. There were lots of auctions run by the local auctioneers, some of whom were more used to selling farms and livestock than the domestic contents They were held in old marquees with village hall chairs and roneo'd catalogues that were often incomplete and certainly did not give details of each item to be sold. You had to make up your own mind as to the quality, age and condition, so view-day was essential if you wanted to know what you were buying. Much had come out of store after being shut away during the war and there was a huge variety of Victorian furnishings, often shabby and damaged. I was furnishing a big old house on a very low budget to accomodate my growing family and attended many sales in the Essex, Cambridge area with very good results. Small items sold for a lot of money but the big old lumps were almost given away and I made the most of this. I had a Volvo shooting brake and was able to transport everything myself, would search the pantries, kitchen, servants rooms, stables for the bargains which had often been stored there for years as old fashioned and surplus and were often unlisted at the end of the sale under a heading 'contents of the....'. tool sheds, lamp sheds often had interesting bits waiting to be re-discovered!
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