Tuesday 12 November 2013

The allure of the past

 I'm not sure what I feel about 
after my second visit at the weekend.

Who is buying the 
Denby and Woods Beryl Ware china
(aka Anglican china)
and ostrich feather dusters?
They aren't cheap here, but elevated to museum status
in their meticulously contrived vintage setting,
they exert a curious pull.
The fact that the same things can be found 
down the road in one of the many junk shops
at half the price means that people must be
 willing to pay through the nose for
the scent of the real open fires and dusty floorboards
if this oddity is to survive.

His window dressing is pitch perfect,

the attention to detail obsessive,

but the place has a haunted,

not a happy atmosphere.

It reminded me of Dennis Severs' house,
another time capsule experience
dominated by the personality of its creator.
I went in with my camera,
and wandered about in a slightly hypnotic state

but came out empty-handed into the chilly street 
with a feeling of relief.


  1. Thank you for your intriguing introduction to a very particular place. If I should ever again find myself in Hastings I will try to remember to at least peak into the window.

    Your photographs are mighty fine. xo

  2. Some of us endured an up-bringing in this sort of environment. In my case, it was in my gran's time-warped Victorian farmhouse (she was born in the late 1800s). Perhaps it takes age and experience to appreciate modern housekeeping equipment!

  3. Fascinating photographs, dear Lucille, but I see you have slipped in a picture of the stairs up to guest bedroom of my and my companion's delightful home - it must be from that time you stayed twenty years ago (so odd that we never saw you leave, my dear - did you slip out in the dead of night??). We were only saying the other day that it had been too long, and that we can't imagine what is keeping you from visiting. Come again soon - the turret room is waiting for you.

  4. You have a companion? A live-in friend? Still with us - I mean you? I don't remember meeting them. Busy in the wine cellar no doubt.

  5. Oh yes - this one is loyal to the core, so far.

  6. The images are terrific, the commentary entertaining.

  7. Interesting what you say about Denis Severs' house - I had very mixed feelings about it when I visited. And my unaccustomed urge to hoover, dust and polish with every modern convenience possible felt rather sacrilegious!

    1. I think the reverential air was oppressive. I didn't enjoy it.

  8. Heavens! Nothing would ever make me want to rush home and polish anything ! But the thunderbox didn't look inviting , at all , and undoubtedly had a roll of crackly loo paper nearby . ( Do you think there's a small firm somewhere that still makes Bronco for gentlemens' clubs ? )
    I much prefer wandering around playing "If I lived here" in Kettles Yard .

  9. Love the post, love the comments! Have you ever been to an Anthropologie store? I have a similar wierded-out sensation when I leave the Edinburgh one...