Lone Star State Visitors

Cementing Texas’ reputation as ‘the friendly state’, Paige Henderson and Karen Preece paid us a visit last Saturday. Old hands at sightseeing in the UK and veteran antique market enthusiasts, they were delighted to find Charing Cross Collectors Market in the heart of London. Both left with special souvenirs of their visit: Paige, on the left, found a Victorian silver spoon while Karen picked up its Georgian vintage counterpart. “We’ll definitely be coming back and we’ll bring our husbands next time – they’ll love it!”

A Parting Gift from Dear Old England

Dating from the mid-nineteenth century, these buttons form part of the uniform worn by prisoners sentenced to transportation to Australia or Tasmania. The buttons and uniform remained property of the Crown but one can only imagine how rigorously that was observed on the other side of the world. In any case, new arrivals quickly found that they could be used as currency in their own right since buttons made in the colony were very plain in comparison. The smaller button sewn onto the black silk rosette formed part of a bicorn hat and the uniform as a whole was cleverly designed to allow prisoners to get dressed and undressed while still bound in chains joined at the wrist and ankle.

Starting them young

Like this young family, many passers by find us by happy accident and are always amazed by the variety and interest of what our dealers have on offer. No doubt these two budding collectors pestered their parents to visit the market before passing out with exhaustion when faced with so many collectable coins, stamps, postcards, antiques and military items. See you again soon!

Buttoned up generation who wouldn’t back down

Hand-made silk buttons are ten a penny if you know where to look – even ones that are over a hundred years old like this one.  But few are a subtle reminder of a movement which galvanised women across Britain in a bid to win the right to vote.  A Venus symbol picked out in the suffragette colours of purple, white and green, this was one Edwardian woman’s show of support for Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union.  The more moderate suffragists fought under a different organisation and a different flag so this suggests real conviction on the part of whoever wore it.

‘Deeds not words’ was the suffragettes’ motto – chaining themselves to railings, disrupting meetings, breaking windows and, of course, most famously, Emily Davison throwing herself under the king’s horse at the Derby in 1913.  A measure of their success is that when we think of the women’s movement of the time it is images of their direct action which come to mind first rather than letters to the Times, petitions or public meetings. But all gestures play their part, even this small button – a discreet memento of a fascinating battle in the struggle for gender equality, not to mention a perfect complement to International Women’s Day 2019!

South Hailsville School Agate Road, Canning Town, London – September 1940

Michael and James Burroughs from ‘Anything Military’ are exhibiting a bronze hand bell from Agate Road School at the market this week. Measuring approximately 10cmx10cm

The dockside school suffered the biggest single loss of life in the Docklands when over 600 children died in the bombing of the docks in September 1940. This event was kept out of the news for 70 years because,at the time, it was decided not to evacuate the dockside community of Silvertown and North Woolwich as it was decided that it would be bad for morale. Evacuation was eventually carried out in secret after this tragic event.