Buy­ing sal­vage

The End of the World Re­claimed Cen­tre is a trea­sure trove of unique sal­vaged items, and the per­fect place to find un­touched gems brim­ming with his­tory and char­ac­ter

Period Living - - Contents - Words Karen Bray | Pho­to­graphs Polly Eltes

Dis­cover a trea­sure trove at The End of the World Re­claimed Cen­tre

Gary Daw­son, owner of The End of the World Re­claimed Cen­tre in the pic­turesque Chilterns, near Ayles­bury, Buck­ing­hamshire, was des­tined to be­come a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and run his own busi­ness. He made his first deal at the ten­der age of 14 and has been buy­ing and sell­ing ever since. ‘I was in a café when I over­heard two Ir­ish­men talk­ing,’ re­calls Gary of his lifede­ter­min­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. ‘They said they needed to buy a car as they had a job to start straight away. I had seen a Mor­ris Trav­eller car for sale on the es­tate where I lived, so I bought it and sold it to them, mak­ing a profit of £40, which was a lot of money in those days. That was over 50 years ago and I haven’t stopped buy­ing and sell­ing since.’

Back in 2005, Gary was run­ning a pub and res­tau­rant in Wen­dover, but after six years in the hospi­tal­ity trade he needed a change of life­style so closed the pub and re­opened it as a recla­ma­tion cen­tre and sal­vage yard. ‘It was the right de­ci­sion,’ he says, ‘as we haven’t stopped trad­ing since. We moved the yard and its con­tents in 2017 to a much larger site in As­ton Clin­ton.

Hav­ing also run a va­ri­ety of fur­ni­ture shops in the area, Gary is some­thing of an ex­pert when it comes to ar­chi­tec­ture and an­tiques, and he loves dis­cov­er­ing un­usual arte­facts. The yard is a trea­sure trove, packed full of tra­di­tional build­ing ma­te­ri­als, dec­o­ra­tive ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures, and an­tique and vin­tage fur­ni­ture sourced from all over the UK.

The yard, which he runs with the help of col­leagues Jil­lie and Kelly, doesn’t spe­cialise in any­thing in par­tic­u­lar as their aim is to source the most un­usual items and ob­jects they can find at the best prices they can achieve, as well as buy good qual­ity, orig­i­nal ev­ery­day pieces. ‘We carry a vast range of stock, much of which you will find in most sal­vage yards, such as in­te­rior and ex­te­rior doors, fire­places, grates, beams, floor­boards, light­ing, ➤

ra­di­a­tors and build­ing ma­te­ri­als, as well as more un­usual items that you will not find any­where else,’ says Gary. ‘I will buy and sell any­thing that has some age, some char­ac­ter, and is orig­i­nal and pleas­ing to the eye.’

‘The most un­usual artefact I ever came across was a slip­per bath that re­put­edly be­longed to Win­ston Churchill’s fam­ily, so I as­sume that Churchill him­self bathed in it,’ says Gary. ‘How­ever, of all the items we have on of­fer, I think the most sought after are the 17th- and 18th-cen­tury oak and pine doors. They can add real char­ac­ter and orig­i­nal­ity to any build­ing, es­pe­cially if they have the orig­i­nal fin­ish with the wear and de­fects that you would ex­pect from an item that has been used for 200 years.’

While ex­plor­ing the vast ar­ray of items in the yard, Gary points out one piece that he is par­tic­u­larly pleased with. ‘This is my favourite item that we have for sale at the mo­ment,’ he ex­plains. ‘It’s a very rare cast-iron statue of Cupid on a black cast plinth, dat­ing from circa 1870, which was re­moved from a large stately home in Wind­sor. The white statue is hold­ing a bow and ar­row and he has a quiver full of ar­rows on his back. I have searched many an­tiques and sal­vage sites and can­not find a sim­i­lar item for sale any­where else. It would ➤

look fan­tas­tic in a court­yard as a stand­alone item. I have it up for sale for £1,250.’

Gary be­lieves pe­riod home­own­ers should buy re­claimed items be­cause it is the best way to find pieces that blend in with the orig­i­nal fea­tures of the house, pro­vid­ing both sat­is­fac­tion and plea­sure. ‘Sourc­ing orig­i­nal items for your home can also add value to the prop­erty if you come to sell it,’ he says. ‘We choose not to ren­o­vate the items we source as we find they are more de­sir­able in their orig­i­nal state. We pride our­selves in en­sur­ing the cus­tomer gets an authen­tic piece.’

Over re­cent years Gary has ex­panded the range of stock to in­clude more ar­chi­tec­tural sal­vage in or­der to re­flect the grow­ing in­ter­est in vin­tage and retro items. ‘We have a large range of in­ter­est­ing stock and of­fer a good, knowl­edge­able ser­vice – be­tween us we have over 40 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the an­tiques and sal­vage busi­ness. I like to think we have turned the yard into the per­fect place to find in­spi­ra­tion for a pe­riod home and gar­den.’

Above: A statue on a plinth, £250, takes cen­tre stage sur­rounded by drive­way gates, from £250; a pair of 1930s doors, £180; a large stone planter, c.1800, £380; Wind­sor street lamps, £150 each; and 1950s gro­cer’s crates, £12 eachRight: Se­lec­tion of rain­wa­ter hop­pers dat­ing from early Ge­or­gian up to Vic­to­rian times, from £80 to £400; a ca­st­iron man­hole cover, £80; and anti-slip paving blocks, £1.50 each

Above: In­side, the stock is piled high. Vin­tage Avery plat­form scale, c.1940, £225; in­dus­trial steel pi­geon hole units, £395 for the pair; lamps, £95 each; and a pair of match­ing up­hol­stered Re­gency din­ing chairs, £90Left: An­tique fur­ni­ture from the Ge­or­gian, Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian eras, in­clud­ing a large shop dis­play cab­i­net in glass and ma­hogany, £200Below: Su­perb pair of heavy dou­ble doors in ma­hogany, £800

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