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
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