Victorian Father as he is now known, lectured Art and Design in Manchester and London during the sixties, the heyday of collecting advertising. Always having an eye for a good piece of graphic design, he started picking up examples of advertising to accompany the bits and pieces of vintage cars that could be found dotted around the house. After settling down in Worcestershire in 1974, he started teaching at a local art college and became one of the principals, despite driving a back firing 1930's Austin hearse to work. 'I was too poor to have any toys when I was a child', he would exclaim as he left the local auction house with an old petrol pump globe under either arm.
Then in 1977 I turned up and after being inspired by the collections of random clutter from the illustrations in a Monty Mouse book, soon became interested in old things. I spent hours trying to recreate the scenes and became fascinated with trying to find the exact aqua bottle in one of the pictures. This soon led to bottle hunts along the canals that sported many dumps where the diggers had left the more common items on the surface, including the odd sign. Pretty soon I was collecting most things and the pair of us could often be seen at bottle shows and antique fairs around the country all grumpy from the early mornings.
Steve Burton & Eileen Byrne are a great help now and in the early days, stopping by occasionally and kindly giving me a few spare bits they had found. Lazing around the late Chris Gordon’s shop in Mosley was always entertaining, watching him and Hamilton shoot ‘Green Lady’ pictures with an air rifle out the back. What has to be said about the Mosley days is that the pair had an incredible knack for turning stuff up from their rich hunting ground and I am thankful to them for letting me see many great pieces.
I worked with Nicholas James Antiques during my A levels travelling around the UK fairs and could often be seen all grumpy from an early morning start or hung over from Nick’s excellent hospitality. Those were the days when the interior decorators were buying fifty signs at a time and my old Ford Escort would be struggling back from Wales with sparks coming off the exhaust. It was this time that the deadly duo of Steve Fuller and Fred Brumby really came into play. I could often be found driving back West along the M6 in a daze from seeing their spectacular collections and mulling over the good advice they gave.
University years saw the rise of internet and the levelling off of general collectable prices as the American market became saturated by UK goods and a worldwide price for collectables set. Collecting took a back seat for these years because of a complete lack of cash due to poor investments in more liquid assets. Post University led to the inevitable day where I had to get a proper job and Victorian Father retired to play with the cars. I am now helping run an international marketing company placing adverts, designing websites and writing promotional literature. So, sat behind a desk, the only thing I can do to help keep the spirit of collecting alive in me is to create this site, bringing collectors together and sharing the fun of the hobby.Regards, Alex Renshaw