Two find some ‘treasure’

Not real treasure, obviously! But perhaps the next best thing. During the last heatwave we were struggling for somewhere cooler to go and hit on GB Antiques at Lancaster, which is a vast indoor space stuffed with antiques, collectables and general vintage clobber. It was a good choice; not ‘cool’ perhaps but it was at least out of the relentless sun and the open spaces meant it felt ventilated. And the huge collection of goodies is always great to browse round.

This time we weren’t really looking for anything in particular, but I came away with a few bits of unexpected ‘treasure’. One was a tiny Toby jug, which was very cute but cracked, so it had been reduced to just £5. At that price it’s perfect for keeping pens in and now has pride of place on our old desk in the dining room.

And just as we were heading for the exit, I came across these pretty leaf-shaped bowls which are Carnival glass – a kind of iridescent glass in lovely shades of blue, green or orange that dates from around the 1950s and was mostly made in America. My Mum had a rose bowl in the blue colourway which she was really fond of. Sadly we didn’t manage to rescue it when her house was sold and I’ve always regretted it, and never been able to find a replacement. So it was lovely to stumble across these dishes, which are prettier and more iridescent than the photo makes them look and light up beautifully under a lamp. Even better, they were priced at a slightly staggering £2 each, so I bought four!

A few days later we discovered that the owner of the business, Allan Blackburn, had died the day before we went. The Westmorland Gazette ran a fascinating obituary about this local personality who was related to John Logie Baird and worked in a Lloyd Loom furniture factory. Apparently he bought the site, which used to be the Hornsea Pottery works, in 1990 and opened a Sunday antiques market, which has since mushroomed into one of the country’s largest antiques and collectibles centres. The ‘GB’ in the name comes from his wife Gloria, whilst the fibre glass bull over the main door celebrates an occasion in 2003 when a bull escaped (probably from the nearby abattoir) and got into the store. Talk about bulls in china shops! The article doesn’t mention how much damage it did, but I’m quite glad I wasn’t visiting at the time…


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