PHOTO GALLERY: Sutton Mill bygones treasures set to go up for auction

PUBLISHED: 19:09 10 September 2012 | UPDATED: 19:51 10 September 2012

Auction at Sutton Windmill. A collection of pharmacy packaging.

Auction at Sutton Windmill. A collection of pharmacy packaging. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY


Bidders from as far afield as Australia are expected to snap up a highly-unusual collection of bygones - including man, lion, and kingfisher traps, a stuffed coypu, and the contents of a 19th-century pharmacy - which start going under the hammer in north Norfolk tomorrow morning.

More than 1,000 everyday domestic and work-place artefacts, which once made up the museum contents of Sutton Mill, are set to be sold by auctioneers TW Gaze at the mill tomorrow and on Wednesday.

Carl Willows, senior valuer with Gaze’s, said there was keen international interest from museums and serious collectors with the bulk of the pharmacy fittings and contents expected to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000.

The pharmacy is the pride of the collection and is due to be sold in several lots tomorrow. Shipped over from the Isle of Wight some 20 years ago, it is stocked with potions, tinctures and powders in labelled jars and mahogany drawers. Its many other features included ear trumpets, an early contraceptive, chilblain cures, chocolate worm cakes and “Dr Fell’s lung tablets for wintry days.”

The contents of a tobacco shop and bygone veterinary items are also expected to attract widespread interest and the sale is due to end on Wednesday with the grisly collection of traps.

Lots were displayed for viewing today in the 18th-century mill and its outbuildings and other items covered the seven ages of man, from an 1891 christening robe and “breast exhauster” to coffin handles and funeral shrouds.

The workaday paraphernalia of past Broads life was represented in a vast range of eel forks and baskets, water and corn scoops, hay knives, presses, hooks, dippers and hoes.

One-time luxuries, such as early TV and radio sets, coach-built prams, ladies’ corsets and bottled beers, sat cheek-by-jowl with household innovations including a tinware lark roaster, an 1897 raisin seeder and an Edwardian bellow vacuum and carpet beater.

The collection was amassed over 40 years by Chris Nunn, who bought the mill in 1975. In its heyday it attracted 20,000 visitors a year to view the fascinating assortment of items which reflected changing social history over more than a century and a half.

Mr Nunn sold to East Sussex-based Yesterday’s World in 2006. The firm, which has an historical tourism attraction on Yarmouth’s Marine Parade, closed the mill in 2008, saying that it was off the tourist trail and “unviable”.

Speaking today Mr Willows said he had received a few calls from people concerned about items they had donated to the museum, intending them to stay in the mill. These were being dealt with individually but he said the situation was confused as Yesterday’s World had taken some items for display at its Yarmouth attraction.

The future of the mill is unknown. No-one from Yesterday’s World was available for comment.

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