Friday, 9 January 2009


Hello and happy new year!

We are back and busier than ever restoring stock for the shop, pictured is a great quantity of bronze window stays and latches that are complete (THIS IS A RARITY) and matching, theres enough to do a very sizeable house and should be on the web site by the end of the day.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A trip down memory lane.

As the title suggests, it was a trip into the past this week when Drew had the opportunity to view and buy items from his old comprehensive school, Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy. The old Llanrwst grammer school, is grade 1 listed and is being converted into the new doctors surgery and health centre.
A large quantity of good quality pitch pine doors, school desks and blackboards are now in stock with more to come in as the week progresses.
This was the third clearance in as many weeks, having also cleared a large Victorian house and a methodist church.
The church supplying us with over 20 Holophane lights, 10, 12 and 14", which have all been restored and are now on display in the shop - see website.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Lisa Wallis Trades Antiques for Animals

Today is Lisa's last day with the company, before she heads out to South Africa next week to study Meerkats. Following up her life long ambition and continuing with her previous work on animal behaviour with wolves and beavers. We wish Lisa all the best with her new career, and would like to thank her for her hard work and contributions to the company over the last 14 months. She will be missed, even if its just for her tea making ability, and fetching lunch on a thursday!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Showroom pics on beautiful Autumnal Day

Come and see us soon, and chances are the Showroom will have evolved again, with the never ending acquisition of new stock.

'This wondrous salvage yard'

'This wondrous salvage yard' was the conclusion of Fiona McBain, Editor of 'In the Sticks' Magazine, when she recently visited our showroom, to write an article about salvage in the home. Obviously we are over the moon, so here is some excerpts from her recent article.

In the Sticks Magazine (Edition 223)

The Art of Salvage in the Home By Fiona McBain

The last thing I bought for my house was a pair of deep red plant pots for which I paid a well-known DIY store £7.50 apiece.
They match my deep red cushions, bought from another high street chain, which in turn contrast nicely with my royal blue sofa, which came from, you guessed it, a national retail giant selling everything from widescreen tv’s to garden furniture.
As a whole, I think my house looks pretty good. The colours are creative but not over the top. It’s both interesting yet simple. Personal mementoes abound, but most of all it’s a practical home. An Apple Mac sits by a 5ft palm, contemporary landscape photographs hang on white walls, a beanbag is thrown on the floor in front of the usual tv, dvd player and Playstation.
Don’t get me wrong, I love old things. My favourite artist is Turner, not Hirst; I’d have intricately carved solid wood over MDF any day, and frankly laminate flooring gives me the heebie-jeebies. So why isn’t my house filled with old things?
I, like so many other 30-somethings, have gravitated towards Swedish flat-pack rather than classical British craftsmanship. Ease of availability, competitive prices and the glory of home delivery have as much to do with it as the need for minimalism and clean lines.
Perhaps it’s the prerogative of the young to shun the ideas of the past and adopt a new approach of their own. We are the throwaway generation; we’re busy, we work hard and we want our own things. We don’t go to the library, we buy our books; we’d sooner have a t-shirt made in China than spend a couple of quid in a charity shop; and we never, ever call a repair man if we can replace it with new.
And yet we religiously recycle our wine bottles, baked bean cans and Sunday newspapers. We criticise our parents for not cottoning on to the green revolution and we blame the government for putting us in this position in the first place.
So what if we could swap our wastefulness for conservation and at the same time trade-in uniform tastes for a greater sense of individuality? Salvage could be the key.
We think as heathens the designers and home owners of the 60’s and 70’s who boarded over beautiful fireplaces only to replace them with gas bar fires, or who plastered over lovely original beams in favour of artexed ceilings.
Surely it’s time to go the whole hog then, by fully learning the lessons of the past and once again becoming excited about well-made fixtures and fittings, as well as the buildings themselves.
Ignited by a passion for salvage at a young age, Drew Pritchard has become one of the UK’s foremost exponents of the trade. Star of the 2005 BBC Television series, “The Reclaimers” and owner of one of the biggest and best salvage yards in the country, Drew has been in the business for nearly 25 years.
As a teenager he served a seven-year apprenticeship as a stained-glass restorer and says he knew from his first day on the job working for an architectural antique dealer that this was his calling.
‘It was like a switch flicked in my mind. Actually though I’d probably been salvaging since I was 11 years old. I was always in tips and skips when I was a kid, and I’d sell things like oars and boat parts that washed up on the beaches.’
Yet he admits that, although the proprietor of a successful business, he’s never been interested in the value of a piece, rather it’s intrinsic beauty.
‘I get a tingle in my stomach and that’s when I buy. To be successful you have to have that feeling. I know that if I get that feeling then someone else will too.
‘I love saving something and owning it for a little while. You restore it, clean it up and prove yourself right.’
Whether it’s a £20 doorknob or a £20,000 restored fireplace, Drew Pritchard appreciates them in equal measure, and his enthusiasm tends to rub off.
‘We’ll get an old Victorian door with it’s glass knocked out and we’ll re-fit it with glass and handles from the same period. Then it becomes something beautiful again and I’m fascinated by that.’

So what exactly are you likely to find in a salvage yard and where does it all come from? In a place such as Drew Pritchard’s there is a vast array of reclaimed goods, ranging from everyday items like floorboards, beams, quarry tiles and doors; character pieces like church pews, cast iron baths and garden statues; and the distinctly unusual like chandeliers, ecclesiastical remnants and stained glass windows.
Young couples with their first home, discerning buyers shopping for fun, interior designers and property developers will all find something to suit at a salvage yard. And the great thing is, they can be found the length and breadth of the country.
It certainly seems there is plenty of conserve. From people simply having a clear out to the demolition of buildings, Drew Pritchard says there is a never-ending stream of salvage. ‘We get ten phone calls a day and have to turn things away. At any one time we have 3,000 doors in stock and just as many pieces of stained glass.’
The work this company does in the restoration of glass is truly outstanding and the results are just breathtaking. Mostly late Victorian or early Edwardian small leaded pieces, they will often be called to redundant churches or other large buildings to remove pieces to restore and sell on.
Drew Pritchard is clear on his stance on recycling. ‘If I’m not saving it then no one else is either. Often health and safety will have sunk their teeth and demanded something be removed; other times it’s not viable for people to restore, or they just don’t understand something so they get rid of it. It’s an environmentally friendly, sustainable practice, which not only teaches, but employs.’
‘But if it’s your own home, surely it’s better to pay a bit more and get more pleasure from it.’
Drew Pritchard explains that condition is key. ‘You can have two doors that look just the same, but if one has a chip on it and is an inch under standard size then there will be a £40 difference.’
But why bother going that extra mile? Why not just nip down to Be & Queue?
‘This is cool stuff to buy’, Drew enthuses. ‘It’s tactile and interesting. You can get an instant hit of old world glamour and style that just doesn’t exist anymore.’

One of the major things that has struck me through this journey of salvaged style is that every single person has mentioned words like “quality” and “craftsmanship”, the likes of which are rarely found these days.
Whether found in crumbling but feature filled building walls, a stained glass window from a church no one wants to visit, a fireplace pulled from house in favour of modern tastes, or even ornately carved pillars from tropical shores, an appreciation for something beautiful inspires a need to salvage and conserve it.

Contact details:

This wondrous salvage yard is located on Llanrwst Road, Glan Conwy, North Wales. Visit their website for directions and current stock, or ring 01492 580890 to talk to Drew and his extremely helpful staff.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fame at last!

Here are a couple of shots of Drew being photographed by Journalists from The London Evening Standard, for an up and coming feature on the man himself in the colour magazine. The piece focuses mainly on the companies stained glass restoration skills, a project we have just completed in Muswell Hill, and the huge cost savings for Londoners, who have their work carried out by specialists in the providences who are willing to travel.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Drews Mammoth Buying Trip

Drew returned last night from a mammoth buying trip, with a weird and eclectic mix of items, ranging from an Egyptian Gate, a German Chemist cabinet, and a French game rack to name but a few. Here are a few pictures, and all of this will appear on our website over the next few days. Another buying trip starts tomorrow.