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LETTERS Have your say

Your Letters

This month’s postbag reveals a snippet from a famous 17th-century diary and praise for antiques’ green credentials

Our star letter receives a copy of British Designer Silver by John Andrew and Derek Styles worth £75. Write to us at Antique Collecting, Sandy Lane, Old Martlesham, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4SD or email magazine@

Star letter

I enjoyed Doug Monroe’s timely request (Your Letters, October issue) for examples of antiques and collectables that save money.

Might I suggest that there is much to be gained by buying from antique and collectable shops, charity stores, antiquarian book dealers and also from second-hand markets, including clothes fairs. It’s not just about saving money, it’s also about sustainable practices and saving the planet! Of relevance is the Antiques Are Green Movement which also promotes the concept of re-using the past. Budding collectors should please note that collecting can also be about putting sustainability into practice. Ian Spellerberg, by email

I would like to concur with Marc Allum’s last column (Marc My Words, November issue) in which he wrote how living with antiques (albeit in this case on a temporary basis while cataloguing them) gave him a better understanding and appreciation of them.

Readers might not be aware that several dealers, Lorfords in Tetbury springs to mind, offer a ‘try before you buy’ service where you can see how an antique fits into a space before you part with your cash. It was invaluable for us in finding just the right mirror last year. J Beckett, by email


Left Antiques are both green and economical

Above right Portrait of Samuel Pepys (16331703) whose routine was greatly disrupted by wash days

Below left ‘Try before you buy’ schemes can help you create the ideal look

It was a strange coincidence that while reading Doug Monroe’s plea (Your Letters, October issue) for money-saving devices from the past that I was also re-reading Samuel Pepys’ diary. In it he makes several references to “great wash days”.

While they only took place a few times a year, they required the whole household to be up at 4am, or on some days 2am, and went on well into the night. Never have I been so grateful for my washer tumble drier, never mind the cost. Joyce Smith, by email

Answers to Christmas quiz on page 54 Q1 (c). There was a commonly-held belief in France the Three Wise Men were welcomed by a goose. Q2 (b). Q3 (b). Sir Roger de Coverley was a fictional character in the early editions of The Spectator after whom a dance was named. He was also mentioned in A Christmas Carol. Q4(a). The first Christmas Day swim in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake took place in 1864. Q5(c). By allowing a horse and rider to pass through the Sussex pub on Christmas Day the right of way was preserved. In 1995 when the regular horseman was unable to take part, a volunteer rode through the pub on a bicycle. Q6 (b). Kugel made rather heavy glass Christmas tree ornaments from about 1820 to 1890. (McKee specialised in window and bottle glass, while Ensell and Wilson made tableware and, later, bar goods, lamps and candlesticks). Q7 (a). Each is a character in mumming plays for which the poor obtained Christmas charity. Bold Slasher was one of the names of St George, Little Johnny Jack was a beggar, the Doctor was a primitive magician, with Father Christmas acting as a compere. Q8 (c). It was used to collect alms, but mostly to hold mulled and spiced ale or cider. Wassailing has been replaced by carol-singing. Q9 It comes from The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith, being the diary entry for December 25. Q10 The fictional diarist’s name was Charles Pooter whose socially accident-prone gaffs first appeared in Punch in 1888.

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