The Shambles Museum, Newent, Gloucestershire

PUBLISHED: 11:58 16 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 20 February 2013

The Shambles

The Shambles

Nostalgia is most definitely what it used to be. This month The Shambles Museum of Victorian Life in Newent is going under the hammer, so this is your chance to own a unique piece of it... <br/><br/>Words and pictures by Candia Mckormack and Simon ...

In 1960 Jim Chapman moved to Gloucestershire. In 1968 he started collecting Victorian memorabilia. By the mid-1980s he realised that his collection was beginning to take over his house...

In serious danger of being lost forever under a stack of mangles and sad irons, it was time for Jim and wife Holly to seek out bigger premises... Fortunately they found just the place in the form of No. 20 Church Street in Newent - a former butcher's shop with its own slaughterhouse behind (hence the name 'The Shambles'). As the collection grew, so did the premises; as more buildings next to No. 20 became available, the couple bought them, until they owned Nos. 16-24 Church Street.

The well thought-out collection of buildings, from photographer's studio to pawnbroker's shop, taxidermist's, blacksmith's and wheelwright's workshops to tobacconist's and cobbler's shop, are set in over an acre of land and have the feeling that they've been that way forever. Well, at least a hundred years or so when the basket-maker wove his last withy, the blacksmith shod his last horse, and the saddler made his last harness. You almost have the feeling that, if you wait long enough at the bar of the beer cellar, the landlord will be along to serve you, or that when you enter the tin chapel, you'll find a congregation waiting inside. It's a fantastic living, breathing collection that Jim has obviously put together with great knowledge, integrity and love for the period.

And now it's time for Jim to bid farewell to his glorious collection.

This month 4,000 or so lots will be put up for auction at a sale organised by Simon Chorley Antiques in a marquee set up in the very heart of the museum.

So, surely it must be with mixed feelings that Jim is saying 'farewell' to his beloved collection. Well, yes and no. When I spoke to him, these were his feelings... "There comes a time when you want more time to do things; holidays, etc. And besides, I'm moving into the world of perry-making. I couldn't be happier."

Admirable sentiments, Jim. And as your incredible collection goes under the hammer, we'll all be raising a glass of fine perry to toast your future.

- Fixtures and fittings from The Shambles will be sold by Simon Chorley Art & Antiques on site at The Shambles, Church Street, Newent, Gloucestershire from Monday, 18 to Friday, May 22. The sale begins each day at 10.30am. Viewing is from 10am-4pm May 14-17. On the morning of the sale there will be viewing only for that day's sale, from 8:30-10:30am.

Admission is by printed catalogue (15) - this admits two people to the sale. For more information visit

- The Orchard Centre, of which Jim Chapman is dedicating a good deal of his future time to, is holding an Open Day on Friday, May 15, 9.30am-4.30pm.

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