Collier & Sons, Great Totham – Elm Garden Seat

How confusing it must have been to buy things in ‘the olden days ago’. This lovely looking rustic seat from an advert in July 1967 is priced at 10 guineas, including carriage – but in an earlier post, I related that the pound had superseded the guinea in 1816, except for in some trades. In the earlier post, that trade was bespoke tailoring. But here we see the guinea and the pound used alongside one another. The guinea was worth 21 shillings, whilst the pound was worth 20 shillings. Today’s equivalent prices of these items is therefore around £161 for the bench, and £123 for the table. That seems quite steep in comparison with what one would pay today. Mind you – is there much elm even left?

Incidentally, Collier & Sons get a mention on the 1986 Domesday Book. It seems they developed the business from garden furniture into the production of over 600 truck bodies per year by that date! They are still going today – but now in Witham, trading as Colliers Truck Builders Ltd.

Collier & Sons - Garden Furniture
Collier & Sons – Garden Furniture
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Omega Constellation – G. Chambers & Sons

Below is a luxury watch advert, taken from the July 1967 Essex Countryside magazine. It is for an Omega Constellation watch, model BA 168 5014, costing £146/10/-. The price of the watch as shown equates to around £2,254 in today’s money, and the Constellation marque is still being used by Omega today. Obviously an enduring and successful brand.

Sadly, there seems to be no trace of the shop today though.

Omega Constellation - a Chronometer

Omega Constellation – a Chronometer
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Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited

Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited
Clapham Bros Furnishers Limited

Another long disappeared retail name. Again, taken from the July 1967 edition of Essex Countryside. The only thing I could find relating to Clapham Brothers online didn’t seem to be this particular company, but instead related to a more industrial firm, founded in Keighley.

This Clapham Bros had two showrooms in Brentwood – in the High Street and Kings Road – and one in Billericay High Street. They stocked all the leading manufacturers, a few of which still trade today – though most seem to have disappeared.

  • G-Plan
  • Minty
  • Guy Rogers
  • Myer’s
  • Stag
  • Avalon
  • Jentique
  • Lebus
  • Cintique
  • Vi-Spring
  • Scandart
  • Leylux
  • Relyon
  • Stonehill
  • Toothill
  • Slumberland
  • McIntosh
  • Austinsuite
  • Dunlopillo
  • Rest Assured
  • Beautility
  • Parker-Knoll
  • Luxaflex Blinds
  • Vono
  • Uniflex
  • Hensher
  • Meredew
  • Put-U-Up
  • Remploy
  • Staples
  • Ercol
  • Wrighton
  • Limelight
  • Homeworthy
  • Priory
  • Sleepeezee
  • Stevens
  • Nathan
  • etc.
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Tailor Made – House of Tweed, Colchester – the Guinea

The ad below is taken from the July 1967 edition of Essex Countryside. 25 guineas for a made-to-measure suit was obviously a lot of money back then. A quick Google and a Wiki later shows that actually, the guinea had been superseded by the pound sterling from 1816 – but certain items, including bespoke tailoring, were still quoted in guineas. A guinea was worth 21 shillings – i.e. just over a pound. £1.05 in decimalised currency. Therefore 25 guineas would be £26.25 in decimalised currency – and worth a considerable amount more today. In fact, the inflation calculator here puts that at £402.49 in today’s money.

House of Tweed, Colchester
House of Tweed, Colchester
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Midas Foam Bath

Midas Foam Bath advert
Midas Foam Bath advert

There are always some things in life that you remember so vividly – yet a search on all-knowing Google almost proves that you were wrong, when things seem to have disappeared without trace. One such item for me was Midas Foam Bath.

I remember it being the favoured bath additive in my house in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Though apart from within my family, no-one I asked seemed to remember it. The nearest I got to an affirmative online was about 8 years ago, someone saying that they thought they remembered it.

We all liked Midas Foam Bath for two reasons. It smelled great – and due to a now mysterious additive, it turned the water yellow – hence the name, I guess?

By chance, I recently discovered this paper advert up for sale on eBay – and one quick purchase later, and a little more digging online, it transpired that Midas was actually manufactured in Waterford, Republic of Ireland, and the product was discontinued in 1982, when the parent company to Fismar (the manufacturer) decided to pull out of that particular site. It even received attention in the Irish parliament.

I wonder if I shall ever discover what the powerful colouring agent in the foam bath was? Maybe it will have been banned by the European Union in the interim?

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