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Auction offers a window into Haverhill's history




A fascinating collection of items saved after the closure of an auctioneers and estate agents that operated in Haverhill for more than 100 years is to go auction this Saturday.

The sale at Mander Auctioneers, of Assington Road, in Newton near Sudbury includes 70 lots – all items retrieved from the attic of Chas Boardman & Son when it closed in 2000.

The haul of items provides a social history of Haverhill and the surrounding area for the 105 years during which Chas Boardman and Son operated in Haverhill.

Chas Boardman (left( and his son John. Contributed picture (20802104)
Chas Boardman (left( and his son John. Contributed picture (20802104)

Not only that, it also includes items from the firm’s forerunner – Fitch & Goodchild, the town’s premier auctioneer from 1824 to 1895.

All 70 lots have been looked after for the past 19 years by Neil Lanham, who arrived in Haverhill in 1962 to work as a chartered surveyor for John Boardman, the son of the company’s founder Charles Boardman.

Neil, who now lives in Bottesdale, near Diss, had a connection with the Haverhill area spanning 40 years and has handed the items he saved from the attic to Manders.

Neil Lanham
Neil Lanham

“It was close to my heart, that’s why I saved all this stuff,” he said.

“It’s the physical documentation of things that actually happened.

“It’s a documentation of real life.

The catalogue for the 1963 sale by Chas. Boardman & Son of items from Burton Cottage in Haverhill. Picture: Neil Lanham
The catalogue for the 1963 sale by Chas. Boardman & Son of items from Burton Cottage in Haverhill. Picture: Neil Lanham

“I’m 81 now and it was just a huge part of my life and it was a great success for me.”

Not only did Chas Boardman & Son run the weekly cattle market behind the Rose and Crown, in Withersfield Road but it also held most of the local farm and public house dispersal sales from its offices at Station Road Corner, explained Neil

“Adrian Bell, in his book, Cordoroy, referred to Charles Boardman as the auctioneer with the button hole and it was Charles Boardman who sold up his farm at Stradishall in the hard days of the agricultural depression of the 30s,” said Neil.

Some of the old catalogues from sales conducted by Chas. Boardman & Sons. Picture by Neil Lanham
Some of the old catalogues from sales conducted by Chas. Boardman & Sons. Picture by Neil Lanham

“Not only will catalogues of this be up for grabs but other interesting sales and the prices realised such as the contents of Hubby Webb’s Cottage, in Camps Road.

“A renowned antique dealer, he murdered his wife and then committed suicide in the 1950s.”

Charles Boardman arrived in Haverhill in 1895 and soon built a high reputation as an auctioneer with his Haverhill May Sales and Horse Sales and for selling as many as 12,000 sheep on the Haverhill Downs for which special trains were laid on.

Then there are catalogues of sales such as Baldocks, who in its Camps Road yard at one time had 40 Fowler steam ploughing engines and auctions at the Wickhambrook and South Suffolk Colt show.

There is an auctioneers’ money bag inscribed Francis Fitch, Baythorne Grove from the time when the auctioneer would take the guineas and silver for the lots he sold as he went along.

The Cary’s cattle gauge that Mr Boardman used to ascertain the weight of bullocks and pigs and a selection of catalogues of local sales from as long ago as 1824 and a 19th century horseman’s secret note books of hand written cures and a copy of the rare first Suffolk Stud book are also up for sale.

Among other interesting items in the sale is a pedal roller made by the inventor ASF Robinson of Beccles.

Details about Saturday’s sale can be found atwww.manderauctions.co.uk.



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