Summer is always a busy time of year for us here at The Old Mill, as not only do we have local people who are on holiday visiting us but also many tourists who travel to Shropshire from all over Britain and further afield from Europe, America, Australia, Japan, etc.
Foreign tourists in particular are interested in all the history and antiquities we have in our showroom and many of these items are taken home with them as gifts for their family and friends.
It is most interesting to recount the stories of customers who have visited us and one of these involves an Australian couple who were on holiday in Shropshire and they purchased a Beswick figure of a pigeon. Now, this is quite a rare item and they had enquired everywhere they had visited around the world to buy one of these to complete their collection. So you can imagine how delighted they were to find one in our antiques centre – it made their holiday! Needless to say, the wrapping of the pigeon was quite an elaborate affair to ensure it had a safe flight home.
Then, there was a gentleman from America who every year spends his summer holidays living in a barge on the canals of Britain. When he found our Centre he furnished his barge with many items bought here. His latest discovery being a “Bargeware Teapot”. These teapots made in the late 19th century in Derbyshire are quite large in size as they hold ½ gallon to 1 gallon of tea and are dark brown with a shiny glaze being impressed with flowers and birds usually green and pink in colour. He was thrilled with his purchase.
Stories about customers who bring their pet dogs with them are always entertaining and we have a lady who visits us regularly from Halfpenny Green Antiques Centre with her dog – a Lhasa Apso - by the name of Stan. He is such a cute little thing and he poses amongst the antique furniture for photographs. We keep a supply of doggy treats under the counter for when Stan comes to see us.
Another doggy story is about “Lulu”. She is a Blue Staffordshire Terrier and is owned by a customer who calls in to see us often and usually has lunch. Lulu is so at home here that she has her own blanket on a sofa in the Tearooms and curls up and has a nap whilst her owner has a meal.
“Rebel” is the name of the cat that we have here at The Old Mill and besides looking out for mice she particularly likes wandering around the place looking for spiders – of which there are many!
Moving away from pets and turning to a story about furniture and some customers who were looking at a French Commode – which is a chest of drawers to us in English. You can guess what happened – they were inspecting it and pulling out all the drawers to find how it was used “to spend a penny”. There is always confusion as to what a “commode” is, as in the 18th century it was French for an elaborate chest of drawers and later in the 19th it was used by the English to mean a bedside cabinet that held a chamber pot.
We enjoy meeting all these people who visit us from near and far and it makes the Old Mill a very interesting and pleasant place to work. So, why don’t you join our “happy band” of visitors and customers and pop in and see us next time you are in Bridgnorth. You never know you might be part of our next “Tales of The Old Mill”.