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The Great Antiques Challenge - Rory's Brief

Updated: Feb 6

The brief for Dawn's first challenge was for Rory: "Rory is a first-time buyer of a mid-terrace house in Manchester. Built in 1890, he is completely renovating the building to restore it to its former glory. He is going for a minimalist design to then fill each room with statement, antique pieces to enhance the history of the house. Keeping the original features, he has uncovered a fireplace in every room of the house, including the loft, and a huge one in the living room! Something for his living room that has a nod to Victorian Manchester, such as a side board or a coffee table, but he was very open!".




As a specialist in English Antiques, Dawn has sourced many antique pieces made in the Manchester area. It was a huge manufacturing hub in the Victorian period. Finnigans luggage was a world leading producer established in Manchester, they are a favourite maker she looks out for when sourcing. Simpoles of Manchester were a renowned furniture maker. They made quality pieces including stacking barrister bookcases which Dawn has stocked before.



Dawn's first thoughts were to find somthing antique made by one of these established makers. Something unique which he would have a connection to and cherish. After researching the history of Victorian Manchester she found that during this period Manchester was known as 'Cottonopolis'. It was the centre of the cotton industry. Early cotton mills sprung up in the middle part of the 18th century and by the 1870s were producing 32% of the global production of cotton! With over 100 mills in the region, iron foundries were established to supply the demand for machinery.


Dawn's first mood board before meeting Rory was:


Ideas board


After meeting Rory on the show, she realised that as this is his first home, he really wanted a statement piece to make the space his own. The budget was £200 - £500, but buying at the lower end as his finances were stretched due to the renovation. He was paricularly drawn to metal pieces, with texture and patina to mount above his fireplace. The challege was on!




After contacting her network of antique and salvage dealers, she found two unusual Iron foundry moulds. These sand casts had the patina and texture she was looking for. Buying the pair from Angela at Sunshine Antiques @sunshine.antiques meant she negoiated a good deal.












They would have been used to cast the tops of railings. The kind of iron railings used in Royal parks and churches around the Manchester area.


Dawn was absolutely delighted that Rory chose her pieces. These simple statement pieces of art, will look stunning mounted in Roy's newly renovated home.






We do source decorative salvaged pieces to add as unique statements to home and gardens. Take a look at our latest collection at the link below.




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