A corner of Spalding Lifestyle Centre in Pinchbeck is an Aladdin’s cave of collectibles, affordables, valuables and memorables.
Justin Grimshaw, curator of Pendragon Antiques, has found that his enterprise is a perfect fit to share the centre with its restaurant and Uptown Vinyl Records, last week’s Support Our Shops feature.
Antiques are pieces of history and, whether they are art or architecture, they show us how things beganJustin Grimshaw, curator of Pendragon Antiques, Spalding Lifestyle Centre, Pinchbeck
After a near 30-year career in the civil service, Justin’s love of antiques opened up a whole new career and passion for him to follow.
Justin said: “I couldn’t stand the idea of not doing something and I had things I’d bought from boot fairs and antique shows at home.
“When we moved from Sussex to Lincolnshire, my wife said ‘I want a house to live in, not a museum’.
“Then I met Alan Barnsdale (Uptown Vinyl Records) who thought that antiques was the type of business that could join his at the centre.
“Finally, I met up with Peter Vickers (owner of Spalding Lifestyle Centre) who said ‘we’ll give you a go’ and I haven’t looked back.”
At any given time, TV viewers can watch nearly 140 antique-themed programmes on one channel’s catch-up service alone.
Not to mention an array of collectors’ fairs, valuation days and private auctions in and around south-east Lincolnshire, all making Pendragon Antiques a welcome addition to the area’s shopping landscape.
Justin said: “I deal with all sorts of antiques, everything from £5 to £1,000.
“I also get people coming in to ask for valuations on pictures, paintings and all sorts of other items.
“Not so long ago, a woman came in with what she said was a piece of blue topaz worth many thousands of pounds.
“But after looking at it and testing it, I had to break the news to her that it was actually glass and not worth anything at all, except as a nice costume piece of jewellery.”
A study for the British Art Market Federation by Dr Clare McAndrew of research and consultancy firm Arts Economics in 2014 estimated the British fine, decorative art and antiques market to be worth £8 billion.
Justin said: “Antiques are pieces of history and, whether they are art or architecture, they show us how things began.
“They shouldn’t and mustn’t be forgotten so what I’m trying to do is to preserve a moment in time where people can come along and say ‘my grandmother used to have one of those’.
“Nearly every single thing in this shop is hand-made, not machine-produced, and a lot of money has gone into making them.
“Therefore, I want my items to go to a person who will not only be happy with them, but who will look after them in the same way that I do while they are here in the shop.”
Pendragon Antiques, named after the mythical King Arthur, opened in October 2015 and has become a welcome destination for wives and girlfriends who can leave their husbands and partners to look round Alan’s record shop.
Justin said: “There are lots of things that I’ve learned from Alan and Peter, both of whom have been very good to me.
“We’re basically a team here and the customers that I get come from Alan’s shop.
“Slowly but surely, people have come to know that I’m here and found that there’s always something here that no one else has got.
“I had a huge model of a mother rhino and a baby rhino’s heads close together.
“It weighed a ton and I thought it was going to be at the shop for ages.
“But one day, a lady came in, walked up to it and said she liked it.
“Then her husband came and said, without a moment’s hesitation, ‘I want to buy it’.
“It took me by surprise but I was happy to pass it on to them because they were absolutely over the moon.”
In terms of what Pendragon Antiques brings to Spalding Lifestyle Centre, Peter said: “It adds a different aspect to the place and will appeal to people who like antiques.”
Justin shares his antiques knowledge with that of gemmology or the study of precious stones.
Word has reached Pinchbeck WI about Justin’s passions, so much so that members have invited him to give a talk on gemstones later this year.
Justin said: “I’m a person who doesn’t like retirement and there are always itchy feelings in my feet.
“So I’m hugely honoured to have been invited to give a talk at Pinchbeck WI, but I have a lot of work to do to make sure it’s an interesting one.”