Express & Star

Flashback to 2003: Stepping back to the Victorian era at auction and festive fair

A Victorian children’s pony cart was catching the eye of visitors to an auction house back in 2003.

Auctioneer and valuer Chris Sidebotham road tests the Victorian child’s pony cart with his pet dog called Diesel

Fitted with a harness in blue and scarlet and with wooden spoked wheels and rubber tread, the cart could be pulled by a large dog or a Shetland pony.

The item was attracting so much attention that valuers at Cosford Auction Rooms, in Long Lane, were expecting it to sell for between £400 and £600.

It was among a huge variety of items including furniture, furs, jewellery and even a 1930s slot machine due to go under the hammer at the Christmas Fine Art Sale.

Organisers said it was the perfect place for people to find unusual or unique festive gifts for family or friends.

Chris Sidebotham, auctioneer and valuer at Walker, Barnett and Hill, who would be running the auction, said there would be between 700 and 800 lots in the sale.

“We have a large selection of jewellery and silver than normal, including some fantastic diamonds.”

Meanwhile Bridgnorth traders and residents stepped back in time for a traditional Victorian Christmas Fair.

More than 3,600 people turned out for the craft fair which was hailed a major success by organisers. The event was part of the town’s annual Christmas Fair organised by Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce.

It was the first time the craft fair had been held in St Leonard’s Church, which was specially opened for the occasion.

The event featured a total of 34 craft stalls selling everything from English crystal to gift cards. Guests were entertained by live Renaissance-style music and stallholders entered into the spirit by dressing up in traditional Victorian costume.

Organiser Ann Shearer said she had been overwhelmed by the turnout. At one point it had been so busy that members of the Friends of St Leonard’s Church, who had provided refreshments, ran out of supplies.

“It was amazing. It was just unbelievable the amount of people inside the church,” she said.

“We reached 3,600 but you just couldn’t count them all.

“This is the first year I have actually organised the event in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and it was the first year we opened up the church.

“It was a fantastic turnout and we raised £320 for the Churches Conservation Trust, which was just from stallholders as it was free entrance. The majority of people were local but there some from surrounding counties. I just would like to say a fantastic thank you to everyone who supported us and all the stallholders,” she added.

Husband and wife Karen and Howard Davies dressed for the occasion in Bridgnorth

Stall holders and shop owners also dressed up in Victorian costume for the main fair.

Howard Davies, chamber chairman, said: “It was a brilliant day and went really well. There was an awful lot of people and the High Street was bustling. Everybody joined in the spirit of the of event by dressing up and singing with the choirs. Youngsters were thrilled to see Santa in his grotto and sleigh.”

Mr Davies said all of the stalls had been sold out for weeks in advance of the popular event.

“If that many people went into the church there must have been at least 6,000 milling about in the High Street. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Entertainment included Cleobury Mortimer Muller Brass Band, Punch and Judy, circus acts by William Brookes School, morris dancers, face painting and Santa’s grotto and much more.

During the day Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce also held a charity collection to raise money for Bridgnorth Hospital League of Friends.

It was also a busy time for pupils at Codsall Middle School who were practising hard so that they could hit all the right notes in their school’s annual Christmas carol concert.

Children from Codsall Middle School performed a number of carols and musical arrangements at Codsall Methodist church in Histons Hill as they gave a preview of what the audience could expect.

Instrumentalists playing flutes, a violin, drums, recorders and a clarinet had been practising all term.

Codsall Middle School musicians rehearsing for their concert

Music teacher Annette Hutchinson said: “They have been working so hard all term and were really looking forward to performing in front of their parents.≤

The group has also played at the Young Voices in Concert event which has taken place at Birmingham NIA two weeks earlier.

This saw them perform with more than 5,000 other children from school choirs across the Midlands.

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