Sunday, 23 August 2009

Saving the past - utility and beauty

I'm well known for my tip purchases - we are fortunate enough to have an enlightened tip/recycling centre where good usable stuff is put out for resale to the public (no electrical items, etc though for safety reasons). ALthough I buy a lot of stuff and things, it's mainly old things to actually use in the house - contrary to some's beliefs, my house is not stuffed to the gunwhales with unused bits and bobs just bought because they are there or look pretty; everything must pay its way, either in utility or beauty. Now, I know the way our tip works. Once a week, the stuff is completely cleared, and sorted into the appropriate recycling/landfill skips etc. No sorting, or "That's too good to dump" - it just has to go as there is just so much of it. Goodness only knows what wonderful things have ended up over the landfill wall! I have had a lifelong interest in domestic equipment, household items, textiles, history, etc, and its these things that I go for. Often seen by an older generation as soemthing no longer wanted, old-fashioned, reminders of a life they no longer live or even wish to remember, these things often end up there; piled into boxes when houses/kitchens are cleared, brought down there and left. I'd like to think that those who bring the boxes of stuff are hopeful that someone might be prepared to rifle through it all and give it a second lease of life, rather than just literally dumping it. I have certainly had more than my fair share of wonderful purchases from there, and the ones above, plus more were bought on Saturday. The ladle is a huge old soup ladle, probably silver, Mappin & Webb; the jug is Victorian, I think transfer ware, with the proper mark on the bottom, in perfect condition. Both will be cleaned and used here. The canvas bag is more of an enigma - it has been suggested it may be a field sink from WW2; it's been interesting to have a look on the net to see what information I can find about these things. Other humble homely items I got include some lovely cream pudding basins (I have a good selection of these, and use them all the time) and a lovely button box, full of fascinating bits and pieces, including a bobbin for one of the hand
Singer machines.
Watching various archaeology programmes on TV, it's often been said that the most useful information comes from domestic items found - how ordinary people lived and worked, their homes, their family lives, etc. If all this gets dumped now, there will be little to tell our story in the future, so I'd like to think I'm playing some small part in preserving things for future generations to wonder at in a life inevitably every different from my own.


Leanne said...

well done, wonderfyul finds that deserve to continue their life in use rather than add to landfill- a crime! Its not just the older generations who no longer value these things that remind them of a life they no longer wish to live, the younger generation dont want them either, they want matching modern things from the likes of Ikea etc. This is a generalisation of coutrse, but it seems to be our generation, caught in the middle, that sees the usefulness of these discarded items, and despairs at the waste, and also the consumerism, the greed for 'brand new' all around us.

leanne x

MoominMama said...

Now how I wish I had somewhere like that close to me!
Actually, thinking about it, it's probably best I don't, I would just accumulate pretty things!
That ladle is absolutely fantastic!! Just seeing it makes me want to make a huge pot of potato and leek soup.
Great finds MrsL :D

Jacqui said...

I so wish our 'community recycling centre' was as enlightened. I do prefer to use older things like that, my house contains a lot of things from my grandparents' houses, not to mention the odd charity shop find. I love seeing the things you bring back from the tip.