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Slice of Local History Comes Under the Hammer

A Trentham Estate account book dating from 1871 is going under the hammer this Friday at a Staffordshire auction house.

Cuttlestones’ Specialist Collectors’ auction in Wolverhampton on Friday, 11th August will feature the tome, entitled ‘Vouchers Trentham, Newcastle & Stittenham 1871’, contains accounts and receipts for rents, taxes, rates, gratuities, purchases and development works alongside lists of employees, receipts from local businesses and other ephemera.

It is expected to achieve in the region of £200 – £400 it gives a fascinating glimpse into a time when the now popular tourist attraction was still a working estate under the Dukes of Sutherland.

Particularly interesting entry examples include the procurement of 5 bags of Peruvian Guano from the Chincha Islands for £6/8s/0d. Famously more precious than gold, the Peruvian trade in seabird manure as a fertilizer was at its peak during the Victorian era – it would have likely been a very welcome tool of the trade for the gardeners in charge of the estate’s famed Italianate gardens and breathtaking ‘Capability’ Brown landscape. Other items within the lot predominantly deal with repairs and maintenance of estate, gardens, home farm, rented properties and include long lists of wages and materials.

Other interesting receipts include a detailed list of repairs to the Saracen’s Head Pub – including extra dormer in the roof, extra beam in the cellar, closet seats, locks and bolts, oat ground for the bar floor etc which amounted to £53/18s/6d; a receipt from Mander Brothers of Wolverhampton for oak varnish at £4/11s/0d and a long list of supplies from a Tailor & Woollen draper including flannel for coffins, two blinds for the telegraph office and the making of cushions, which amounted to £3/6s/5d.

Other receipts deal with services – such as the attendance of one Dr. Hayes of Beech Cliff for medical visit to the gardeners at £12/13s/6d and legal requirements – such as a licence for a horse which was precured at 10s 6d.

Cuttlestones’ book expert, Rosie Blackburn, says: “I have found researching this lot to be fascinating – it gives such an insight into the costs and complexities of managing and maintaining a Victorian country estate, and into just how pivotal the estate was in terms of providing work within the local community. It’s especially interesting as Trentham is so local to us, so I am sure that either a collector with a keen eye for estates management ephemera or someone with an interest in local history will be very keen to give this lot a home.”

The 1871 Trentham Estates account ledger will come under the hammer at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton auction room during its Specialist Collectors’ Auction on Friday, 11th August. Viewing will take place from 10am – 7pm the day before the sale and on the morning of the sale itself.

The fully illustrated catalogue will be available at www.cuttlestones.co.uk from Friday 4th August and remote bidders can get involved in the action via live internet bidding, commission or on the telephone.

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