Antiques of Sidcup counts Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Ted Heath among former customers
PUBLISHED: 12:54 28 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:54 28 February 2013
Imagine Gerrard Snow's surprise when he looked up from under the harmonium he was trying to sell and the potential buyer was none other than former Prime Minister and Old Bexley Sidcup MP, Ted Heath.
While not every working day has been as star-studded as that, the antiques dealer has loved every minute of selling his wares since he first founded Antiques of Sidcup in the Sidcup Antiques and Craft Centre in Elm Parade 30 years ago.
“I had a whole conversation with a gentlemen who wanted to buy this lovely harmonium I was working on for £150,” he recalls.
“I couldn’t see him because I was underneath the thing. I remember us talking about how people didn’t really recognise the value of antiques any more, and this was back in 2004 towards the end of his life.
“When I got up to complete the sale I couldn’t believe it was Ted Heath. He was a genuinely lovely man.”
Gerrard sells and buys pretty much anything, including furniture, clocks, paintings, jewellery, toys and silver. You name it, you can probably find it in Antiques of Sidcup.
He enjoyed restoring furniture while working in insurance before he decided to make a living out of his hobby, but he says the antiques industry has changed dramatically in the past decade.
The 54-year-old says fads come in and out of fashion and the current state of the economy has affected what is popular and who is buying antiques.
“There are fewer younger buyers than there used to be and numbers have steadily dwindled,” he says.
“Maybe it’s the poor state of the economy but fads and fashions are cyclical. You have to adapt and I’m trying to sell antiques in a modern setting so I cater for everyone.
“There will always be people with the money to pay for quality and I think traditional furniture from 40 or 50 years ago is coming back into fashion again.”
Gerrard moved the business to Chislehurst High Street when the Sidcup Antiques and Craft Centre was sold. He has always worked alone but has loved every minute of it.
“It’s great being able to make a living out of something you love.
“I found restoring old pieces of furniture in my spare time quite therapeutic but it took me a while to realise I could make a career out it.”
Gerrard’s shop could hit national television screens later this year as the BBC has shown an interest in featuring it in the Antiques Road Trip.
The show follows antiques experts around the country looking for treasures. While Gerrard has not given them an answer yet, it could help him get some much-needed exposure.
“We do get the odd quirky seller with an interesting back story behind something they sell me, but not quite on the same scale as Antiques Roadshow.
“But we have got some interesting pieces and it would be nice to see my humble shop on the television.”
For more information call 020 8302 1744 or visit www.antiquesofsidcup.co.uk.