Perhaps I’m just a hipster in denial (except for my lack of a beard) but I love reclamation yards. They’re like charity shops for people with big houses and access to a flatbed truck. There is something thrilling about wandering around looking at all this stuff that used to have another life, and could now be part of mine (if I had a big house and a flatbed truck). I was struck by how tidy the Glastonbury Reclamation Yard is, I wonder if it’s run by Virgos? In fact, everything is so beautifully displayed you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the newly refurbished Somerset Rural Life Museum, except there is no admission charge here and you get to buy the exhibits.
I’d not appreciated quite how many designs of bathroom sink there have been until I saw hundreds of them displayed in a greenhouse. Alongside the sinks were some old gym horses, which reminded me of the PE classes I was subjected to, making me feel a bit nauseous. I like trying to work out what things are, like the peculiar press thing (middle of the second row in the gallery), which I thought could have been a primitive mammogram machine, but almost certainly wasn’t. The statues were interesting, I felt sorry for them, a bit of an indignity if you’ve been adorning a venerable old church for hundreds of years, finding yourself lying amongst assorted bric-a-brac. I’m curious about the chap with the upside down mushroom on his head and the braids, anyone got any ideas who, or what, he might be?
Reclamation yards were Green before Green was a thing – why recycle when you can reuse? Looking at all this stuff reminded me how objects were designed and made to last, even handed down the generations. This is a bit of a preoccupation of mine, probably inherited, my Mum recently mentioned that she’d had to buy a new potato masher, the last one has fallen apart, she’d had it for over 50 years. I don’t think my Nan owned an electrical fridge until the early 80’s, she was quite happy with her meat safe. Our family motto would probably be:
“If it isn’t broken, you can’t have a new one”.
I love photographing old things, give me a tractor covered in rust or a door covered in peely paint and I’m in raptures. I could have happily spent all day in the reclamation yard, getting just the right angle on some old sinks and looking like a weirdo, but I had other stuff to do and so just had time to take these few pictures. Do click on them if you’d like to see a bigger version.
If you’d like to know more about what the reclamation yard sells, or indeed where it is (a short walk, cycle or even shorter drive from the town) do take a look at their Glastonbury Reclamation Yard website. They are very friendly and helpful.
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