SRS Blog > House clearance

Published 5th April 2005

Some years ago a friend of my father's acted a executor of a friend's estate, an elderly gentleman who had died without relatives. The local model engineering society had helped to clear the workshop and the solicitor involved had got a valuation for the complete engines which the chap had completed, all of which I bought.

However, this is where the job started to get a bit more difficult. The late model engineer, in a spirit of great generosity, had left his entire estate to three charities. In his innocence however, he had omitted to make any provision for executor's expenses and the beneficiaries wouldn't agree to grant any from the estate. The end result was that father's friend and his wife had spent almost a week shuttling stuff to the local tip six miles away because they weren't allowed to hire a skip (or even a house clearance place to come and clear up forty years worth of old newspapers and junk). To give you an idea of quite how rambling and overgrown the house and gardens were, there was a complete 7 1/4 inch gauge line in the garden which I gave up trying to dig out - it was like jungle warfare!

I couldn't really leave the poor souls with another month's worth of ferrying bin bags about so arranged to go up the following weekend with the pickup and we cleared the lot down to the tip in a day. During the cleanup, lots of old engineering magazines and photographs were being "bin bagged" - far too many to save, but I kept a handful of pictures, most of which are on the walls around the place here. In a break with my normal policy I reproduce here a picture which I can't credit - I believe it was taken some time in the 1950s in the back garden of the house I've described. 

The builder - our man in earlier times - is, I believe, the chap driving. I think it's a lovely image from a different era.