Contents of quirky Great Yarmouth seaside attraction to be auctioned off after closure
- Credit: EDP pics © 2007
The contents of a Great Yarmouth heritage attraction - including a full-sized Victorian carousel - are going under the hammer following the museum's closure.
Trading on a fondness for curiosities and nostalgia Yesterday's World focused on how we used to live with street scenes, preserved shops, a myriad of time-warp artefacts and a themed tea room.
The bygone treasure trove was owner Peter Bull's personal collection amassed since he was a child and put on show in Yarmouth following the success of a similar venture in Battle, East Sussex, which is downsizing.
Items to be sold include the working carousel, wax figures created for Madame Tussauds in London, a taxidermy polar bear, items owned by Queen Victoria and the contents of several preserved shops. They are expected to draw bidders from across the globe.
The attraction confirmed in a statement posted on its Facebook page that it had closed, ending seven years on the Golden Mile.
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The museum described as 'one of the best social history museums in the UK' holds over 150,000 nostalgia exhibits which are expected to fetch up to £300,000 in a series of sales at Chippenham Auction Rooms.
Principal auctioneer Richard Edmonds said: 'The owners naturally regret having to sell the contents, however, due to a downturn in business, the attraction had been under-performing and is no longer financially viable to operate.'
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The first of the items, which include a range of enamel signs and advertisements, as well as vintage toys and the contents of five preserved shops, will be sold on November 29. Further items will be sold during December and in the new year.
Mr Edmonds said: 'Yesterday's World is a real cornucopia of nostalgia items and collectibles. We haven't seen anything like this come onto the market for many years.
'Our aim is to ensure as many of the items as possible remain on public display somewhere or go to collectors or restorers who will really value them. Items like old shop fittings, vintage tills, slot machines and enamel signs are highly prized by specialist collectors. We would expect to have interest from both the UK and internationally.
'Australia, for example, is very often the destination for this type of British heritage.
'We're still cataloguing all the items as there are just so many of them. It's a huge job but one we're thrilled to be doing.'
A statement from Yesterday's World said: 'We have put substantial investment into the business during the seven years it has been in the town and naturally deeply regret having to make this decision. However, despite all efforts to sell the business as a going concern, no buyer has been found.
'We would like to thank the many visitors who have supported Yesterday's World in Great Yarmouth. We would also like our staff to know how much we genuinely appreciate their support, loyalty and enthusiasm over the years we have been in Great Yarmouth.'
The museum closed its doors on November 2 and six people have lost their jobs.
However a series of murder mystery evenings organised by manager Ben Rowe have been short-listed for a Spirit of Enterprise Award, in the Great Business Idea category, for using the street displays like film sets and reinventing the format.
Alan Carr, head of tourism at Great Yarmouth Borough Council described the closure as 'a huge disappointment' and said he hoped the prominent building would not be empty for long.
The multi-million pound attraction opened in 2007 in an empty amusement arcade, adding a gentle alternative to the mix of jingling machines.
The museum was put up for sale in June last year but later taken off the market and refocused with a programme of live events.
The first auction to include items from Yesterday's World will be held at The Old Laundry salerooms, Ivy Road, Chippenham on Saturday November 29 beginning at 10am.
For more information on the auction contact The Chippenham Auction Rooms on 01249 444544 or visit www.chippenhamauctionrooms.co.uk.