Bargains on offer for big homes

FANCY a bargain to brighten up your home this Christmas? To give the wife a treat what about a £3,527 hand-painted commode for a mere snip? Or perhaps a horse's head on a heavy shaped base could create a talking point among party-guests.

FANCY a bargain to brighten up your home this Christmas?

To give the wife a treat what about a £3,527 hand-painted commode for a mere snip?

Or perhaps a horse's head on a heavy shaped base could create a talking point among party-guests.

It is the end of an era as Dickson of Ipswich – one of the top manufacturers of reproduction furniture in the country – is closing its doors for the last time.

An auction sale of plant machinery and stock will be held at the company's premises on Baird Close, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate on Tuesday

And if Saturday's viewing was anything to go by, the auction should be bustling with trade and "well heeled" householders keen to snap up a slice of Ipswich history.

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However, the items – including (at the top end of the scale) a very ornate chinoserie bureau secretaire in tortoise shell antiqued finish RRP £13,650 – would be more suited to the grandeur of a country retreat rather than the average terraced house.

Household name Dickson of Ipswich called in liquidators McTear Williams and Wood last month.

Established more than 50 years ago, Dickson of Ipswich has been hard hit by the decline in the furniture business over the last couple of years: falling export demand and the growth of cheap imports.

Some 30 craftsman have been laid off, among them many who have served the business faithfully for 35 or 40 years.

Auctioneer Paul Webster was sad to see it go.

He said: "It is a well known name which will no longer be around Ipswich, which is a shame."

Dickson of Ipswich was started by the Dickson family and has been at several sites in this locality before finishing up at Baird Close, Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate.

"They have been producing fine furniture for the top end of the market: banks and big hotels in London mainly and The United States and the Middle East.

"For obvious reasons the overseas market has not held up because of September 11 and the Middle East.

"That part of the business had fallen away to such as an extent they could not continue to trade, so on November 24 they went into liquidation.

"The name Dickson has always been recognised, producing the very best quality. In its heyday it employed 30 people dropping to 22 – 24 towards the end.

"It was among the top six manufacturers of furniture in the country at the top end of the market.

"All those connected with Dickson of Ipswich have said how sorry they are to hear of them winding up."

He said furniture is more suited to the "well heeled" clients, those at the higher end of the market including hotelliers and professionals – for practical reasons, as well as cost.

Mr Webster said: "The furniture is mainly for the larger home because of the larger rooms.

"It would not be put in a smaller terraced home, even if they can afford it, because they would not be able to get it through the door."

Mr Webster is expecting a big response to the auction which is a sure chance to pick up a bargain.

He said: "I think the auction will be very well attended.

"We must have had 150 – 200 people in the morning alone on Saturday's viewing."

The premises will be vacated before Christmas when it will revert back to the landlord.

A second pre-auction viewing was being held today at the Hadleigh Road Industrial estate site between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm.

Tomorrow's auction will be a split with the sale of woodworking machinery, hand tools, templates and raw materials from 10.30 am, with the auction of completed and unfinished furniture from 1 pm.

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