The Barker Collection

Cheffins to host auction of vintage and domestic bygones on behalf of well known Suffolk family

Cheffins is due to sell a collection of vintage machinery and rural and domestic bygones on behalf of the Barker family in Westhorpe, near Stowmarket on 17th June. The Barker Collection comprises over 500 lots of collector’s items and is expected to draw crowds from across the county.

The collection was started by the late Eric Barker who moved to Westhorpe in 1957. The collection began in earnest in the 1950s when Mr Barker began attending a series farm sales and auctions. It was started with a Bentall horse-drawn plough and a 1939 John Deere BR6 which was used by Eric’s father on the farm where he grew up in Great Ashfield. The collection grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s and at one point, it included 60 vintage tractors; over 40 lawnmowers; binders; horse equipment; wagons; carts and other implements. Another passion was also rural & domestic bygones with hundreds of items including dairy equipment; early washing machines and vacuum cleaners; typewriters; sewing machines; medical, dental and veterinary equipment; hip baths and drink containers.   

During this period Eric Barker spent much of his time exhibiting his collection at shows, rallies and farming demonstrations. In 1978 he had a dedicated marquee at the Suffolk Show which was visited by the Queen Mother. During the 1980s and 1990s the farm hosted numerous visits from clubs, farming groups, societies and organisations as well as the annual farm open day in association with the local NFU branch proceeds of which were donated to the local church and village hall.  

Key lots of interest in the June sale include; a 1796 pattern cavalry sabre and scabbard; an unusual man trap dating back to the early 19th century  and a quantity of mid 1920s newspaper vendors’ headline posters. There is also an 1855 Applewood framed corn grinding mill with pulley wheel from WJ & T Child and amongst the horse drawn wagons are two four-wheel farm carts on new wooden wheels which were supplied by G Thurlow & Son, Stowmarket. On the tractor side, there is a highly unusual Howard Platypus 30 4-cylinder Crawler Tractor fitted with Perkins P4 engine and a Massey Ferguson 735 Combine Harvester.  

The Barker family are one of the most well-known farming families in East Anglia, having amassed some 1,260 acres within the region. Famous for their sustainability measures and approaches to diversification, the Barker family are known to be one of the most forward-thinking farming businesses in the UK.  

After 20 years in storage, Roy and David Barker are selling their father’s collection whilst retaining a few items of family significance.  

Jeremy Curzon, Director, Cheffins comments: “The Barker Collection is known to be one of the most comprehensive assortments of agricultural and domestic bygones to come to the market and we are honoured to be able to sell it on behalf of the family. There are several items which are sure to generate special interest from collectors and enthusiasts and we expect to see some significant prices paid for the more unusual lots on offer. Eric Barker was a much-loved figure in the agricultural and collecting world and we are expecting a high turnout of visitors at the sale.”  

David Barker comments: “This collection has been on the farm for the last 40 years and contains many fond family memories. The sale will be tinged with sadness as it was our father’s passion but we hope that people can purchase items that give them pleasure for years to come and keep the spirit of our agricultural past alive.”  

The sale will take place on Saturday 17th June 2017, at Lodge Farm, Westhope near Stowmarket. IP14 4TA.

For more information call Cheffins auctioneers on 01353 777767.            

For further media information, please contact Sophie Richardson, PR Manager, Cheffins, t: 01223 271990.

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