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auctioning the Shambles

Posted at 20:55 on 13 May 2009 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: corrupting the innocent, in the news

If you're in the UK, did you ever visit the Shambles Museum? It was a recreated Victorian town in Gloucestershire that was open to the public, complete with cobbled street, shops, workshops and houses.

I'm not entirely sure, but unless there are two places like this in England, I think I visited the Shambles some time in my early teens. I remember being overwhelmed by the number of tourists, and shops full of Victorian posters and bootblack and rows upon rows of old-fashioned streets. (I guess they knew their market: school children, for the most part.) It was nowhere near as exciting as the Victorian school I'd visited a few years before, but the rows of tightly-packed, red brick terrace houses filled me with a faux-nostalgia, which I still get on certain London streets. I devoured all the stories about poor families sleeping six to a room, women doing laundry, factory workers and fed them to my kinky hindbrain. (Although disappointingly, there wasn't an actual factory you could look round.)

Today, I discovered not only that the Shambles museum has been closed down, but that all its contents are being auctioned off next week. This is surely the most exciting event for period-fetishists this decade! Of course, I can't go; even if I could, I probably couldn't afford more than a matchbox. If I'd found out about this earlier, perhaps we could have scheduled the Edwardian drama I'm shooting with Roué next week to be in June, so we could have raided the auction for historical props in advance.

I wonder what homes all those Victorian town plots and collectables will find? I hope that at least a few of them end up being appreciated by people like us.


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