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Saving History from the Skip

I don't believe in luck, I believe everything in life is down to half chance. Last weekend I went to Wickes to pick up some timber for some renovations in the conservatory, on the way back my car broke down. It lost acceleration and started smoking from the bonnet. I pulled over and awaited rescue from the AA.

My car turned out to have been in a bad way. A part had snapped, overheated the engine and caused the head gasket to blow. What all of this really means, I have no clue. But what I am told is that when a head gasket blows, your car dies and costs an astronomical amount to fix, sometimes even more than the car is worth. The AA towed me to a local garage where a few days later they pronounced a four-digit figure to get my car back on a road. It was a very unlucky weekend, very unexpected and left me feeling very down.

That same Monday, on the walk back from the garage, I passed a beautiful Victorian terrace house with a skip outside. There was some men stood outside with two fireplaces, one of them was telling the others they shouldn't throw it in the skip, someone might buy it. I was already intrigued and probably quite obviously looking at this fireplace from some distance. "Do you wanna buy a fireplace?" one of them piped up, it was probably intended as a joke, maybe a point to prove that no one would want this piece of junk, but of course, I immediately said yes. They all seemed pretty perplexed and pleased at the same time "How much do you want to pay for it?" he asked, "£20?... For both?" I replied. It was actually a really cheeky offer that I didn't expect him to accept - but of course, they were going to chuck these beauties into a skip, they had no clue of the value of such beauties. He accepted. "Do you want four? We've got another two!" - And that's how I bought not one, but FOUR fireplaces for just £40.

I didn't have a car (obviously), so the lovely man even delivered them to me! I gave him my number and told him not to chuck anything of a period value away, I'd buy it. He agreed, and true to his word - a couple of days later he sent me a couple of pictures of some rather unique set of 4 chairs and a large wine rack. I offered £10 both and he sent them straight round.

And that's how I purchased aaaalll this, for just £50

Saving Victorian Fireplaces from a Skip
4 Victorian Fireplaces Saved from a Skip in Nottinghamshire
Original Victorian Fireplace for Restoration
Antique Wine Rack from Skip
Very Unique Chairs Saved from Skip

The guy in question was a bricklayer whom was only at the property to build an extension. The other guys were there clearing it out and it was truly by chance that he had been there to stop them throwing the fireplaces into the skip and that I myself, was walking by at that exact moment. It was truly a right place, right time situation and my luck suddenly took a huge turn.

I have no intention of keeping all four fireplaces, but I couldn't resist a bargain and of course I could NOT let these end up in a skip. Sadly though, some of the fireplaces haven't been removed with great care and have been caused some damage, cracks and even missing small sections. Even more annoyingly, none of them have shelves. The guy insisted they hadn't been chucked away and that they simply didn't have any, but I think in the commotion of emptying this house, someone somewhere had already thrown them in the skip. I jokingly suggested I would come dig through the skip later, but he told me it was too late, the skip had already been taken away. A great, great shame! But alas, I can't complain too much - I only feel a little sad for a part of something so beautiful and historical to end up in a skip.

I hope to keep the large fireplace, but the others I will probably sell on for a little profit (hopefully!) which can go towards a new car. Grant has claimed procession of the chairs, which are unlike anything I've seen - they'll probably end up in his "man cave" in the basement. They too need some repairs.

The wine rack is probably (and surprisingly!) my most favourite purchase. It's much bigger than I had anticipated and it's really heavy too. Some of the wood has rotted through so it does require some work as well, but this piece is most definitely staying in our home. I'm not sure we quite have enough wine to fill it - but we'll certainly have to find a use for it somewhere! It's b-e-a-u-tiful. Whomever lived in that house previously, clearly had some style!

Amongst my terrible and expensive week, was some goodness at the end of the tunnel. I met a lovely guy whom sold me some crazy bargains and even better - I saved all this stuff from going into a skip! If you're wondering about the house, it was apparently being converted into a multiple occupancy home for students. I know students need somewhere to live, but it doesn't half make me sad to see all these original features being ripped out. Even the doors had to go to make way for new building reg approved fire-doors! But alas, I'm glad to have a saved a piece of it non-the-less.

Have you ever saved anything from a skip? I'd love to know!


  1. Oh, good for you!! I would have done the same!

    1. Yay! Someone needs to save all these period features from getting thrown away. Why are people even still chucking these things away?! Who wouldn't want a beautiful period fireplace in their home?!


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