George VI Military Cross medal group awarded to Captain Kenneth Hewison-Smith 220277
One of the most interesting lots in our 15th June Medals & Militaria Auction is a George VI Military Cross medal group awarded to Captain Kenneth Hewison-Smith 220277. To include; Military Cross dated 1944 and in original Royal Mint case of issue, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, War, Territorial Efficient Service, and E.R. II. Civil Defence Long Service Medal in case of issue; together with miniature MC, 1939-45, Africa, Italy, France & Germany Stars, Defence, War and Territorial Efficient Service. Also included in this lot is a quantity of personal and official letters (many relating to Hewison-Smith’s time travelling through Italy after escaping from transportation between POW camps), press cuttings, and a manuscript describing Hewison-Smith’s Italian experiences.
 
There are scant details publicly available about Captain Kenneth Hewison-Smith, but what we do know from the contents of this lot would make an amazing film filled with heart-rending details, close encounters with danger, comedic moments, historical scope, and plenty of derring-do and stiff upper lips.
 
Kenneth Hewison-Smith was born on 2nd June 1914, just a few weeks before the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria would trigger what would become known as the ‘War to end all Wars’.  Kenneth’s father, Herbert George Smith, was one of the many millions enlisted in that global war and is recorded as being a Gunner for the Honourable Artillery Company (TE) 2.A. The earliest record amongst this lot is a letter to Mrs Smith from the Chaplain Corps informing her of her husband’s death at Valenciennes from influenza.  The First World War ended on 11th November 1918, and this letter is dated 22nd November; thereby dashing any hopes which Mrs Smith may have had that her 31 year old husband would return from the front.  We do not know what kind of support Mrs Smith received raising her son alone, she was certainly not the only woman in that situation at the time, but by 1928 Kenneth was a pupil at Clifton College in Bristol.  This lot includes letters from the school, academic certificates and press cuttings where Hewison-Smith is applauded for his prowess at rugby.  He is described in one school-masters’ letter as “a boy of exceptional ability, as is shown by the fact that, though primarily a mathematician, he was able to get a credit in the School Certificate in Greek, within a year of beginning the language” – displaying language skills which would be very useful just a few years later. Kenneth left Clifton College in 1933 and appears to have taken up a position at Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd (ICI).
 
“There can be few disappointments more crushing than that of the prisoner who loses his hope of deliverance at the very hour that he sees the gate of the prison opening to him.”
By 1939, the World was at war again. Lieutenant Kenneth Hewison-Smith was reported missing whilst in the Western Desert on 21st June 1942.  The following month he was confirmed as a Prisoner of War at the notorious Chieti PG21 camp in the Abruzzo region of Central Italy, as recorded by the official letter within this lot.  Chieti was overcrowded, with poor sanitation, little running water and great deprivation.  Conditions were so bad at this particular camp that it was raised for debate in the House of Commons.  Prisoners’ hopes must have been lifted when Italy signed the Armistice in September 1943, unfortunately a fateful blunder by British military intelligence meant that the Nazis were able to seize approximately 50,000 Allied prisoners and transport them to camps in Germany and Poland.  Through coded messages and radio reports British intelligence had instructed POWs in Italian camps to stay put until the Allies arrived. The Italian guards dutifully abandoned their posts as arranged, but the German Army wasted no time in taking over the camps – imagine their surprise at finding thousands of prisoners waiting patiently within the camp, under threat of Court Martial from their own superiors…
 
The prisoners were soon rounded up and transported to camps still within the Nazi held areas of the theatre of war.  It was during one of these transports that Hewison-Smith decided to escape.  His story and the subsequent year he spent trying to get to Allied lines through the Italian countryside is detailed in the manuscript included in this lot.  From the intrepid escape through a hole in the roof of the moving train carriage (badly injuring his leg in the process), to the kindness of Italian peasant families only too willing to help an Allied soldier helping to liberate their country from the Fascists; Hewison-Smith’s manuscript details everything from the dire camp conditions, his close encounters with German officers while travelling, the people who helped and their living conditions (he definitely did not develop a taste for Italian food...), and the other escapees he meets on his journey (British, Belgian, Indian, American, South African etc – in fact the Italian countryside appears to have been over-run with Allied POWs), right through to his eventual meeting with a French Moroccan battalion (the famous Goum) and safety within Allied held ground. 
  
His story is funny, fascinating and devastating at points.  Accompanying the manuscript, this lot includes the forged identity paper Smith mentions having made up with the name Morelli Ugo (whilst severely hungover), a telegram from his wife who was based at Bletchley begging him to ‘RETURN QUICKLY – I LOVE YOU’, and post-war letters from the Italian families who supported him describing their awful situation after the war and asking for support themselves.  Smith clearly intended to publish; there is a letter with notes from an interested publisher, but it appears that the manuscript ‘Capistrello’ (named after the village where Hewison-Smith stayed the longest) never made it print.
 
Once back in Britain, Hewison-Smith (now promoted to Captain) appears on the list for employees at Bletchley Park in Block F; but we do not know in what capacity.  He then appears to have returned to ICI and been based at their plant in Dumfries during the 1950s.  Very little more is known about Kenneth Hewison-Smith and he appears to have lived a quiet later life – although I imagine that he welcomed this after his astounding wartime adventures.
 
 
Young Farmers Competition
Lacy Scott & Knight were pleased to continue the tradition of sponsoring, jointly with Ensors, the Young Farmers competition, held at Otley, by kind permission of Thorney Cobbold Agricultural Trust, and Mr J Taylor of F G Taylor & Son.
 
The weather certainly wasn’t traditional, we could just see the growing crops under the snow, but nevertheless the spirit of competition kept everybody warm.  Well done to Brett Valley Young Farmers for winning the juniors and Debenham Young Farmers for winning the seniors competitions.
 
Kestrel Drive, Stowmarket
A well presented 3 bedroom house enjoying a good size corner plot with an adjacent parking space leading to a single garage.  Viewing highly recommended.
 
This good size and well presented property would be an ideal family home. It has full gas fired heating, double glazing and a master bedroom suite including a dressing area and en suite shower room.
 
Interested applicants are advised to view the property to appreciate the size, condition and location on offer.    
 
Outside
The property is set back behind a path with open plan front and side areas with planted and shingled borders.
 
The path leads to the side of the property with a gate to the enclosed rear garden which is laid mainly to lawn with a reasonable size patio area. There is outside lighting and an outside water supply.  There is also a timber garden shed with light and power connected.  The single garage has power and light connected also.
 
Location
Kestrel Drive is situated on the popular Cedars Park development to the South-East of Stowmarket town centre.  It enjoys excellent links via the A14 across the region to Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and beyond.
 
The mainline rail station and the town centre amenities are asily accessible.
 
Services
Mains water, electricity, drainage and gas are connected to the property.  Heating is provided by a gas fired boiler serving radiators.
 
Bramleys, 3a Upper Crossway Warren Lane, Elmswell
This property is a highly insulated energy efficient eco house constructed in 2014. It is timber framed with cedar cladding to all elevations under a slate roof. It has the benefit of the remainder of an original 10 year warranty.
 
It enjoys light and spacious accommodation throughout with a feature open plan kitchen/dining room well fitted and with full height vaulted ceiling and an oak staircase with glass balustrade. Floors are either ceramic tiled or engineered timber.
 
Outside
The property enjoys attractive gardens laid mainly to lawn and mainly South and East facing with paved and decked seating areas.
 
Ample car parking leading to a large GARAGE with remote control operated door. In total 0.22 acres (sts). 
 
Energy Efficiency and Features
- Heat recovery system extracting air from the building,      
  passes over a heat exchanger which heats the incoming air
- Triple glazed windows and patio doors
- Underfloor heating
- Thermal store using solar panels with gas boiler as back up
- Low energy inset lighting throughout
- Pumped hot water providing swift hot water to taps and to   
  heated towel rails
- Woodburning stove in Sitting Room   
- High speed fibre broadband

Location
This property is situated off Warren Lane, within the well served and well placed village of Elmswell.  The village offers a good range of local amenities which include a Co-op store,  branch rail station (Cambridge to Ipswich line), primary school, library, vets, post office, takeaways and public houses.
 
Further facilities can be found in the nearby historic market towns of Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket. The latter offers a direct rail service to London Liverpool Street (taking approximately 80 minutes).
 
17th Century Smithy, The Street, Bedingfield
“17th Century Smithy” presents very pleasant mellow red brick elevations to the front, under a tiled roof. Part of the property is understood to have been the smithy within the village, and the conversion of that area has been sympathetically undertaken.

The whole property offers flexible living arrangements, with two upstairs bedrooms, with the remainder of the accommodation downstairs, whereby Bedroom 4 could alternatively be used as a study. The kitchen has quartz worktops, and integrated fridge/freezer, dishwasher, multi function oven, and two ring electric hob. This is complemented by the Stanley oil fired range, which incorporates ovens and a hob.

The property offers much character, with the living room including a pamment floor surround, multi fuel burner in fireplace, beams, whilst many of the other downstairs floors are tiled in White Suffolk brick style tiles or flagstone style tiles to further add to the charm of this unique property.

The garden room allows a relaxed view into the extensive garden. There is also a large patio adjacent.
 
Outside
There is a small front garden, but the majority of the garden is to the rear, and is accessed via the drive at the side which opens into a private parking area.  Close to the house there is a large patio, well stocked shrub and flowerbeds, a sizeable summerhouse with power, water, and drainage understood to be connected, and a greenhouse. The summerhouse would make an ideal home office if required. The rear garden has been designed to attract a wide variety of wildlife and has numerous bedding plant beds and borders. There are raised vegetable beds, a mature herb garden, soft fruit area with blackcurrants, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries as well as a small orchard, which incorporates pear, plum and apple trees making this ideal for someone who wishes to grow their own produce and enjoy the benefits this offers.
 
The total site area is believed to be in excess of half acre.
 
2017 has been an amazing year at the Auction Centre
We’ve expanded our building, our sales calendar and our team.  Broken the record for a price on the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip, linked up with Asia’s largest online bidding platform, and sold some remarkable pieces including a collection of letters & autographs which featured in articles in several national newspapers, and sold the contents of Thorne Court near Bury St Edmunds.
In May, we opened our new and improved Auction Centre reception, office, facilities and cataloguing areas.  Despite the growth of online bidding, we are lucky enough to still welcome hundreds of clients through our doors, and our new look Auction Centre (opened by footballing legend Terry Butcher) has been appreciated by staff and visitors alike. Within a couple of weeks of our grand opening, we had the BBC Antiques Road Trip here – and it was clear that this was going to be a particularly special episode!  Amongst their experts’ haul was a circa 1864 Adolphe Bertsch Chambre Automatique sub-miniature camera.  This was one of the first 'automatic' cameras, and an incredibly desirable piece for photography enthusiasts and camera collectors.  Added to the allure was the fact that camera came in its original case along with reagent bottles and accessories.  Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of pre-sale interest and by the day of the auction we had 5 telephone lines booked and over 20 online watchers from both Europe and America.  Frenzied bidding ended with a hammer price of £20,000 - a record for one of our non-specialist sales and for the programme! 

Possibly, the biggest change to the auction world in recent years has been the growing prevalence of the internet – not just by enabling live bidding and fully illustrated catalogues at the click of a button, but also allowing clients from all over the world to bid in real-time at auctions.  We were one of the first provincial auction houses to host all of our auctions online, and in October we partnered with ePaiLive, Asia largest online bidding platform, to translate and host our specialist auctions across Asia – over 300,000 potential bidders in the world’s fastest growing Art & Antiques market!

We finished the year with a bumper four auctions over eight days – totalling almost 3000 lots.  Of these; the Home & Interiors auction broke our house record, as did the Coins, Medals & Militaria auction, but the absolute star of the show was the Fine Art & Antiques auction on Saturday 9th December.  This auction included much of the estate of Thorne Court near Bury St Edmunds, which was a treasure trove of quality antique furniture, the most beautiful 17th century longcase clock, stunning Chinese blue and white ceramics and a collection of very early daguerreotypes of and by Dr Alfred Swaine Taylor – otherwise known as the ‘father’ of forensic science but also a keen pioneer of early photography.  Alongside these lots was an immaculate collection of Meissen porcelain, a collection of Victorian bookplates, and some fabulous jewellery – all in all a perfect Christmas sale and a great way for us to end the year!

Looking ahead, you will notice that there are several new auctions included in our calendar.   The Art & Antiques market has become increasingly specialised, so we have created extra sales to benefit both vendors and collectors.  Our first Affordable Jewellery & Watches auction in October was a great success, so we have scheduled three more for 2018.  They will be joined by twice-yearly Country Pursuits (the first of which took place on Friday 8th December), and twice-yearly Music & Film Memorabilia.  

This is an exciting time to be involved in the world of art & antiques, and we look forward to what 2018 may bring!
 
Fieldgate, Church Road, Beyton
Fieldgate is a modern detached house, in good sized grounds, on the outskirts of Beyton.
 
The accommodation enjoys a high specification, all served by gas central heating, one of the 5 bedrooms is a ground floor bedroom, with en suite, possibly suitable as annexe, or letting for Airbnb.  The upstairs bedrooms all have either an en suite or a handbasin, and the house is ideal for a large or expanding family, to provide a lovely home in the popular A14 corridor near Bury St Edmunds.
 
The high specification includes a gas woodburner in the annexe, the well fitted chestnut wood kitchen including double oven, dishwasher, gas hob and large pantry, coal effect gas fire in the lounge, and high quality floor coverings.
 
Outside
To the front of the property there is a large gravelled and edged turning and parking area, in front of the garage.
 
The sizeable front garden is laid to lawn with shrub borders, and there is easy access around the side to the rear garden, which has a central lawn, small patio, summerhouse, and shrub borders.
 
Location
Fieldgate is on the southern entrance of the village, it is accessed off Cangles Lane.  There are rural walks nearby, whilst the village also offers a public house looking towards its popular central Village Green with a small stream running through it.
 
The previous Beyton Middle School now forms part of Thurston Sixth Form College.
 
2017 Housing Market
We will look back at 2017 as a steady year in residential property, the economic situation hasn’t been strong enough to prompt any huge increases in values, and many vendors are having to trim back their asking prices.
 
We have watched with more than a little amusement at some of the internet agents being told to kerb some of their advertising material, and in a market which isn’t easy, we are quite confident that good solid local advice is vitally important in pricing and presentation.
 
Of course you can’t get much better presentation than a new house, and individual new houses have sold very well, perhaps the star of the show was a  wonderful new house in about 1 acre at Redgrave just under £1,000,000 mark, whilst Hopkins Development at Octavia Gardens, Gazeley near Newmarket has had a fantastic response, this being first advertised in the early autumn.  Older houses haven’t missed the mark either, and a detached house for improvement in Stowmarket achieved 22 individual viewings in three weeks after being launched in the late autumn.
 
Surprisingly, the buy to let market remains strong, we have acted for several landlords purchasing buy to lets around the central Suffolk area.
 
This is despite the government trying to smother that market, with the cost of tax relief on mortgages, and the publication of the draft Tenant’s Fee Bill and extra Stamp Duty.
 
The imposition of minimum energy efficiency standards in April will start to weed out less modern properties which need updating, although it is a struggle to try and see how some of the older properties, which are inherently inefficient, can be brought up to modern criteria.
 
In the autumn budget the government announced that they will build 300,000 new homes a year.  The building industry is saying to us that there aren’t enough trades in the work place to achieve that, they also have doubts whether the supply chain of materials can up with that level of construction.
 
So we look ahead to 2018, and know that we will have distractions of the winter Olympics, and the football World Cup, and perhaps we start to see significant effects of Brexit, and how many further increases in interest rates. 
 
For those of us remembering the 1980’s, the interest rate was 7.5% in the first half of 1988, and then reached 15% in October 1989.
 
So we can draw a crumb of comfort from those years, and look forward positively to 2018.
 
Music & Movie Memorabilia
To be held every March & September

To include; classic & modern film and concert posters, rare & collectable vinyl, autographs, film & stage props, musical instruments, signed items, film scripts, concert tickets & other ephemera and collectables relating to the world of entertainment.

Are you a Beatle-maniac with a hoard of LPs but no record-player?  Do you have tickets for Nirvana’s 1994 tour (which didn’t go ahead for obvious reasons) languishing in a drawer beside your lumberjack shirt?  Did you collect horror film posters from the local video store, which looked great in your teenage bedroom but aren’t really suitable décor for your family home? Has your Star Wars collection got a bit too galactic?  Does that Gibson Les Paul guitar just remind you of a failed New Year’s Resolution? 

If so, our valuer Alex Manning wants to hear from you.  Entries invited until February 2018.

The Beatles Yellow Submarine UK Quad film poster £1,100
43 years ....
Our little piece about longevity in the business in the last edition prompted a note that our Brian Fullam has been with us for 43 years joining us on 1st July 1974.
New Year's Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time;  Bob Latchford, the Birmingham City Centre forward, became Britain's most expensive footballer in a £350,000 move to Everton and Don Revie, the manager of Football League champions Leeds United since 1961, accepted the Football Association's £200,000-a-year deal to become the new England manager (but he only lasted 3 years); Ceefax was started by the BBC – one of the first public service information systems; the first UK McDonald's opens in Woolwich, Southeast London; Lord Lucan disappeared after the murder of his children's nanny; No. 1 in the week Brian started – ‘She’ by Charles Aznavour;
 
Continuity and stability are vital in any business, and we do appreciate the loyalty which Brian has shown to us over the years.
 
His family were good enough to find us a photograph of Brian in his very early days, enjoying the summer weather.
 
Michael Gove Makes Speech Outlining Plans for Farming Subsidies Post Brexit
Immediately following the Brexit vote in 2016 the Government assured the farming community that they would continue to support the BPS system until at least 2020.
 
Environment Minister Mr Michael Gove has now confirmed that the Government will extend this support until 2022.  Whilst this is good news Mr Gove has made it clear that he feels future farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out, and the focus will be on obtaining value for money via measures which protect the environment and enhance rural life.

Farmers will only get payouts if they agree to protect the environment and enhance rural life, Mr Gove has stated.

The move is part of what he calls his vision for a "green Brexit".

Farmers’ leaders want the current £3bn total to be spent on the environment, more infrastructure to develop farm businesses, and promoting British food.

The government has promised to keep overall payments at the same level until 2022 and the Tenant Farmers' Association - which represents tenant farmers in England and Wales - has called for the same amount of money to remain after that time.

Mr Gove has criticised the current system for giving money to some of the UK's wealthiest landowners, for encouraging wastage, and for not recognising "good environmental practice".

He has explained that Brexit is "an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet".

Loss of wildlife
Critics say under the CAP wealthy UK landowners are given subsidies of up to £3m a year.
The issue was highlighted last year when BBC News revealed that taxpayers are paying more than £400,000 a year to subsidise a farm where a billionaire breeds racehorses.

Environmentalists will applaud the promise of change; they blame the CAP for the huge loss of wildlife in the British countryside. Environment Secretary says that CAP puts resources in the hands of the already wealthy.

Mr Gove said in his speech: “There are very good reasons why we should provide support for agriculture. Seventy per cent of our land is farmed - beautiful landscape has not happened by accident but has been actively managed.

“Agriculture is an industry more susceptible to outside shocks and unpredictable events - whether it’s the weather or disease. So financial assistance and mechanisms which can smooth out the vicissitudes farmers face make sense."

He also expressed a desire to protect the “human ecology” of Britain’s highlands, where farming without subsidy is impossible.

This won’t please radical environmentalists, who want Mr Gove to save money (and in their view enhance the environment) by letting sheep farming wither, and allowing the uplands to revert to natural forest.

The Country Land and Business Association, known as the CLA, accepts the need for reform and has launched a plan for a land management contract.

Ross Murray, president of the CLA - which represents owners of land, property and businesses in England and Wales - said there is "vital work to be done", including to support farming practices, to manage soils and preserve land.

When pressed on whether rich landowners should receive public money, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was open to change but practices such as tree planting - which are good for the environment but provide landowners with little benefit - should still be recognised.

Asked if farming subsidies could be reduced in the future, he added: "In the long term perhaps, but in the meantime I think we're going to have to support farmers who provide public goods which could never be provided by the market."

Craig Bennett, head of Friends of the Earth, welcomed the speech, but said: “Current EU rules aimed at tackling air pollution and climate change and protecting our birds, bees and nature must not be watered down, and mechanisms must be put in place to enforce them post-Brexit."

One crucial question will be who has the final say on proposed developments in the UK's prime wildlife sites. At the moment they are protected by the EU as part of Europe's common heritage. That protection may disappear after Brexit.
 
1977 & All That
So what happened 40 years ago?  Geoff Boycott scores his 100th Century; First Concord service to New York; Star Wars is first screened in the UK.

But more particularly in June 1977 our own Senior Partner Chris Philpot (pictured in the 1980's) embarked on his career working for Chartered Surveyors & Agents in the centre of Ipswich.

After a move to Stowmarket in 1980 and then a move to R C Knight & Sons (now part of Lacy Scott & Knight) in 1982 he reflects on changes, primarily of course mobile phones and the internet.  He remembers that 40 years ago half the battle was knowing where to find information, whereas nowadays it is all available at a click on Google.

A terraced house would cost somewhere between £6,000 and £8,000, and the profession was not swamped by legislative red tape.  June 1977 was also the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, so has Chris still got another 25 years to go to catch up!
Auction Centre Opening
It’s fair to say, that this has been a hectic couple of months. We’ve moved into our new offices, hosted BBCs Antiques Road Trip (which will definitely be one to watch when it airs in August), had a grand opening with former Ipswich Town & England captain Terry Butcher, held a charity auction which raised over £7000 for GeeWizz charity, and worked incredibly hard to put together a house record-breaking double auction. 
 
The grand opening night was a particular highlight, not least because it involved some fabulous wine kindly supplied by Sumaridge Estate!  We have worked closely with Gina Long, founder of Geewizz Charity, for many years and been privileged to provide support to previous charity auctions.   Now that we have such prestigious premises, the chance to hold a charity auction in-house seemed an opportunity too good to miss – and to have footballing legend Terry Butcher, an ambassador of Geewizz, as a guest was a particular boon for most of our team.
 
It was a fantastic turnout with representatives from among our clients, local businesses and solicitors, former Bury St Edmunds mayor Patrick Cheung, and supporters of the charity.  The catering students from West Suffolk College did an excellent job providing mouth-watering canapes, and the afore-mentioned wine kept the conversation flowing.  The auction comprised 9 lots kindly donated by local businesses to include meals at award-winning restaurants such as Maison Bleue and No. Ten, a team-building day at Go Ape, a days shoot from Hall Farm, a framed and signed Beatles photograph from photographer Tom Murray, Culford School Opera in the Park tickets, and an evening at Ravenwood Hall.  There was also the chance to win your weight in that wine which we seem to keep mentioning! 
 
Fine Art manager Ed Crichton took to the rostrum and after fawning over Terry Butcher, and thanking the many people who made the evening possible including the Lacy Scott & Knight partners and especially the much-missed Rowland Beaney, architect Paul Scarlett, and developers Hartog Hutton, the auction got underway.
 
Everybody bid generously and we were absolutely over the moon to exceed our hopes and raise over £7000.  All proceeds are going to GeeWizz with the intention of buying a ‘Magic Carpet’ for Riverwalk School, here in Bury St Edmunds. A ‘Magic Carpet’ was on display on the night, and our guests had the chance to see what a fantastic interactive sensory resource it could be for disabled children. 
 
The evening continued with Terry Butcher kindly agreeing to sign catalogues and be photographed with fans, and a plaque commemorating the opening was unveiled in our reception.  It was a great night all round, and I’m sure it won’t be the only time we hold such an event! 
Another Happy Customer!
Selling houses is what we do for a living, so thanks are not necessary, but are nonetheless most welcome.

A card or maybe a bottle of something are the usual, but ocassionally there is something special. 

Stowmarket office received a beautiful big bunch of lilies together with an enormous sponge cake from Jason and Claire Ritchie following the recent sale of their house in Battisford.

They said "your hard work has allowed our family to have a complete change of lifestyle" as they start the 500 mile journey north to their new home in the Hebrides.  We wish them all the very best.
The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world
Correspondence and ephemera belonging to Miss Olive Rattle – beloved nanny and friend to the Royal Family.  

This collection comprises postcards, photographic Christmas cards, letters, and invitations from various members of the Royal Family including Prince Charles & Lady Diana, Princesses Alexandra and Michael of Kent, Prince Edward Duke of Kent, and James Ogilvy, to Nanny Rattle.  Also included is Miss Rattle’s Royal Victorian Medal along with signed note from HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and Royal Wedding memorabilia.

The image of the British nanny is ingrained in people’s minds as the paradigm of caring discretion and resourcefulness with a no-nonsense approach.  Whether it’s the ‘practically perfect in every way’ Mary Poppins, Nana the devoted St Bernard dog in Peter Pan, the heroic team of Nannies in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, or more recently Nanny McPhee; there is a certain image which springs to mind at the mention of the traditional British nanny.  It is also a truism that Nanny’s often play an especially important part in their charges life and continue to support and influence them long after their official employment stops.  Wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote in his autobiography "I loved my mother dearly - but at a distance. My nurse was my confidante. Mrs. Everest it was who looked after me and tended all my wants. It was to her I poured out all my many troubles.”, MP Jacob Rees-Moog took his former nanny canvassing with him in 1997, while many Nannies were gifted homes for life or pensions to fall back on in the future.

The Nannies of the Royal Family have experienced more exposure than most, and many of us are familiar with Queen Victoria’s beloved Lehzen, our current monarch’s apparently duplicitous ‘Crawfie’, and the Tiggy Legge-Bourke saga of the 1990s.  However, most Nannies do their utmost to stay under the radar and focus solely on their VIP charges.  Miss Olive Rattle was one of them.

We know very little about Miss Rattle aside from what can be gleaned from this collection – and what a testimony it is to her devotion to duty!  Possibly originally hailing from the Ipswich area, Olive Rattle was working as a nanny either in or close to the Royal Family in the 1950s. By the 1960s though, she worked for Princess Alexandra of Kent (cousin of Queen Elizabeth II) and Sir Angus Ogilvy, helping to raise their children James (b.1964) and Marina (b.1966).  She resided along with the family at Thatched House Lodge in Richmond Park for many years, and most of this correspondence is addressed to her there.  Since the 1950s until 2013 when chronic arthritis forced her to cancel engagements, Princess Alexandra was one of the most active members of the Royal Family (on average performing up to 120 engagements per year); and she clearly had full confidence in Miss Rattle to care for her children while travelling.  One letter from the Princess while on a foreign tour enquires after James’ behaviour and Marina’s dancing lessons, but is not unduly concerned about being away from her children for a long period of time!

A particularly engaging part of this collection is a series of photographic Christmas cards from Prince Charles to Nanny.  Beginning with the Prince as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, the cards progress through the years and the Prince is joined by Diana Princess of Wales then also the two young princes William and Harry.  Another lovely item is a thank you letter for silver wedding anniversary presents signed by both the Queen and Prince Philip.

The 1980s saw Nanny Rattle awarded the Royal Victorian Medal in the 1984 New Year’s Honours list for services to the Royal Family and her retirement from nannying. By the 1990s she was living in sheltered accommodation in Kennington. The last dated letters in the collection are from her now grown-up and married charge James Ogilvy, they thank her for the children’s Christmas presents and entreat her to look after herself as they had heard she had been unwell.   Sadly, Nanny Rattle died just a short time later in 2000.

This is a fabulous collection offering a personal insight into the devotion and dedication of one woman’s role close to one of the most famous and beloved family’s in the world.  It will be offered in our 10th June Fine Art auction with viewing on the Thursday & Friday prior.
 
Energy Performance Certificate
It has been common knowledge for some time that residential properties will need to comply with a minimum Energy Performance Rating of “E” for renewals or lettings after 1st April 2018, but what has been a little quieter is the fact that commercial property will also need an “E” or better.  The standard between residential and commercial are different, but clearly it might be harder to insulate or improve the EPC rating on a commercial property than on a residential.

There are certain exemptions for a commercial property when an EPC is not needed, and we have a little concern that if a commercial letting is going ahead after that date, it could come unstuck if the property does not comply with an EPC.  Prudent landlords may wish to obtain the EPCs or check the EPCs on the units which are commercial properties which are known to becoming available or for a lease renewal after 1st April 2018 so they have ample reaction time.
Bury St Edmunds even bigger and better Auctioneers
Whether it’s been the annexing of part of the car park, the presence of some friendly builders, or the physical manifestation of something taking shape in front of our salerooms; regulars and locals can’t fail to have noticed that we’ve grown over recent months.  It has taken four years from our initial meetings with the architects Brown & Scarlett to crossing the threshold once construction company Hartog Hutton had finished their labours, but finally, on Monday 10th April, we moved into our new offices and reception area.   The whole endeavour has been a large investment in the future of the firm, and we think it is money very well spent!

The biggest change will be that clients will now enter a large and comfortable reception area and be welcomed by one of our two new team members Mary and Rachel.  Also, Helen and Caroline (previously confined to a dark and forbidding attic) will be just through reception in our new offices.  The reception area (with sofas, water cooler, auction preview displays and toilets) then leads on to our two revamped salerooms. Upstairs, we have a new meeting room so that clients can consign their items in privacy, and extra secure areas which will provide some much-needed cataloguing and storage space.

Over the last decade, the auction world has changed considerably and we have kept abreast of all the new developments.  We were one of the first provincial auctioneers to adopt live bidding across all of our sales, we have introduced an in-house packing & postage department, we are on top of all the relevant legislation introduced (including restrictions on ivory, firearms and rosewood furniture etc), and all of our catalogues online are fully illustrated with results available immediately after the auction.  However, despite being lucky enough to still have a full house come sale day, I think it’s fair to say that we had neglected the physical aspect of our auctions!  This is why we have put so much time and effort into our new extension and hope that our clients like it as much as we do.

On the horizon, we also anticipate extending our sales calendar and specialisations. Currently we hold three-weekly General Antiques & Collectables auctions, quarterly Fine Arts & Antiques and Toys & Models auctions, twice-yearly Twentieth Century Design and Coins, Medals & Militaria, as well as our annual Wine, Port & Spirits auction.  Further to this, although we are open for free valuations and consignments Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm (basically if we’re here, you can be too), we are hoping to offer extra out-of-hours opportunities for people to bring items into our experts.

It’s a very exciting time and we look forward to welcoming you in our new environment!
Surveys
We have to smile.  On a recent survey on a recently modernised property, we couldn’t work out why a base of a wall in one spot was warm.  Electrical fault?  Heating points? None seemed to fit the scenario.  It turns out that the builder had had a fan heater on the wall for most of the morning prior to our visit, to try and dry out the damp.  It is a pity really as the rest of the house looked to have been very well improved, and the damp itself wasn’t particularly evident.
 
The problem on old houses is that damp can take a very long time to dry out, even when the original course has been removed.
Young Farmers Quiz
The annual Lacy Scott & Knight Young Farmers Quiz took place last Sunday morning (April 9th) on what was the hottest day of the year to date.  The event was hosted at Old House Farm, Hintlesham and saw 15 teams enjoying the sunshine while they dealt with the questions posed.  Thanks to co-sponsors Ensors and we will look forward to doing it all again in 2018.
A fitting end to an era
As the building of our extension nears completion and we prepare to move from our dark and dusty attic-like offices into a bright and shiny new space, it was great to have a month of excellent, and in some cases record-breaking, auctions. 

The 4th March General Antiques & Collectables was our highest total yet for a general auction, with excellent prices for brown furniture and paintings, as well as the expected current buoyancy in the jewellery market.  The top price was an unanticipated £1350 for three 19th century ‘rock crystal’ rings, this was closely followed by £1150 for a modern Duresta sofa. It was a massive auction of 1300 lots, but the fantastic total took the sting out of the tail of working late! 

After a quick turnaround in the saleroom, we held our Twentieth Century Design and Fine Art & Antiques auctions the following weekend.  

Despite generally attracting a younger crowd who are happier to bid online, it was good to see a full saleroom for the Twentieth Century Design auction.   The sale started well with a triple estimate £900 for a 1960s Poole Pottery vase within the first 10 lots, and continued to impress. Top prices included £3800 for a Georg Jensen cutlery suite, a William de Morgan glazed tile for £1150, £2600 for a Christian Dior design necklace, £1100 for a Beatles Yellow Submarine poster, and £1000 for a pair of Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson oak tables. Looking at the results, it is clear that with these sales in particular big names and stylish design are key to attracting bidders and getting the best prices.

The top price was £4500 for our front cover lot; an oil on canvas by Ruskin Spear CBE RA (1911-1990). Due to childhood polio, Spear used a wheelchair and much of his art captured his immediate surroundings, such as pubs, shops, or as in this example, sheltering from the rain at the seaside.  Works by Spear hang in the Tate, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the National Portrait Gallery.

After a few hours’ respite, we returned on Saturday for our Fine Art & Antiques auction.  The sale started with an excellent Books & Written Ephemera section which included a collection of 18th & 19th century letters, journals and other documents relating to the Elliot family and the baronets of Minto. A group of the Honourable George Elliot’s (1822-1901) journals sold for an unprecedented £3200.

Thankfully the momentum continued and there were big prices across all sections to include; a pair of rare 18th century Mennecy porcelain jars and covers with Chinese blanc-de-chine decoration for £2200; a pair of cultured pearl and diamond earrings by Graff for £7500; £3500 for a 1970s Omega chronograph, £3100 for a pair of Victorian coaching lamps, £2400 for a Thomas Smythe oil on canvas, and £3700 for a mid-18th century walnut hall table.

Unsurprisingly, with the jewellery market being so enthusiastic at the moment, the highest price of the day was £11,000 for a pair of Art Deco white gold and diamond ear pendants.

We look forward to our imminent move (in particular the official launch party), and hope that this month’s auctions are a sign of increasing confidence and buoyancy in the Art & Antiques market.
A piece of history
Early in March we were delighted to be given a photograph by Steve & Sue Williams of the Stowmarket History Group.
 
This is a very old photograph showing our history, and believed to be taken in around 1890.  The main building on the corner was R C Knight & Sons offices until about 1984, when it was demolished to make way for the bottom of the precinct which now leads to Asda.
 
We are currently housed in the Public House (The White Hart) to the left, and many of the features of that old building can still be recognised.
 
“Peddars” became Hunt, Peddar & Knight, which eventually became R C Knight & Sons, we then merged with Lacy Scott to become Lacy Scott & Knight.
 
Ampton Point to Point
On Sunday the 12th March Lacy Scott & Knight sponsored the Men’s Open race at Ampton Point to Point the weather was warm and the rain stayed off. The race had only one horse running, one of the best Point to Pointers in the country and no other horses were prepared to take this horse on! The winning horse was Broken Eagle and is owned by Mr and Mrs Exelby. Our congratulations go to the owner, rider and off course Broken Eagle. the picture is Rob Swiney  (Lacy Scott & Knight) presenting the prize to the owners.
Increases to Probate Fees
After the rush to purchase buy to lets in the early months 2016, because of increased in Stamp Duty, we are now having the 2017 rush, because of the increases in probate fees.

A flat fee currently applies of £215 if reporting privately, or £155 if done by a solicitor, but this will increase to £20,000 for estates worth £2,000,000 or more, from May 2017.

 At this moment it is unclear whether this is the 1st May or the 31st May, but it seems that the date will reflect when probate is applied for, rather than the date of death.

 It will be on a sliding scale, and will be in addition to Inheritance Tax.
Agricultural News
With the 2017 applications opening in the next month the RPA has announced that they have issued 2016 Basic Payments to over 93 per cent of all claimants, 2 months ahead of schedule.

Despite a report fall of around 4 per cent for average arable land values, as recent sales have shown whilst there is still a steady demand for amenity and horse paddock land.

With reports of outbreaks of bird flu (the serious and notifiable disease H5N8) continue, BASC, CA, CLA, GFA, GWCT, NGO and SGA have produced a guidance note on Avian Flu which supports DEFRA’s advice. Specific information regarding gamebirds can be found at www.nationalgamekeepers.org. The legal requirement to house kept birds or to otherwise separate them from wild birds will remain in place throughout Great Britain until at least 28th February 2017.  Where housing is not possible, the legal requirement is to take ‘reasonable and practical measures’ to separate all kept gamebirds and poultry from wild birds.

Defra has announced the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) for 2017-20. NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 58% of land in England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviews NVZs every 4 years to account for changes in water pollution.

NVZs for 2017 to 2020 started on 1 January 2017. They include new areas of NVZs, and exclude areas that have been de-designated. Landowners can check whether their farm falls within an NVZ by using the “What’s in your backyard” tool.

However DEFRA has addressed many of the notifying letters to agents not the landowners, having referred to the RPA database. Unfortunately the only individual identification on the letters is the NVZ identification number which does not relate to anything we have access to.

A DEFRA spokesperson told Farmers Weekly the department was aware of the issue, but had sent out the letters to make agents and farmers aware of the designations.  They said DEFRA would be sending out further letters directly to farmers whose notifications had been sent to agents. This was expected to happen in the next month and would reset people’s 28-day appeals deadline date. If you are uncertain whether your land falls within an NVZ or have difficulty viewing the maps online then you can contact the Environment Agency.

It has been a good start for potato prices which have remained strong, finishing at an average £205 per tonne for GB average and £245 per tonne for average free-buy despite volatility earlier in the month. The 2016 has continued to store well with limited reports of wet rot, blackheart and temperature damage in ambient stores.

Approval for the use of the active herbicide ingredient, linuron, has been withdrawn by The European Commission Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.
Auction History
With our 150th anniversary fast approaching and the latest stage of our development literally taking shape outside, we thought now would be a good time to reflect on Lacy Scott & Knight’s history as an auction house.  

The auction side of the business was established in 1869 by Henry Lacy Scott, and we have been an integral part of historic Bury St Edmunds ever since.  The company was later enlarged to Lacy Scott & Sons, and then further expanded when we merged with Knight’s estate agents of Stowmarket in 1997.  We are now one of the largest salerooms in the East of England, and hold a diverse range of specialist and general sales throughout the year.  However, our early history was less Fine Art and more Fat Sows, as befits Auctioneers of a regional market town!

The first mention of the firm was in the Bury Free Press of 9th July 1869 in the form of an announcement; “Mr Henry Lacy Scott begs to advise as to his setting up in business as an Auctioneer and Valuer, the office being at No.3 Guildhall Street”.

Within a few years, Henry Lacy Scott founded a livestock market behind the Market Tavern (now Gym Bar) on Risbygate Street in 1874.  It soon became the vibrant heart of the town; bustling with dealers, auctioneers, farmers, and drovers, as well as children who loved to see the farm animals.   Henry, who was also a borough councillor and twice mayor, was joined by his sons Archibald and Reginald around the turn of the century before dying in 1904.  The cattle market gradually expanded, briefly interrupted by WWI in which Reginald served.  In the 1920s & ‘30s, Archibald’s own sons Henry and John (who our two salerooms are named after), joined the firm.

The excitement of market day was immortalised in literature when Adrian Bell (father of MP & journalist Martin) described his visit there while training to be a farmer in the 1920s

“All the while the air was filled with the lowing of cattle, the slithering of hoofs, pigs quarrelling, and bells ringing. The large pigs seemed indifferent to their surroundings, sleeping until the auctioneer came to them and the crowd poked them to sudden panic.  Each, as sold, received an indigo blue hieroglyph upon its back, and was soon once more in deep slumber… Everywhere sticks waved; one of the undertones of the place was the continual tattoo of them pattering upon hides.  Men stood conferring solemnly with their hands upon a bullock’s back, as though it were a sacred relic they were swearing by, or raised themselves and stood on the rails to get a comprehensive view of a particular penful.”
Corduroy, Published 1930.

To read the full Auction History go to http://www.lskauctioncentre.co.uk/news/
Stowmarket Hornets
Stowmarket Hornets (Under 11’s) travelled to Cliff Lane, Ipswich on Sunday for their lunchtime fixture with Ipswich and Suffolk Youth League rivals Ipswich Valley Rangers.  The Hornets were looking for a fourth win in a row, but on a very chilly day suffered a 4-1 defeat against a strong home side.

Before the game the players got together for a team photograph to show off their new kit which has been sponsored by Stowmarket Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors, Lacy Scott & Knight.  Hopefully Sunday’s loss will only be a temporary setback, and they will soon be back on the winning trail.
Floors
During a recent inspection and report by our Surveyor Chris Philpot, he was interested to find that neither the previous tenant, nor the landlord, nor the potential purchaser knew of a problem with the floors which was quickly apparent to those with experience.
 
A small proportion of 1920s and 1930s properties were built with floors of boards laid onto a concrete screed, but without the benefits of modern damp proofing materials.  As a result the floorboards warp and eventually become loose.
 
Thick carpets can disguise the problem, but it does not appear to be in any text books, but nevertheless is found by a relatively regular basis around the Suffolk area.  Rectifying the problem is quite expensive and disruptive, proving that cost of a survey would be money well spent.
 
For more information on surveying and our services, please contact Chris Philpot on 01449 612384 or email cphilpot@lsk.co.uk.
The Great Ivory Debate
No doubt if you are interested in, or trade in, antiques, you will be aware that there is currently a far-reaching and emotive debate taking place regarding the sale of ivory. For centuries, ivory has been used to produce items currently traded as antiques such as piano keys, teapot finials, chess pieces, furniture inlays and carved artworks.  Particularly in the East, ivory has great religious significance to many cultures. Because ivory is a natural organic material which is also virtually indestructible, ivory has been viewed as having mystical powers that could only be attributed to a deity.  But the shocking demise of elephants and rhinoceros, and other species in the wild, means that we need to take stock of what our desire for ivory is doing to the natural world.
 
The current UN law (passed 1989) in the trade of ivory states that items must be ‘worked’ and to have been produced pre-1947.  This was primarily intended to save elephants, but the result has often been counterproductive because restricting supply in a time of increasing wealth in Asia (the largest market for ivory) has driven up prices.  There is also some confusion under the current law as to what constitutes ‘worked’; in February four London dealers were forced to destroy silver figures of Beefeaters with carved ivory faces and ivory finials on silver teapots at an antiques fair in Miami. While further uncertainty is attached to the date issue; until very recently traders could decide for themselves if the items were pre-1947, but were not required to provide documentary proof of age.

This grey area has proved tricky for reputable auction houses and antiques dealers to navigate.  For example, as it stands, we will sell Japanese Meiji period okimono and netsukes because they have been ‘worked’ (i.e. thoroughly carved and no longer resemble their original form), and they are pre-1947.  However, partly due to restrictions, the lucrative trade in ivory means that recently carved items have entered the market and it can be difficult to ascertain their true age.  Likewise, items such as carved tusks are not necessarily considered ‘worked’ because they are still quite clearly tusks.   In these situations auction houses such as ours err on the side of caution and will not accept them for sale.
 
On the back of this, there is the ongoing mass slaughter of elephants and rhinoceros.  The numbers are truly appalling.   According to Save The Elephants “an estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012”.  A study by Great Elephant Census states that “the population of savannah elephants declined by 30% between 2007 and 2014”. It is clear that something needs to be done if we want elephants to exist for future generations.  
 
However, the main impetus appears to be to reduce demand, rather than supply.  Aside from its aesthetic value, ivory is prized in many parts of Asia as a status symbol, investment, and is used in the production of drugs.  There are concerns that an imminent outright ban could speed up the massacre of elephants and make illegal poaching and trade even more lucrative as it is forced underground.  Organised crime currently drives the ivory industry, and they will be the main beneficiaries if legal markets are closed down.  A lesser evil, but an interesting comparison is alcohol prohibition in America – Americans kept drinking and only bootleggers and gangsters benefitted.  There is also the fact that some poor communities, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, rely on poaching as their only means of survival. Nonetheless, legal traders will also be adversely affected by an outright ban.  A LAPADA (London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association) spokesperson estimates that approx. 350 of their members would go out of business if a complete ban was enforced.  This is without even considering the countless, sometimes centuries old, works of art and antiques which could no longer be traded and may actually be destroyed. 
 
There are many salient points on both sides, and while none of us wants to see the continued destruction of elephants and rhinos, we certainly don’t want to hasten their demise with ill-considered laws. The CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species) conference began on 24th September, and members will vote on the closure of domestic ivory markets, which several countries oppose, including Japan, Namibia and South Africa.   Whatever the outcome, we all welcome clarity in the law and hope that this issue can be resolved satisfactorily.
Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has now received Royal Ascent. Although there is much detail to follow we have picked aspects of the Act that may impact landowners with potential residential development land.
 
Permission in Principle (PiP)
There is the introduction of Permission in Principle (PiP) where Local Authorities will theoretically identify land which in principle can be developed subject to the scale of development.  For land to qualify for Permission in Principle it will need to meet the relevant Local Authority criteria and Technical Details Consent will still be required to obtain a planning permission.
 
Resolving disputes over planning obligations
The Act introduces legislation relating to the Resolution of Disputes about planning obligations/Section 106 Agreements.  There will be a timetable agreed for outstanding issues on Section 106 Agreements to be determined and where necessary an independent person will be appointed to determine the final terms of the Section 106 Agreement to prevent delays in determination of planning permission.
 
Starter Homes
Local Authorities must promote the supply of starter homes which are likely to be new dwellings or conversions available to purchase for qualifying first time buyers only.  Starter homes will be sold at a discount of at least 20% of the Market Value and to be sold at less than a price cap £250,000 (outside of London).  It is likely that starter homes will be subject to a number of restrictions although the details are not clear. Restrictions may including a period within which, if the dwelling is resold, a discount should still apply and possibly a requirement to sell to another qualifying buyer.
 
Self-Build and Custom house building
Local Authorities would be required to maintain a register of people interested in self-build and custom build housing.  The level of demand for this type of development land will be monitored as a result of the number of registrations and this will inform the Local Authorities on the need for this type of housing when preparing their Strategic Housing Market Assessment.  This infers that ultimately there will need to be provision of self-build and custom build plots which equates to the number of people on the register. Ultimately this may create an opportunity to identify and allocate land for this type of development. In other words if you would like a self-build plot get registered and this may lead to the allocation of suitable land.
 
If you would like to discuss any of the topics above please contact Alex Turner on 01284 748614 or email aturner@lsk.co.uk.
A Time to Grow
Over the past 130 years, Lacy Scott & Knight has established itself as one of the East of England’s leading property consultants and fine art auctioneers. With a qualified team of experienced agents and valuers operating in the residential, commercial, rural and antique and collectables sectors, they provide a range of bespoke services that are focused on the needs of their clients. Senior Partner, Chris Philpot, looks to the future....

We have a diverse and dynamic business and when planning the different sections of our new publication we came to appreciate our many facets and how well we integrate and complement each other.

It shows we are not simply estate agents selling houses, although that is of course one of the most obvious profiles, but also you will see how we offer advice over a variety of property types and how the Auction Centre has become one of the most significant sale rooms outside London.

It is pleasing that we have such an active agricultural department in this farming community, and that we can assist on many aspects of advice in an environment that is becoming increasingly bound up with regulations and red tape.

We always think laterally to ensure we are cross-selling our skills and knowledge to bene t our clients. We constantly look at the bigger picture, working to obtain the best results. We recently launched our new website to improve our online presence.  The site presents our full-service offering, our background and people. It also gives you the opportunity to keep in touch by signing up to our e-newsletters and auction catalogues or following us on social media.

If you have not seen a copy of the aforementioned publication do get in touch to request a copy.  It's top class presentation, which is timed to launch with the new website, and reflects a lot of very hard work both within, and outside, Lacy Scott and Knight, for which I am very grateful.

Chris Philpot
Senior Partner
01449 612384
cphilpot@lsk.co.uk

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