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/