30 November 2001

Bygones need a new museum

A COLLECTOR of all things nostalgic is looking for a new home to accommodate the nine thousand items of memorabilia he has displayed in his Gloucester Docks Museum for the last 17 years.

Robert Opies array of advertising and packaging dating back to the Victorian era is a unique collection of household items that he started amassing some 38 years ago.

Over 650,000 visitors have poured through the doors of his dockside emporium of memories, from school parties to foreign tourists, all fascinated to recall the way we were, many eager to let the collection jog the mind to days gone by.

Now the towering Albert Warehouse is to be developed into up-market apartments and Mr Opie has the task of re-housing his examples of yesteryears packaging designed to persuade folk to part with their sixpences and shillings.

"I am sad that the museum has to close and I have accepted that I will have to store the collection for a while, but I am optimistic that eventually the museum will be pulling in the crowds again," says Mr Opie. "It has been a great attraction in Gloucester, so if I can find another venue I know it will be a success."

With agriculture in the doldrums and farm buildings lying dormant, this could be just the opportunity for an enterprising farmer to obtain that elusive alternative income. A display of Cow and Gate in the cow shed or Bovril ads in the barn comes with a bonus – they dont need feeding or mucking out, just the occasional flick with a duster.

Mike Charity

The way things were: Robert Opie is looking for a new home for his collection.