Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Don't miss Hungerford Arcade on the BBC's Bargain Hunt, Friday, 2nd August at 12.15 p.m.  Settle down in front of the television with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit and just relax for 45 minutes of great entertainment!

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Hungerford Arcade was transported back to the Middle Ages when regular customer, Stephen Payne called in to buy things for his fascinating hobby. I am sure you will enjoy Stephen's story about himself and his hobby!

I am a Living History re-enactor specialising in the middle ages period (circa 1485) and as such I ‘play’ three very different characters, a mercenary ‘Man-at-Arms’, a goldsmith and a Peddler. During the summer I travel to castles and stately homes around the south of England, taking part in jousts, battles and trading fairs. My three very different characters are:

1.      Master Stephen – Peddler
The origin of the word peddler is unknown, but it might come from the French ‘pied’ or Latin ‘pedis’ meaning "foot", referring to a trader on foot. Peddlers usually carried their wares in a back pack or used a cart and were important visitors to any village. Poor roads meant wealthy merchants saw no profit in rural areas, giving an opportunity for Hawkers to make money trading between villages and hamlets which rarely saw anyone else. They bought, sold and bartered second-hand goods among the villages and brought in new goods in from neighbouring towns and ports. Most carried an extremely diverse range of goods which could be sold or bartered and included: combs, pins, cheap jewellery, knives, woodenware, knitted goods, books, needles and needlecases, cloth, metalware, baskets, rings, wooden instruments, dyes, ink, paper, parchment, rugs, pots, religious objects, spices, caps, yarn, stockings, ready-made shoes, wool hats, cups, flagons, brushes, brooms and wooden toys. They had to be careful when trading woollen items, especially in raw form or on rolls as the Guilds were jealous of their monopoly. Peddlers and Hawkers also had to be careful not to encroach upon the livelihood of local blacksmiths when trading or repairing metal items as every village depended on the local blacksmith for several services and could not afford to alienate them. 

2.      Stephen of Loxwood – Mercenary Man-at-Arms
‘Man-at-Arms’ was a medieval term for a professional soldier. It was used to describe a fully armoured heavy foot soldier who was occasionally mounted, but while all knights certainly were men-at-arms, not all men-at-arms were knights. The man-at-arms primarily denoted a military function, rather than a social rank. The military function was to fight. Stephen is an ‘old soldier’ with twenty years experience on the battlefield. Although not wealthy, (his clothing and equipment shows the wear and tear of long service) he has accumulated a large variety of practical equipment, interesting stories and scars over the years. As a professional soldier, Master Stephen fights on foot, on horseback, in line formation or on his own. He gets regular pay from his Lord and also collects whatever items of value he can find after a battle, giving half to his Lord in tribute. His current employer is Sir William Marshall, Knight Commander of the forces of the Earl of Arundel.

3.      Master Stephen – Goldsmith
The relative value of jewellery was much higher in the middle ages than it is today. It was said that at his wedding, Charles V of Burgundy wore ‘jewels, crowns, belts, rings and other good worked stuff’ worth the county of Shropshire and everything in it (around £50-£100 billion by today’s standards). Gemstones were prized both for their looks and for magical properties. Pope Clement VII consumed over 40,000 golden ducats worth of ground gemstones by his death in 1534 in an attempt to cure his various illnesses. The geographical origin of gems in medieval jewellery shows the extent of trade throughout the world, for example the 53.5 carat ‘Sancy’ diamond belonging to Charles the Bold and listed amongst his possessions at his death in 1477 originated in India, and the 194.7 carat ‘Orloff’ diamond in the Russian crown jewels was originally the left eye of a statue in a Brahmin temple in Madras. Master Stephen trades in small pieces to the local nobility, concentrating on rings and hat badges.

The Hungerford Arcade is an excellent place to find all manner of goods for these three characters. A recent visit netted some silver plate and pewter dishes, goblets for a banquet, a wooden stool and some jewellery which was taken apart, gold plated, and is now a series of hat badges being worn by the ‘Destrier Pro’ international jousting team. Previous pieces bought in the arcade have been reworked into items shown on film and TV shows such as ‘The Tudors’, ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Robin Hood’. A surprising find was some long hazel stakes which can now be seen as the support poles for the awning of the Peddlers cart (see photo).

Master Stephen - Goldsmith

The Peddler with hazel stakes made into support poles for the Peddler's awning

Some shiny finds from Hungerford Arcade

Friday, 26 July 2013


What an exciting visitor we had at Hungerford Arcade.  His name? Terry English.  Terry surprised us all by saying that he is an Armourer and makes arms and armour for films!  A huge "WOW" rang out with "Tell us more, tell us more!"

Well, Terry started working for L.H. Nathams Theatrical Costumers in London's West End as a Theatrical Metal Worker making mainly swords, crowns, shields, neck chains and other regalia, in fact, anything in metal.  Through repairing their old Victorian armours, Terry learned the art of making armour. He then began renovating original armours for the Tower and various other collections and soon learnt how original armours worked and moved.  Through this experience, Terry learnt how to make custom,made-to-measure, bespoke armours.

Terry is an accomplished designer-artist and some of the first films he worked on were 'Farhrenheit 451', 'The Lion in Winter', 'Dr. Zhivago', 'Charge of the Light Brigade' etc. He went on and created the 106 armours used in John Boorman's film 'Excalibur' and has made numerous suits of armour for Sean Connery, Helen Mirren, Richard Gere. Liam Neeson, Alexander McQueen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many, many more renowned stars.

Terry also created the futuristic and sci-fi armour for 'Aliens' 2 and 3, 'Mr. Freeze', 'Batman and Robin', 'Clash of the Titans', 'Gladiator', etc. etc. etc. and recently 'Thor 2'!

Having worked on well over 100 major productions for film, TV and Theatre, Terry and his team continue to apply his skills to the entertainment industry from Cornwall, England.

Terry English, acknowledged as the finest armourer in the World!

Me on the left, Terry English with Artist & Singer Songwriter, Julie Carter

Some of Terry's magnificent Armour

Terry Hard at Work

Tuesday, 23 July 2013



Adrian, Hazel, Alex, Rita and all the Staff and Stallholders at Hungerford Arcade send our heartiest congratulations to Kate and William (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) on the birth of their son.  

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Christine Pym, co-founder and Executive Director of David J Pym Antiques, together with husband David, established the acclaimed family business from a hobby and have been trading solely at Hungerford Arcade for over twenty years.  Christine also owns and operates a separate jewellery business at the Arcade and has wide experience and knowledge of the trade which prompted her to write a book.

The book called 'A Beginner's Guide to Becoming an Antiques Dealer', provides tips, pointers and background information for anyone interested in the Antiques World.  The unique full colour paperback, is fast achieving Worldwide recognition with lots of interest from would be entrepreneurs.  The book is self-published through Blurb and can be purchased online from the Pym's business website,, Hungerford Arcade or Hungerford Bookshop.  It is also available from iTunes, Bookstore and Blurb Bookstore as an Ebook.

Don't miss out on this brilliant book!

Lovely Christine Pym with her new book
'A Beginner's Guide to becoming an Antiques Dealer'



Friday, 26th July is Vintage Guitar Day at Hungerford Arcade with our very own David J Pym.  There will be Guitars, Music and Valuations from 10.15 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.  David sells Vintage and Rare Guitars so come along and meet David and see his amazing, beautiful Guitars.

David Pym in full swing with some of his wonderful Guitars

Saturday, 13 July 2013


For many years, Hungerford Arcade has been presenting all children who come into the Arcade with 'treasure' - an old English coin in a wallet with a card showing what that coin is and what it would be worth in today's money!  We also give Roman coins when we can get them.  

A gentleman standing at the counter watched as Arcade owner, Adrian, presented a small boy with treasure and was very moved by the joy on the boy's face on receiving his gift.  

The gentleman then introduced himself to Adrian as Peter Pearce of The Wyvern Historical Metal Detecting Society based in Swindon.  He said "I will never forget the joy on that little boy's face and I would like to help you with the old coins through my club as it is a wonderful thing the Arcade is doing for the children!"  True to his word, Pete turned up at the Arcade a couple of weeks later with his wife Sandra and to the great surprise and excitement of Adrian, myself and everyone else, a huge amount of old coins were placed on the counter.  Amazingly, there were some from the 1700s and there was even a bag of Roman coins!  Pete had contacted all the members of the WHMDS and informed them what Hungerford Arcade does for the children and asked them to donate all the old coins they can for this worthy cause.  Pete told Adrian, "I have been amazed at the response from my Club members to donate coins to your great cause. I have the amazing total of over seven hundred coins, yes seven hundred! That's Pennies, Halfpenny's, Threepences, Georgian, even Cartwheel penny's. and yes thirty three Roman coins and a load of odds and ends. Everyone of these coins has been dug out of the ground by myself and the Club members".  This really is old buried treasure!  Pete also told us that the Club have said it is also going to do more for the Arcade's charity events.

Pete also told Adrian that his Club is always looking for permission from farmers to take their metal detectors onto their land.  They do everything according to the law so if there are any landowners out there who can help, that would be great!

The other side to this story is below!

Adrian with Pete and his wife, Sandra

Sandra, Pete and me

Quite by chance, the next morning, a couple came into the Arcade. with two babies.  When the babies, Paige and Olivia were presented with their coins, the couple introduced themselves as Joy and Andy Fields and said they were down on holiday from Lancashire.  They explained that they were foster parents and foster babies from birth and have them for up to two and a half years. Joy and Andy told us that Paige is registered blind due to substance abuse by her mother during the pregnancy!    Although she could not see her coin, Paige was very happy and clung onto it! For each baby the Fields foster,  they make up a Treasure Box for them.  The box will hold all the very first things a baby has like a first pair of socks, first teddy bear, postcard from their first holiday and for Paige and Olivia, a piece of treasure from Hungerford Arcade!  No wonder they're smiling.

Me holding Paige,  Jane Fields with Olivia and Andy Fields

Here we are again!

Friday, 12 July 2013


As you know, we have amazing people visit Hungerford Arcade from all over the world!  Today we had home grown visitors arrive on their beautiful 1960's scooters.  It was brilliant to see the marvellous Lambretta again in all its glory and there was even a Vespa.   They all belong to The Modfathers Tadley and Newbury Scooter Club. It was a real trip down Memory Lane! Hope you enjoy the photos.  You can find the Club on Facebook!

Brian Oldrey's amazing Lambretta

Craig Reading on his Gold Lambretta

Brian Oldrey on his 'Pride and Joy' Lambretta

Left to Right: Nigel Wilks and his lovely wife, Dudley Spencer,  Brian Oldrey,  Paul Weller and Craig Reading

Paul Weller's beautiful Green Vespa

Dudley Spencer's very smart Lambretta

Craig Reading on his Gold Lambretta

Monday, 8 July 2013



All of you who have signed up to our Newsletter will have seen our June issue with the article on Mother of Pearl.  Those of you who have not, and would like to read it, please go to our website: and click on the tab which says 'Articles'.  You can also join our Newsletter if you wish to at the same time. It has a worldwide readership, there is no selling on it and it does have very interesting features.

Following on from the Newsletter article. 

We have many beautiful and unusual objects here at Hungerford Arcade and one that has caught my eye is a very unusual military compass which, at first glance, looks quite ordinary in a black case with a brass bezel; until you take a closer look and see that it has a beautiful mother of pearl face.  We know it is a military compass as it has the broad arrow on the back and stamped 1943 Mk III, serial number 8229244, T.G Co. Ltd London.  Take a look at the pictures below and see what you think.

Compasses are still very popular today both as collectables and for practical use.  You need never get lost in the woods again!

Friday, 5 July 2013


We had a great day here at the Arcade on Armed Forces Day. Many people commented on our military display and children were fascinated by it, asking lots of questions and taking a great deal of interest in the event and what it means to us all.  Stallholder Dennis Benneyworth brought his two children along Barney and Elsie.  They were very excited by all the military objects and had great fun with them.  As you will see from the photograph, they were very taken with the metal signs.  We would love to have had a military band but unfortunately, they were all busy elsewhere!  We are very proud to be part of this very special day and feel it is very important to support our Armed Forces every day for the wonderful work they do for all of us, Queen and country. 

Elsie and Barney Benneyworth
with ~Arcade owner
~Adrian Gilmour