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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Ulverston landmark’s treasures go under the hammer

A RECORD turnout was recorded as a landmark’s contents went under the auctioneer’s hammer.

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ICONIC The Lanternhouse in Ulverston where the auction was held MILTON HAWORTH

All but one of the 564 lots sold as the charity behind Ulverston’s Lanternhouse sold off items ahead the arts venue’s eventual sale.

The auction, carried out by Howard Whitaker, comfortably exceeded expectations and raised in excess of £15,000 for the cash-strapped Lanternhouse International.

The organisation was hit hard when it lost all its funding and trustees are now preparing to start over from a smaller building at the former tannery site.

Mr Whitaker said there had been a high level of public interest in the auction, given the cultural significance of the building.

He said: “It was a very successful sale – we registered more than 200 people, which is really a record. I have never registered that many people before.”

People travelled from across the north of England for the auction, which took place in the Lanternhouse building, in The Ellers.

The top selling item was a 1930s’ haberdashery cupboard, which fetched £575.

Other items on sale included beds, computer equipment and musical instruments. An old tuba went for £100 while a locally-made carved lectern sold for £115.

Mr Whitaker said: “We achieved a good result, which was in excess of what we expected.”

Before the sale he had suggested the lots could be worth as much as £10,000.

Mr Whitaker added: “There were a few bargains but generally speaking the price levels were good.”

Lanternhouse was built by Welfare State International, founded by John Fox and Sue Gill, using Arts Council of England funding.

Mr Fox, who was recently awarded an MBE for services to the arts, stepped down as artistic director in 2006, signalling the end of the company’s involvement.

He said his focus was now on other artistic projects and did not attend the auction.

He added: “You have just got to move on – I think that is the only way to do it really.”

Rather than dwelling on the past, he said he preferred to focus on the lasting legacy of Lanternhouse in Ulverston.

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