Sunday, 18 November 2012

Charity Shop Ercol

When I was a kid my "posh" Aunty had a room full of light-wood Ercol Windsor, and I loved it.  I decided that one day I would have a piece of Ercol furniture, but then when I got my own place it was a Victorian property with huge rooms and high ceilings, and the Ercol style just wouldn't have worked with that.
Needless to say, at that time Ercol was really cheap.
I spent most of my adult life living in Victorian flats, and by the time I moved to my current 1950s house a few years ago, Ercol had suddenly become very desirable again, and consequently very expensive. 
The chances of finding it in a charity shop were virtually zero.

One day earlier this year I was doing my usual circuit of charity shops in my local town and I became aware that I was on the same circuit as what I have come to think of as a "scanner".  These are a certain type of charity shopper - usually middle aged men - who are dealers/traders/resellers and storm in and out of charity shops scanning the shelves, picking up bits of china and checking the bottoms for makers' marks, and generally being "in your face".

This particular one began to piss me off, so I skipped a shop that doesn't usually have anything that interests me just to get ahead of him.  

I walked into the next shop and could hardly believe it when I saw an Ercol drop-leaf dining table and four candlestick-back chairs.  Even harder to believe was the price - £25 for the lot.

A gentle sand down and a couple of thin coats of matt varnish and they are beautiful again.

 I really enjoyed the "scanner"'s expression when he came into the shop just as the "SOLD" labels were being attached.

Sharp-eyed people may notice a dark-wood Ercol "Butler Table" in the background of the first photo.  There is another story attached to that, but it needs its own post.

Linking up with Thrift Share Monday


  1. You lucky lucky lady. I have been looking for a kitchen table and chairs for a couple of weeks on ebay and the Ercol stuff goes for a fortune. I adore those chairs, so pretty. I've managed to bag a formica table for my kitchen, arriving soon. Looking forward to hearing the story about the butler table. xx

  2. I do feel lucky, but as you can probably tell from the photos, I wasn't actually looking for a dining table due to shortage of space!
    Having said that, it's so useful and we've all got used to squeezing past it now, so I think it's going to stay.

  3. that is beautiful! i know, those "scanners" are annoying!

  4. I love the backs on those chairs! So glad you scooped them up first!