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A life in antiques - A bird in hand

PUBLISHED: 11:49 24 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 20 February 2013

Discover all the best in Surrey antiques

Discover all the best in Surrey antiques

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, Alison Hougham reports on the latest trends in antiques

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2009

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, Alison Hougham reports on the latest trends in antiques





Find out when and where upcoming Surrey antiques fairs are taking place








The creation of stylish outdoor living spaces, combined with the excitement of Easter and the draw of warmer days, has, it appears, inspired not only me but many of our customers.

As buds blossom and our countryside once again comes to life, so too does the desire for fresh inspiration and the continued search for new, interesting and inspired garden paraphernalia to embellish our beloved outdoor spaces - no matter how large or small.

It's lovely to see the change in people's moods; customers somehow seem more relaxed, more thoughtful in their purchases and certainly happy to spend longer outdoors, browsing and rummaging through salvage items and interesting garden finds.

Recently, we have found in the last couple of years that an increasing number of people have been hunting for dovecotes - of every description, style and age; but in nearly all cases they are being used simply for decorative purposes.

A dovecote is a building intended to house pigeons or doves and may be square or circular, wall-mounted or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes or nesting boxes for the breeding and accommodation of doves or pigeons, and can differ greatly in terms of size.

A feather in one's cap

During medieval times, they were considered important economic resources, providing a sustainable supply of meat, feathers, eggs and manure. In some cultures, ownership of a dovecote was seen as a symbol of status and power and for a time was regulated by law, allowing only nobles the privilege of possession.

Our recent find is not as grand as those you might find in many ancient manor houses in the UK and France, either left standing or in ruins, but is equally as delightful. Our new gem, made from reclaimed wood, is a pretty, wall-mounted French design. The wooden roof tiles set off the beautiful pyramid structure and its simple rustic charm would make a stunning addition to any garden, period barn conversion or farm-style courtyard.

I hope my new decorative treasure will soon nestle permanently within a magical garden space. If not to be used for doves, I have a feeling that this beautiful dovecote could still make a great home for delicious eggs this month - the perfect secret hiding place for a family Easter egg hunt!





Find out when and where upcoming Surrey antiques fairs are taking place






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