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A life in antiques - In the wars

PUBLISHED: 18:06 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:35 20 February 2013

The converted missile and the periscope would make a dramatic addition to any home

The converted missile and the periscope would make a dramatic addition to any home

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham Alison Hougham looks at why military paraphernalia can be a very good investment

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2008

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham Alison Hougham looks at why military paraphernalia can be a very good investment







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







WITH Remembrance Sunday nearly upon us, it's a pertinent reminder of what British serviceman have done and are continuing to do to protect our country.

It seemed rather fortuitous, therefore, when the other day I came across some extraordinary military equipment that has been transformed from post cold war operational apparatus into stylish decorative accessories for the home.


The first piece, believe it or not, is a decommissioned NATO missile and the second an intricate German periscope.

The mark five 117 missile, made from aerospace aluminium, has been used as a base for a striking hand-crafted table. The end of the tail protrudes through a bespoke toughened glass top and the effect is certainly stunning. It has also been hand-polished to a sensational mirror finish.

We originally sourced three of these tables and I have decided to keep one as a breakfast table in my kitchen. It has pride of place and has certainly become a talking point! As is the norm in my home, I can imagine that over the years its use will change again and the table could work equally well as a meeting desk, or as a drinks table to enjoy the odd glass of wine or two!

The periscope, dated 1961, has been fitted with Carl Zeiss optics and has a 10x50 wide angle magnification capability. It would have been used on Leopard and Tiger tanks. Complete with a sun filter, gridded sights, a levelling sight and compass, the brass and aluminium case has been polished to a gleaming finish. The periscope still retains its original handbook, written in German.

This beautiful instrument would be equally at home with a collector or as a statement piece of art in more contemporary surroundings.

It pleases me to think that in an area full of such rich military history there are items around like this and that there are dealers out there lovingly restoring them.

So far removed from their original military intentions, both these pieces, now on sale at £3,995 each, have been given a new lease of life and the chance to live out their days in new and welcoming surroundings.

As I sit at my breakfast table writing this column to you, I wonder where and by whom these items were operated; and as November 11 approaches I wear my poppy with pride for our servicemen of the past and present.








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