CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

A life in antiques - Nautical delights

PUBLISHED: 13:58 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:11 20 February 2013

The nautical collection together

The nautical collection together

While Surrey may not have its own coastline, our leafy county still has a grand nautical tradition to uphold. ALISON HOUGHAM, owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, set out on a voyage of discovery to find a few boat worthy treasures


While Surrey may not have its own coastline, our leafy county still has a grand nautical tradition to uphold. ALISON HOUGHAM, owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, set out on a voyage of discovery to find a few boat worthy treasures



Having visited Hatchlands Park last autumn, a beautiful 18th century home in East Clandon, the memory of their nautically themed interior, designed by the famous designer Robert Adam, has remained with me and I felt inspired to seek out a nautical collection for us here at The Packhouse in Farnham.

Being positioned so close to the coast, we are often a keen port of call for many seafaring folk on the look out for boat worthy treasures. So when I came across my latest trio of delights I felt as proud (albeit on a somewhat simpler level) as Christopher Columbus must have done discovering America!


Finding original pieces that still have a genuine use in today's home, either as working objet d'art or simply as decorative accessories, is not as commonplace as you might imagine. So the ship's Morse lamp, telescope and binoculars that we discovered are superb examples of classic memorabilia being preserved for future generations.
The ship's Morse lamp originally came from an English vessel and dates back, we believe, to the 1940's. It is in fabulous condition, with all parts working including the Morse shutter system. The fittings and casement have been stripped back to reveal the original iron and brass detail and it has been converted to take a 240v bulb. Supported now by a new aluminium stand, the piece is a beacon of inspiration and I wonder what this large eye-like lamp has indeed seen in the course of its working life.


Eye, eye sailor...!

From the shores of England to Far Eastern waters, our Japanese binoculars dated back to the 1920's and would have been used as the optic on top of military survey equipment. They have been fully restored, including the lenses, and provide a striking yet functional antique with which to watch ships at sea; or even to observe the view from the heights of my hot air balloon! The paint has all been removed to reveal brass and aluminium casing. No iron or steel would have been used in the original construction, as this would have affected the compasses that were used to check and programme orientation, prior to use. They have been mounted on a tripod, dating back to the 1940's, made by Carl Ziess, who still make high quality lenses today, notably for Canon and Sony cameras.
Finally, my favourite find within the trio is a 19th Century table telescope. It is presented on its original tripod and is embossed with the maker's signature and stamp - JH Dallinger. The metal is nickel coated brass, and the lens, still in perfect condition, is a true find. The piece would originally have been used by a gentleman of considerable standing, as optics of this kind were incredibly expensive and the preserve of the rich, famous or professional only. It is a beautiful piece to look at, as well as look through, and one cannot help imagining a true Mr Darcy type figure using this piece with poise and flamboyance.


Bon voyage...

These seaworthy pieces are wonderful finds for anyone with a nautical leaning and would grace many a home with grandeur and elegance. They have unearthed a heady desire to experience new adventures at sea - although I am not so sure my wobbly sea legs would agree! From one old captain, I wish you all bon voyage and look forward to my next instalment with you.





Alison Hougham lives in a renovated Victorian ground floor apartment near Farnham. When not at home or at The Packhouse, which is also in Farnham, you will often see her over the Surrey Hills piloting her hot air balloon.

More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 16:06

Education expert Dr Ryan Hinchey, Coordinator of College Counselling at ACS International School, with campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, answers your questions

Read more
Yesterday, 11:34

Surrounded by reservoirs and located on the banks of the famous river from which it takes its name, Staines-upon-Thames (as it is now called) is a town working to reshape its future and celebrate its picturesque riverside setting

Read more
Mon, 16:30

She may have recently moved to the seaside, but Surrey still holds a uniquely “precious” place in the heart of legendary children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson – not to mention the crucial role the county played in bringing everyone’s favourite and newly-returning feisty foster-kid to life

Read more
Mon, 11:59

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (23, 24 and 25 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search