The last angling auction house in London

Words and pictures by Nick Fallowfield-Cooper

On Saturday 2nd April 2016 the Angling Auctions in Chiswick finally drew to a close when the hammer fell and lot 630 – “An unusual American Bamboo trout fishers creel”. Slow applause permeated throughout the hall in appreciation for Neil Freeman who has put the hammer down on 32,000 lots over the last twenty five years offering vintage fishing tackle, taxidermy, books and angling art to a worldwide audience of collectors and angling enthusiasts.

My involvement began in 2011 (I’m considered a relative new boy) when John Andrews of Arcadia asked if I could help out on the rods. Arriving in Chiswick I was soon put to task in the construction of the rod rack, an antique in its own right, but essential in the display and protection of some extremely rare and historical fishing rods. Neil told me that he built the rack in 1991 with a drunk Irishman, a story I confess I believe looking at the quality of its construction, but in  defence of this Anglo-Irish workmanship it still survives to this day after the biannual kicks and trips that it endures from anglers eager to seek its wonders.  Five years on I am still putting up the same rod rack, drilled holes stuffed with even more matches and bound with ever more gaffer tape.

Over the years staff have come and gone but generally there is a core that stay loyal,  Neil’s brother has been involved from the start and more recently Neil’s son Sam has worked as a porter. Fresh sandwiches and cakes are made and the all important tea urn is switched on as soon as we arrive on the Friday morning, the tea urn is first off and last on the van, a tradition that has lasted for twenty five years. Last Saturday the tea urn was loaded onto the van for the last time in Chiswick and a new dawn for the Angling Auctions will begin down in Romsey, Hampshire.