John Bly of John Bly Antiques, Tring & London, established 1891.
A conversation between John Bly and project lead Mark Westgarth. This interview is the third interview in an extension to the Oral Histories project, called ‘BADA Voices’, and which is supported by the British Antique Dealers’ Association.
John’s great-grandfather, William Bly, started the business in the 19th century, before his grandfather moved to trading in second-hand and modern furniture in 1891. The business was continued by Frank Bly, John’s father, before John joined the firm in 1960.
In a series of fascinating and infectiously enthusiastic reflections on more than 50 years in the antique business, John tells us about when he started working with his father at the age of 21, following a short spell at Sotheby’s, and his memories of key characters in the trade. John also gives us insight into his experiences of antiques in the media, starting with a T.V. programme in 1970 called ‘Looking at Antiques…’ through his work on a programme called ‘Heirlooms’ in the mid 1970s, to his appearances on the popular BBC T.V. programme ‘Antiques Roadshow’, which he joined in 1980.
Photograph, Antique Dealer project, University of Leeds, 2016.