Melvin and Shiela Haughey of Haughey Antiques, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, established 1969.
A conversation between Melvin and Shiela Haughey and project lead Mark Westgarth. This interview in the first of a new series of oral history interviews called ‘LAPADA VOICES’ and which is supported by LAPADA, The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers.
Melvin began his career as antique dealer, working for his father’s antique shop in the early 1960s, before taking over the business in 1969. Melvin’s father, Michael J. Haughey, opened his antique and second-hand furniture business in 1947.
In this hugely engaging and informative interview, Melvin tells us that he initially wanted to be a jockey and racehorse trainer; he started working at the stables of Ryan Price in Sussex, trainer of the Grand National winner Kilmore (1962), before working in his father’s antique business. Melvin and Shiela, who married in 1971, reflect on the changing tastes for antique furniture and of Melvin’s regular buying trips to Scotland, calling at many high profile antique dealers such as Alexander’s in Barclay Street, Glasgow and Bill Beaton in Perth. Melvin recalls he initially operated as a wholesaler of antiques, supplying dealers from the South of England. International antique dealers regularly called at Kirkby Stephen, Dutch dealers, for example, arrived once a week in the 1970s. Melvin also recounts the extraordinary tale of how he bought a rare 18th century Irish mahogany sidetable, and of his memories of many well-known antique dealers across the UK. Melvin and Shiela continue to trade in Kirkby Stephen, and this year celebrate 50 years in the business.
Photograph, Antique Dealers Project, University of Leeds, 2019.