Exhibit : Postcards from Bryant and May
I am Rupert Harris. I live a few miles from the old Moreland’s Match factory in Gloucester, England which Bryant & May acquired in 1913 and was closed in 1976. I have been collecting Bryant & May Hardware and Ephemera for over 40 years. My mother was a passionate collector and I very often accompanied her around the antiques shops, fairs and markets. At the tender age of ten she encouraged me not only to look out for items that may be of interest to her but also to follow her footsteps and become a collector myself; but of what?
The Moreland’s factory was a landmark that we often passed and was very visible especially at night. For many years including after the closure of the match factory, the neon signage above the main entrance gate continued to brighten the night sky. Still there today, it comprises a pair of crossed matches and went through an ongoing looped sequence of both brown wooden splints lighting up, then the two red match heads, which then both burst into a flickering flame before brief darkness and the repeat of the cycle.
Some brief research established that Gloucester had previously been the second largest manufacturing centre in the country behind London. The decision to become a phillumenist had been made and the collecting began. Within a year the wise decision, owing to budgetary restriction (pocket money, parent generosity) led to the narrowing of the collection to items bearing the words upon them of ‘Bryant & May’.
In 2008 I published a book about Bryant and May’s range of Harlequin Matches which is now in its third edition which adds in even more information about these fantastically colourful matchboxes.
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