MEMORY LANE: Auctioneer’s life was full of drama

BARGAIN HUNTER: Auctioneer and action man Arthur Adlard who survived a horrific air raid attack in the Second World War.
BARGAIN HUNTER: Auctioneer and action man Arthur Adlard who survived a horrific air raid attack in the Second World War.

FEW people can resist a bargain.

Which was just as well for Arthur Adlard, as he ran the auction sales room in Musgrave Street in West Hartlepool.

On every Thursday from 1pm to 5pm, the room would be packed to the rafters with potential buyers. In the early days, his lots would include everything from pianos to talking parrots.

Arthur’s early days were hardly ideal for a rising auctioneer. He had to leave school at 14 when his father became ill, and began helping in the family drapery and soft-furnishing business, formed decades earlier by his grandfather in 1864.

Arthur’s own first venture into business was a garage in Seaton Carew, but it closed at the start of the Second World War when Seaton became a defence area.

Both world wars were to have a significant event on his life. He was commissioned in the infantry in the First World War and saw service in the trenches between Arras and Albert.

He survived the conflict and returned to town to serve part-time in the Second World War in the Royal Observer Corps.

Ironically, it was when he was off duty that he was severely injured during an air raid on Seaton Carew.

Station Lane, in those days, was a narrow road. A bomb fell behind a farm wall only a few yards away.

For years afterwards, Arthur remained convinced that it was his training in the First World War that saved his life. It taught him to fall flat during any shelling.

He did. And even though he was seriously injured and suffered multiple injuries, few of them were lasting. All that remained of the drama, years later, was a scar to his head and leg.

Arthur was married to Ethel Leech and enjoyed a rich and varied life which included golf, and a dip in the North Sea every day - even in the middle of winter with snow and ice all around him. However, by the time he spoke to the Northern Daily Mail in 1964, he admitted it wasn’t a pastime he’d kept down the years.

We would love to know more about Arthur. Contact Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk