Owner’s Story: The Collector’s Cabin

Bitten by the collecting bug as a child, Alan has amassed an extraordinary collection of sporting memorabilia with treasures from the worlds of cricket, football, rugby and the Olympic Games.

With gentle encouragement from his wife, Alan bought a Malvern Garden Buildings studio in which to display his finds in 2015.

The Art of Storing a Collection

The problem Alan faced was how to store and showcase the objects collected over 25 years in a modest-sized garden studio. How could he create the illusion of space?

A visit to Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields gave him the inspiration he needed.

Alan was taken into the “Picture Room” – a small 13-by-12-foot room that the tour guide claimed housed 118 paintings, including the largest collection of Hogarth’s works of art. In this room, Alan found his storage solution…

The tour guide demonstrated how Soane used moving ‘picture planes’ to allow him to hang a collection large enough for a room three times its size.

We visit a customer who uses their garden studio to house his vast collection of sports memorabilia

Alan engaged the services of a talented local carpenter Nick Taylor to install moving walls. Nick creatively used a pivot hinge to create a tardis-like interior (larger on the inside than appears from the outside) so Alan can change between displays at a moment’s notice.

The only clues to this remarkable adaptation to his garden studio are some miniature rugby ball and cricket ball door handles!

Highlights of the Collection

Alan favours the cricket/Olympic games display in the summer months and switches to the rugby and football collection during the winter months.

Alan estimates there are about 95 pieces on display including signed shirts, cricket bats, cricket balls, prints and photographs and it keeps growing.

In 2012 Alan volunteered as a Gamesmaker so his collection includes a piece of the Olympic track. He also has an impressive collection of British cycling memorabilia and Sebastain Coe ephemera.

A signed 1966 World Cup shirt takes pride of place alongside more recent signings from the likes of Gareth Bale and Lionel Messi.

We visit a customer who uses their garden studio to house his vast collection of sports memorabilia

Alan’s collecting obsession takes him all over the world collecting signatures. Two well-travelled prints he is particularly proud of depict cricket scenes. He’s challenged himself to get one signed by all the bowlers who’ve achieved 300 test wickets. It’s signed by 29 bowlers; some have died and Alan’s recently chasing one in Sri Lanka.

The other print is dedicated to all the batsmen who’ve scored 8000 runs. Again, one signature is missing but the cricketer in question rarely leaves Pakistan so getting that one might prove trickier.

The curveball in Alan’s Collection

Alan’s collection also includes signatures from twelve moon walkers, a copy of the customs declaration from the Apollo mission and a piece of moon rock. The geology theme is continued with a bespoke set of drawers containing a small collection of precious rocks.

We visit a customer who uses their garden studio to house his vast collection of sports memorabilia

Other uses for the Collector’s Cabin

In order to make way for Alan’s garden building, several Leylandii trees had to be removed but the roots were entrenched so the building was installed on top of a raised platform.

The advantage of this is that Alan and his wife regularly enjoy eating their lunch on the steps while watching the birdlife. A birdhouse suspended from a nearby tree peeks out from behind foliage – of course, sporting themed – and resembles a miniature cricket pavilion!

We visit a customer who uses their garden studio to house his vast collection of sports memorabilia

Got a collection that’s outgrown your home?

A fully insulated garden building makes a great place to store and organise your treasures. Our buildings can be customised to include fewer windows and fitted with blinds to conserve your collection from sun damage and help keep the temperature ambient.

Contact your nearest show site with your requirements and enjoy many more years of happy collecting!

For the full range of Garden Studio buildings see here.

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