From to floor to ceiling—where oil pourers, Shell-branded hard hats, and Castrol Racing baseballs caps hung on hooks that he had fastened into the timber beams supporting the roof—Alan had curated his own at-home exhibition that showcased the containers, canisters, tins, tools, and signs that he treasured the most. “You name it, it was all there,” says Godsmark. “My first thought was Crikey! I imagine he liked going in there and just admiring it. I suspect it was a bit of a sanctuary for him.”

As a boy, Burleigh reveals, Alan cherished the time he spent with his grandfather, and as a man, the tools and Francis-Barnett water cycle that he inherited from him held huge nostalgic value. It’s this relationship and those heirlooms—which are not for sale—that she believes sparked Alan’s passion for automobilia and subsequent apprehensiveness to let any of it go. “He may have sold one or two things, but the majority stayed here,” she says. “Looking at the collection it looks like we spent our whole time at boot sales and auto jumbles, but honestly, we didn’t.”



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Angie Byrd