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Auction lot brings a vision of Walsall past to life…

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Cuttlestones’ general manager
Rosie Blackburn with the album
A selection of photographs from the lot.

A photo album celebrating the history of a real Black Country institution is set to come under the hammer at a local auction house on Friday, 1st April. Set to be auctioned in Cuttlestones’ specialist collectors’ sale the album contains numerous photographs, most of which date from the mid-20th Century, charting the life and times of Walsall’s Hickinbottom Bakery – otherwise known as the Sunblest factory – and also includes a copy of the 78rpm record ‘The Sunblest Tune’.

Established in 1893 by Samuel and Martha Hickinbottom, the bakery started life from a shop in Lower High Street, Wednesbury. Over the years, the bakery grew, remaining family-owned until its 1951 merger with Allied Bakeries (from when it began producing one of the country’s best-known brands, the Sunblest loaf), after which members of the Hickinbottom family remained active members of the board until the factory finally closed its gates in 1989.

As Cuttlestones’ MD and Head Auctioneer, Ben Gamble, explains this is a very interesting piece of local history:

This collection of photographs, especially when you add the fact that it includes a copy of the ‘Sunblest Tune’ is probably unique. The diversity of images is fascinating, ranging from shots of the Walsall factory to images of company delivery vehicles, flour sacks and machinery. It really gives a snapshot of one of Walsall’s most influential companies in its prime, and will be of great interest to those with an interest in local history as well as those who collect advertising and brand-related ephemera.”

For information on the host of other interesting items that are being sold at Cuttlestones’ Friday, 1st April specialist collector’s sale visit or call 01785 714905.

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