1930 ELLIOTT SMALL MANTEL CLOCK.

Here is a lovely 1930 dated Elliott small mantel clock. One of only a few recorded for that year the clock is in original condition with its silvered dial with winged crest being untouched. The movement is untouched and could do with a service.

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1941 RAF station white dial clock

Here we have a 1941 FW Elliott made RAF station clock. The movement and dial have been restored. The back box retains a faint ‘R’ and arrow as applied in the 1950s by RAF stores.

This clock is available for sale.

RAF SECTOR CLOCK

Well, the time has come to sell one of my Sector clocks. Keeping it hidden the loft isn’t doing this clock justice and it would be fantastic to see it go to a worthy home. This clock was purchased from Bob Gardner when I took on the clock side of Aeroclocks from him and had been hanging proudly in his office. I’ll be sad to see her go but she isn’t shown to her best in my loft.

If anyone is interested just ping me a message.

RAF Drum

Well what can I say.  I recently stumbled across a hidden gem in the form of an old outfitters that now closed, has a basement and store full of RAF clothing and equipment that the owner, now in his late 70s, purchased from the Air Ministry from disposal sales.  One item was this Beautiful. RAF drum .  In slightly shabby condition after hiding in a basement for 70 years this drum is beautifully hand painted with royal cypher and RAF crest.  The brass casing is alsobstamped with the AM crest and 1941 date.  A lovely item and work of art.

White dial rescue mission.

Some time ago I purchased this 1939 Elliot manufactured white dial clock.  The clock was purchased from a lady living on the Shetland Isles and is in terrible condition.  The case is badly marked, has overspray on it from an aerosol of some kind, is dusty and grubby. The lock from the bottom door had also been removed and a crude latch installed. The movement is grubby and covered in oil although happily ticks away.  The dial has seen better days and where an RAF crest would more than likely have been there is a square overpainted patch and one of the dial feet had broken free.   There was no glass whatsoever too. When I saw the clock advertised I had no idea if it was of RAF origin.  Photos were limited to just the dial . When I received it however, looking over it I found the AM stamp to the rear box, usual Elliot markings and serial to the movement and on the side door a lovely stores sticker from the 1950s when the clock was presumably placed upon a shelf and catalogued.  

The clock has sat on my shelves for some time now as I couldn’t make up my mind what to do with it.  It was too  battered to be sold as an untouched example as it has gone beyond that grubby original look to looking more like a wreck. I therefore decided to sympathetically restore it.  The dial will be repainted as it is too far gone just now to justify only a minor bit of work such as replacing the crest.  The dial foot will be repaired too.  Case wise the front of the clock will be stripped and refinished but the reverse and back box will be completely untouched apart from replacing the new latch for original lock.  The movement will be only lightly oiled, not cleaned and tested. The bezel will be dusted off but left as is and new glass fitted. The hands will be left original too.  

I cannot wait to see how the clock turns out and returned to original condition.

Bentwood Arm chair. 

In the afternoon sun I made my way to a service station on the M1 where I met Helena to exchange a chair that I had purchased from her and her husband.  Much to my delight the chair is as good as it pictures.  This style of chair has been particularaly hard to find.  Described by the RAF pattern book as 21B/953 Chair Arm Bentwood I have only seen one example at Bletchley park.  This chair is as original as they come. Retaining most of the original dark staining and the green vynide covering.  With lovely metal brackets supporting the legs.  The underside of the chair has stores information linking the chair to RAF Marston Moor.  A really lovely chair that looks simply stunning. 

Finally another!!

Whilst sitting in my hotel room the night before heading offshore for two weeks and waiting on the better half to face time after a bag of chocolate peanuts, I stumbled upon another reclining chair on eBay .  Not quite sure if my eyes were deceiving me I thought, why not.  I bid on it and to my surprise won it after a few days and being the only bidder too.  The description didn’t do the chair justice.  The pictures were terrible but underneath all the hideous upholstery I prayed there would be the remnants of an incredibly rare AM reckoning chair.  These chairs were amongst the earliest of RAF pattern chairs and besides from their amazing history, they are extremely attractive and contemporary today.  After a course in Aberdeen some weeks later I bobbed across to Inverurie near Aberdeen where the chair was and picked it up.  Quickly putting it in the boot I shot off and a few hours down the road had to stop and look to see if it had any markings.  In an ASDA car park in carlisle, there was a 35 year old man dancing around with joy at the sight of the AM markings on the chairs frame.  HALLELUJAH!  Once home I stripped the old upholstery to reveal the original green vynide or what was left of it in terms of the seat base.  I cleaned it and wow it now looks fantastic.  These chairs were used all over RAF bases from officers messes to squadron dispersals. Despite their large production, today these chairs are incredibly rare and a lovely item of furniture.  This one has the AM marking and a makers mark and a 1942 date stamp. Best find yet.

1939 Elliott Small Mantle Clock

The next item to recently arrive is this lovely 1939 Elliott single fusee Small Mantle Clock. In as found condition and by the looks of the years of grime and patina on the movement, in untouched condition. The case is in fantastic condition and the silvering on the dial remains in good condition. 

Item 2 AM chair in disguise.

Another of the items delivered by Russell was this 1937 dated AM stamped chair that someone in the past has decided to paint white.  Now I’m not one to go changing original furniture and when I saw this one I thought I’d better rescue it even though it has been liberally covered up.  Showing all the usual characteristics of chair general purpose 21B/538 from the RAFs pattern book the frame is in excellent sturdy condition, the AM markings and date are still clearly visible through the paint and it is complete. A lovely chair that will end up in the white office upstairs. 

Latest delivery arrived at last.

Hurrah at last Russell my courier arrived with my latest finds.  Here is the first item, a stunning 14″ white dial RAF station clock.  In untouched original condition.  The movement is dated 1941 and made be Elliott.  The box and case are dated 1938 suggesting a marriage at some point when being repaired.  The back box itself has a beautiful AM and crown stamp to the top left corner and also fantastically has retained a stores sticker applied post war and also the often seen stores reference numbers and ‘R’ symbol with correct code for a white dial clock stencilled on in white paint.  All lovely original markings that add to the history of the clock.  The bezel is painted in the regular black tone down finish too.  This one is a keeper I think. 

Elliot type 1 white dial clock.

Here we have a lovingly restored type 1 Elliot white dial.  Although many people dread owning a restored clock for lack of authenticity, this clock needed the work doing to rescue it.  The dial has been repainted and the movement beautiful serviced and the case cleaned.  The movement is clearly stamped with the Elliot signature and a 1941 date.  The rear box has a wonderful AM Elliot stamp to the bottom centre unlike in the usual top left corner and is dated 1938. Presumably at some point in the clocks service with the RAF, a younger movement was fitted .  A lovely clock with a lovely history.

1938 SM&Co mantel clock.

Finally oh finally I managed to open this clocks case.  After purchasing at auction it arrived with the rear door locked and key rattling about inside.  None of my spares would work and fearing the worst of possibly having to jimmy it open, I remembered the first mantel I purchased from Bexhill was an SM&Co too and had the key. To my joy it’s key worked and hey presto here are some pictures of it.  A lovely SM&Co clock, in original condition. Pendulum lock is still present and the silvering on the dial is in great condition.  A beautiful clock which would look fantastic in any home.

1920s RAF billet bedside shelving unit.

Whilst browsing the depths of eBay I stumbled across a small shelving unit that I recognised from photo research I have been doing.  I found this small unit that would have once lived alongside an airmans bed in their billet or barrack block.  I have also recently found some lockers that would have been in these early blocks too and hung above the airmans bed.  This unit has a beautiful towel rail on the back of it and is beautifully constructed for such a run of the mill item.  Check out the picture of an RAF 1920s billet to see how such a unitvwould have been placed and also the presence of the overhead lockers.  

MORE BIGGIN HILL CHAIRS COMPLETE.

Hurrah. After a few weeks away my upholsterer at the amazing Reloved Upholstery in Manchester has come up trumps again.  These two gorgeous chairs will be for sale through the Reloved upholstery website shortly.  The chairs came from the ATC unit still at Biggin Hill who were disposing of surplus items some years ago.  They had been gifted the chairs from the RAF station as it closed.  I acquired these chairs and have had them in storage until now.  The old destroyed coverings were removed and the internals renewed and replaced like for like where required to keep as much of the chairs original as possible.  The frames were all stamped with the AM mark and some a 1944 date.  An original example of the chair can be found at the RAF museum reserve collection at Stafford.  These chairs have been covered in London Underground coverings and conform to all modern fire standards etc.  The frames have been stripped and repolished.   Really lovely chairs expertly restored. 

FINALLY FOUND ONE!

3 years ago whilst living in sunny Brussels I found in the wonder that is eBay, a genuine Air Ministry RAF reclining chair.  Now, as fate would have it I purchased the chair only to be emailed shortly after to say it was gone, and being in Belgium I could do nothing about it.  Anyway, after licking my wounds, and purchasing every other RAF chair, clock, coat hanger or anything AM I could find in withdrawal I have finally found and had delivered a beautiful RAF reclining chair. Rare as hens teeth this beautiful chair is original apart from the new covering that replaced the destroyed old vynide.  These chairs are often seen in dispersal images and ante rooms. This chair is constructed of oak and is AM stamped and dated on the underside. The year is 1939. A makers signature in west Wycombe can also be seen.  Enjoy the pics .

Brews up Sir!

Recently landed at my house was another stunning little pre-war China officers mess cup.  Perfect for that espresso. With a lovely blue and gold guilt border to both the cup and saucer and amazingly detailed RAF crest to both again, this set was produced by George Jones and Sons and Royal Daulton.

21B/447 Chair arm folding find.

After a trip to the RAF Museum Reserve collection some time ago and viewing the catalogue of RAF issued furniture from the 1930s, I managed to stumble upon one of the rarer chairs that were issued early on in RAF history.  Here we have a gorgeous folding steamer chair or as the catalogue states, ‘chair arm foldin’ stores code reference 21B/447, the 447 indicating that this is a very early pattern of furniture.  

The chair has a weaved backing and vynide seat covering fastened by studs to the frame.  The chair is not stamped with the AM logo rather a small WK and crown symbol that is found on other Air Ministry issue equipment including clocks and other furniture.  

A lovely piece that is certainly incredibly rare and in great condition.  Oh and apologies for the poor pictures. Moving home has meant a decent backdrop is hard to find.


Too much time on my hands.

Yesterday I arrived home from work offshore knowing I had been a bad boy with regards to my spending.  Today the fruits of my off shift antics became a reality when 3 large parcels arrived at my house.  Inside each box was a solitary Small mantle clock.  And here they are. This time I managed to get myself on a stunning 1927 EC&W powered clock, a 1939 Elliott and gorgeous 1936 SM&Co clock interestingly also stamped with a Royal Observer corps reference number stamped on the underside. See snaps below.

Time to break my silence.

Well 2016 was certainly a year to forget for so many reasons but here we go with 2017 and hopefully it will be a good one.  The last few months I must apologise for being quiet.  House moves and buying up clocks and furniture rather took over my time mixed in with a bit of work offshore.  

Anyway.  My New Years resolution is to progress my site and sell some stock.  

One of the first things to arrive at chez Bell is this untouched and well worn 1941 movement and dial from a large dome too mantel clock.  The bezel on this clock is the giveaway along with the large dial face.  In rough condition this Elliott produced fusee movement will hopefully work up a treat once my clock maker has worked his magic.  The dial is in great original condition and the glass, although separate from the bezel I’m sure can be rescued.  If anyone has a spare case kicking about, pleeease feel free to get in touch.

When will the collecting stop aargh!

Much to my wife’s dismay, not long after we moved a bit further north, the spare room has already become a dumping ground of sorts for the clocks I keep buying.  In just a few weeks I’ve aquired another 4 and there’s another on its way.  I think I may need help! Here we have a 1939 Elliott operations room clock, a 1936 SM&Co White dial, 1939 Elliot white dial, and 1938 Elliott small mantel clock all in original condition. 

  

1944 Biggin Hill refurb complete.

Recently I sent a chair to Re-loved in Manchester.  With Si, the owner we came up with a plan on how to bring these gorgeous chairs back to life.  The original covers and innards were all shot and past their best.  Now, I know it may offend some collectors who prefer their items in original condition but to return these chairs to usable condition is far better than letting them linger.  The covers were removed and innards removed. Instead of replacing with modern foam we went for traditional techniques which re-loved excel at.  With springs and webbing and stuffing as originally intended the chair certainly feels different to modern arm chairs.  The covers we replaced with a beautiful contemporary fabric (the name of which eludes me) and conforms to commercial fire safety standards.  The frame was left as original as this chair I will be keeping for myself.  A really really lovely chair expertly refurbished.  

I have 7 more of theses chairs that I will be having re-worked by re-loved . If anyone would like to buy one and choose a covering to suit then feel free to get in touch.

   
    
   

1944 Biggin Hill lounge chairs being rejuvenated .

A few weeks ago I handed over the first of my 1944 Air Ministry marked lounge chairs to be reupholstered to Si at Reloved in Manchester.  Reloved was amazing Si was very passionate and interested in the chairs so I immediately knew it was the place to send the chairs.  

Rather than recover them in a modern version of the green vynide they came with I have opted for some cool modern material.  The innards will be traditional and the same as the battered ones that were past it but the covers will be a more modern taste. I have 7 of these chairs so will be keeping a couple and selling the rest.

The chairs originally came from the Air Cadet unit at Biggin Hill Aerodrome who had been gifted them by the station when the RAF pulled out. The cadets disposed of them to make space.  After removing the coverings I found the AM stamping and 1944 date .  Along with their use at Biggin hill, these chairs have a fascinating history.

A recent trip to the RAF reserve collection also confirmed their use as an anti room chair in an officers mess.

More pictures of the builds will follow.  

   
    
   

Air Ministry Stick Back chair.

Hurrah, finally an Air Ministry item from close to home.  This gorgeous chair popped up on eBay recently and being from nearby to me in Thornton Clevelys, I simply had to have it.  The chair is in original condition with its original dark finish and is still very sturdy.  There is some wear and tear but what can one expect from a chair produced in 1939 and presumably flung around an RAF base most of its life. It may have even come from a local station such as Squires gate, Weeton or Kirkham.  

Stamped in the usual manor underneath with the AM and crown and also the makers name D Haines and date 1939. A lovely chair indeed. Originally given the stores reference 21B/108 this makes the pattern of chair one of the earliest in the RAF inventory.

I picked it up from the amazing Anita at ‘The Emporium’ on George’s lane in Cleveleys. Go check them out.  Well worth a visit.

   
    
    
    
 

Large Dome top mantel clock. 

As war progressed in Europe, material shortages were ever present.  This like most things translated into changes in the presentation of clocks constructed for the RAF.  Elliot’s for example made large mantel clocks from spare mahogany back boxes that were then vanerred in oak. Surplus dials and hands were also used hence the ornate hands of these dome top clocks. This clock I recently purchased is missing it’s glass sadly but is in original condition. The internals of the clock show how the old back box was plugged and old hatches and peg holes were covered over with the vaneer. The rear door is made of unvarnished tiger oak. This clock has a 1941 Elliot movement.  

    
    
    
   

1941 Elliot white dial clock.

From the fantastic Aeroclocks is this 1941 Elliot fusee white dial wall clock. The dial has been restored and the case cleaned.  The movement has been serviced and keeps time fantastically well.  Due to appear on my website which is going live in August I thought I would preview a few of the items I will be listing for sale.

   
    
    

   

  

Airministrybybuttons.co.uk coming soon.

Due to my usual trip offshore with work I haven’t been able to publish my website sadly and start selling clocks.  I am however working in it on my down time and have started listing a few items for sale.  I return on the 22nd and am looking to publish the site on August 6th.  Listed for sale will be some 14 inch white dial clocks,a small mantel clock, a large mantel clock, some folding Air Ministry chairs, Air ministry captains chairs and a few items of RAF station wares.  Fingers crossed my website building novice skills don’t shine through too badly.

“I say old bean, what a smell. Time for a wash me thinks ” -RAF Wash bowl and water jug.

After much searching and scratching my head to find both items in this pairing, the usual suspect in the form of David Farnsworth of the Historic Flying Clothing company (www.historicflyingclothing.com)came up trumps and provided me with this beautiful pre war RAF water jug that would have been used in conjunction with the colossal wash bowl I purchased some time ago.  With a beautiful gilt winged crest and gilding to the handle and rim, this jug I am sure you will agree would have looked just the ticket in an officers mess.  

   
    
   

AEROCLOCK SALES ARE GO.

Two years ago I started to collect old Air Ministry station furniture. After seeing some clocks at the home of David Farnsworth of the historic flying clothing company whilst I was collecting an RAF wash stand from him, my attention turned to RAF clocks.  This interest was further expanded when I met Bob Gardner of Aeroclocks and from that day a friendship and mentorship was started.  Bob was happy to pass on his knowledge for which I am eternally grateful.  In May, after Bob expressed a desire to retire, I purchased the clock side of Aeroclocks and his remaining clocks.  I am extremely proud to have been extended this opportunity by Bob and look forward to carrying on the Aeroclocks reputation and business.  Bob will carry on to trade as Aeroclocks selling his well known book and I will shortly be publishing my website airministrybybuttons.co.uk where I will be selling RAF mantel clocks, wall clocks and Air Ministry furniture and station items.  Further updates on the progress of the site will follow shortly. 

Time to spread my wings.

After amassing a small mountain of RAF and Air Ministry wartime furniture and station oddities for a couple of years now, the realisation that I have far too much and morphed into my mother and become a hoarder has hit home. I would need a small mansion to house all my items and after a fun filled wedding I have come back down to earth and sorted myself a commercial unit from which to turn my hobby and hoarding into a business of sorts.  I have taken on a small 370sqft unit to allow me to store and work on my collection ready to sell. Items range from station clocks, desks, lockers, wash stands, chairs down to cutlery and crockery.  A new website and online store is soon to follow called airministrybybuttons.co.uk once I hit land from being away working. Here are a few pics of the new office.