A PIECE of Sunderland history goes under the hammer in an online auction this weekend.
Generations of Wearsiders have hired fancy dress costumes from Bazaar, in Green Terrace – now the whole collection is up for sale.
Newcastle auction house Anderson and Garland is selling the stock after the retirement of Joseph and Doreen Prenelle, who ran the business with son Joe.
“There are more than 600 lots and there must be over 1,000 pieces and individual items,” said Steven Moore, who is handling the sale.
As well as fancy dress costumes from Superman to Scooby Doo, there is a wide range of other items – including some worn by some of the biggest names in British movie and theatre history.
“There are various different categories,” he said.
“There is the ordinary fancy dress, then there are the original military-type costumes.
“There are also theatrical costumes from places like the D’Oyly Carte opera company and a set of costumes from a production of The Gondoliers from the 1950s that are all beautifully made.
“There are also pieces of particular interest – there is a jacket worn by Robert Taylor in ‘The Adventures of Quenton Durward,’ a tailcoat worn by Leslie Howard in ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ and a dress worn by Margaret Lockwood in ‘I’ll be your Sweetheart’ – she is actually wearing it on the poster.
“Mr Prenelle bought a lot of costumes as film studios were closing and other fancy dress places were shutting down.”
And with no reserve prices, there are bargains to be had.
“There really is something for everyone,” said Steven. “We have had a lot of interest.
“Everything is being sold without estimate and without reserve – it will make what it makes.
“How do you put a price on a Texas Chainsaw Massacre costume, which is lot number two, for instance?
“The first one is the Wizard of Oz, with the Witch, Dorothy, Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow – from camp to cold blood in two lots.”
Joseph Prenelle admits to mixed feelings at seeing the collection he has built up since 1976 go under the hammer this weekend.
“Everybody in the North East has been through Green Terrace at one time or another.”
“I went everywhere,” he recalls.
“When the Old Vic closed down I went to the sale and the Echo did a piece because I bought Peter O’Toole’s Macbeth costume from their 1980 production.
“You do feel attached to the costumes – not just the ones we bought but the ones we made ourselves on the premises.
As well as its main base in Green Terrace, Bazaar had shops in Newcastle and Darlington, something Joseph – now 73 – admits took its toll on himself, wife Doreen and son Joe.
“We were the business,” he said.
“Unless you had our 25 or 30 years’ experience, you could not possibly make a profit.
“We did everything.”
With his parents retiring, Joe has decided to call it a day too.
“It took the three of us to run it,” said Joseph.
“If two dropped out, one could not possibly run it on his own.
“We were fitting people out from head to foot for 30-odd years. There are mixed feelings but we were ready to get rid of the stress of the business.”
Click here to take part in the auction and view the full catalogue.