Real-life Miss Havisham leaves £100,000 hoard of vintage clothes in dusty house

Vintage dealer Paula Donaldson looking through the incredible 'once in a lifetime' collection of vintage clothing from the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's that has been uncovered in Houghton Le-Spring, County Durham which will go on sale in a special ticket only event on the 7th December

Vintage dealer Paula Donaldson looking through the incredible 'once in a lifetime' collection of vintage clothing from the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's that has been uncovered in Houghton Le-Spring, County Durham which will go on sale in a special ticket only event on the 7th December

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A HOARD of £100,000 worth of vintage clothing has been discovered in a dusty old Wearside house after the death of a real-life Miss Havisham.

Vervia Todd developed a secret obsession with fine clothing after the death of her fiancee during the Second World War.

Vervia Todd on her retirement day.

Vervia Todd on her retirement day.

After her death last year, at the age of 92, the hoard of clothing and accessories were discovered in numerous suitcases throughout the three-storey Houghton house when a friend and cousin were clearing it out.

Vervia, who never married after her tragic loss and lived with her dental surgeon father, Sam Todd, until he died, took annual holidays until the very last years of her life and returned with suitcases full of designer clothing, much remaining untouched in the suitcases.

Many of the items of the collection had never seen the light of day for well over half a century before they were found.

Vervia had remained tight-lipped about her phenomenal style stash, but now the mesmerising collection of vintage dresses, hats and shoes has been uncovered, it is set to sell for the staggering six-figure sum.

And, the executors of her will, best friend, Sheila Ellis, and cousin, Ann Brough, are hoping after spending a year getting the collection ready for sale, the pieces will be given a new lease of life.

Sheila said: “She was a glamorous lady when she was younger. She had a very good figure, very trim.

“Off she’d go on holiday, often to Sorrento in Italy, and she’d come back three weeks later and leave the suitcase. We found all of those cases still packed.

“It was absolutely incredible but typical of her, she was one of a kind.”

Paula Donaldson, owner of vintage shop, Dregs of Society, who is helping organise the upcoming sale, said in 10 years of working with vintage clothing, she had never seen such a huge collection. It even includes Vervia’s mother’s Victorian wedding dress and her grandmother’s Edwardian wedding gown, which are set to go on display, possibly at Beamish Museum.

The items up for sale will include ladies daywear, eveningwear and accessories – including bags, shoes, hats, gloves and cosmetics and a collection of fabrics and other sewing paraphernalia dating back to the 1920s will also be available to buy.

The collection will be sold at an event at Vervia’s house next Saturday. For more information about the collection, visiting times and ticket prices, visit www.facebook.com/events/316096035199707/ or ring Dregs of Society on 252 2205.