Tour Sunderland house devoted to Vaux brewery memorabilia
Peter Heslop loves Sunderland’s Vaux beers so much that he has filled his house with hundreds of pieces of memorabilia devoted to the former brewery and its tipples.
The collection includes pub signs, trays, beer glasses, staff overalls, ashtrays, lanterns, beer mats, ties, photographs, mirrors and even a bar.
They dominate his garage, back garden, conservatory, downstairs toilet and - for a temporary period only while his house is redecorated - the hallway.
The Sunderland season ticket holder, who admits he has spent thousands of pounds on his hobby, will later this year showcase many of the items at an anniversary evening to mark 20 years since the city centre brewery closed in July 1999.
He is organising the event along with wife Angelika, 59, daughter Janine Heslop, 30, and pal Richard Morgan, of Seaburn, Sunderland, who is a fellow collector.
So how does Angelika, a semi-retired council health and social care worker, feel about the collection taking over their Ryhope house?
“I quite like it really although I had to put my foot down when he said he wanted to put the bar in my lounge,” she said.
Janine, who works in administration for a training company and is also a Black Cats season ticket holder, has also decorated part of her own home nearby with memorabilia devoted to Vaux’s sponsorship of the football club in the 1980s and 1990s.
Around 700 jobs were lost when time was called on nearly 200 years of production after financiers in the City of London advised the firm to concentrate on its estate of pubs and hotels,
The name Vaux itself quickly disappeared with the business becoming Swallow Inns and Restaurants before a takeover by Whitbread Breweries.
Peter, 54, a warden with Sunderland Care and Support, did not even begin his collection until more than a decade later.
He said: “I bought a Vaux mirror from a charity shop and it just snowballed from there.
“I always liked the beer and then there’s the link between Vaux and the football club.
“I buy a lot on the internet and you have family and friends buying you memorabilia for birthdays and Christmas.”
Enthusiasts also offer him memorabilia via the Vaux Breweries Collectables Facebook page he runs with his family and Richard.
The 20th anniversary event takes place from 7pm on Friday, July 5, at the Chesters, in Chester Road, and is free.
There will be guest speakers and a variety of beers from Sunderland’s Maxim Brewery, which now brews many of Vaux’s famous creations, with Peter stressing: “It’s open to everyone with a love of Vaux and what it means to the city, not just former employees.”