An end of an era for auction house

Darren Riach, Alan Duthie and Keith Mortimer at Featonbys Auctioneers in Whitley Bay
Picture by Jane Coltman

Darren Riach, Alan Duthie and Keith Mortimer at Featonbys Auctioneers in Whitley Bay Picture by Jane Coltman

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A popular auction house is preparing to end its 90-year association in Whitley Bay.

Featonby’s auctioneers and valuers has been in the town since 1926, previously as an estate agent, but is holding its last sale at their auction house in Park View on Thursday.

The business has been run by three generations of Featonbys but after David Featonby died in 2012 his wife is now in the process of selling it.

However, the six staff are already looking to the future as the new owners have identified premises in Little Bedford Street, North Shields, to move to – subject to contracts being signed.

Darren Riach, head auctioneer, said: “Unforeseen circumstances have led to the business being sold.

“We have one auction a week and a quarterly antiques sales. We used to have up to six auctions.

“As soon as the contracts are signed, Featonbys will continue under new ownership in North Shields.

“I’ve been here 30 years. I started as a porter working with my father, who worked here for 35 years before he retired when he was 73.

“I then worked up to being an auctioneer and valuer and now help manage.”

He added: “I would like to thank all the patrons who have used us over the years.

“There has been generations of families. We have seen parents come in with their children, who have grown up and now coming in with their children.

“The auction house has been like a institution in the town.

“People have been coming in saying it was really sad that we were closing down but at the time we couldn’t tell them we were moving to North Shields.

“I want to thank everyone for their custom and hope it continuos in our new facilities.”

It is hoped that Featonbys can move into their new premises in July and hold their first auction in August.

The business was started in the 1920s as Whitehorn & Featonby, starting off as an estate agents by John Charlton Featonby, also known as Charlie.

They soon branched out into the auction house and collect most of their items from house clearances or customers bringing in family heirlooms or general items.

Charlie’s son Frank then took over, and he in turn passed it on to his son David.

Their first auction was held in 1962.