Edwardian time capsule to be sold

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The Independent Online
THE CONTENTS of an Edwardian house, left untouched for more than a century and representing a 'time capsule' from a bygone age, are to be auctioned by Sotheby's next month, writes Malcolm Pithers.

The four-day sale from 13 September at Crossrigg Hall near Penrith in Cumbria, is expected to attract private buyers from around the world and raise about pounds 500,000. The hall will also be sold.

The auction will include the oil paintings and family heirlooms traditionally found in such grand houses but also personal items, such as 600 postcards, military and coronation cards, a rare Bing gauge 'O' model electric train dating from about 1910 and a rare 'gentleman's bicycle'.

There are pieces of Oriental and European porcelain, glass and silver, shooting accessories and a large collection of stoneware preserve pots, iron and copper cooking vessels. The housekeeper's room is stocked with pre-war provisions.

Crossrigg Hall, which has grounds covering more than 20 acres, is a rare and unspoiled example of a typical Edwardian English country house. It was built in 1853 for a Colonel Rigg, who made a fortune in East India trading. It was subsequently bought by a wealthy Middlesbrough industrialist, Joseph Torbock in 1912, who carried out extensive improvements.

Torbock, an iron-ore dealer during the late 19th-century boom, married into what was then regarded as high society. His wife was Florence Hoste Henley, heiress of the Henleys of Chard in Somerset.

After his death, his widow left the house untouched. So too did their sons, Commander Richard Torbock and his brother Cornish. They both died last year, their mother's bedroom untouched and their childhood toys still in the nursery.