Upcycling can play a huge in reducing waste, but where can you look find the best items to upcycle? Antiques Markets are a fantastic start, especially for smaller items and sometime even furniture. We all get inspired with a wander through a flea market right?
But what if you’re looking to upcycle something more substantial?
That’s where reclamation yards come in. Also known as salvage yards among our US friends, these are fantastic hunting grounds for inspiration and bargains when you’ve got a substantial project in mind. If you’re looking for something that will survive the test of time, where better to start than with something that’s already lasted a lifetime or two?
How do you find them?
In the UK, finding a reclamation yard is surprisingly easy. There are over 150 dealers signed up to the ‘Salvo Code’, which is a code of conduct intended to give the purchaser (you!) confidence in the legitimacy of the items you’re buying.
This is so important. Knowing that our sourcing comes with good provenance gives us confidence in the quality and legitimacy of our purchases. Among other things, the ‘code’ ensures that every item has been properly removed from sites that are not otherwise protected, and that it doesn’t contain any toxic materials.
In a country blessed with so many opulent and well-built old homes – many of which are protected, and many of which were built at times when we didn’t understand toxicity as well as we do now – this can be so important!
So, of those noble 150 salvagers, which reclamation yards have become our favourites over the years?:
Your Nearest & Best Reclamation Yards
LASSCO is a real gem. This is the true secret of designers; a treasure trove where we go for inspiration as much as to source unique and wonderful items. Unfortunately, this does means you can face some stiff competition and occasionally high prices, but they are worth every penny. The staff are universally knowledgeable and helpful, always eager to give advice and have even helped us to track down a few specific items for clients; however, they have also been known to refuse sale of items if they don’t approve of your plans for a particular upcycle! Be sure to promise you’re giving every item a respectful new lease on life.
LASSCO have 3 sites to choose from, two in London and one in the charming green pastures of Oxfordshire…based in a pub! This is a highly recommended day trip if you can make it.
Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 2LG; 020 7394 2100
Ropewalk, Maltby, London, SE1 3PA
Three Pigeons, London Rd, Milton Common, Oxfordshire OX9 2JN
2. RETROUVIUS RECLAMATION AND DESIGN
RETROUVIUS is a bit smaller than LASSCO, but their selection is top notch. They specialise in unusual items from the 1960s and 70s, so if you’ve got a really period item in mind, this is the place to ensure you’re not disappointed. We’ve find a whole lot of inspiration here over the years.
2A Ravensworth Road, Kensal Green, London, NW10 5NR; 020 8960 6060
Outside of London brings some incredible finds and bargains. If you’re a designer or regular renovator a regular tour of the next few reclamation yards is sure to pay dividends.
3. COX’S ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE YARD
Cox’s Architectural in Gloucestershire is a fantastic venue; a 12,500 sq ft warehouse (with another half acre around it), this reclamation yard can feel overwhelming. Everything from doors and handles, to reclaimed beams and flooring, with a share of brassware and decorative items thrown in too. If you have a big project to undertake, Cox’s could be the place to start!
10 Fosseway Business Park, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9NQ; 01608 652505
Heading on up to Manchester brings you to INSITU – playing on the fact that it’s a reclamation yard set inside a reclaimed pub. 4,000 sq ft of salvage material set over four floors, the unique location is a fantastic setting for discovering unexpected furniture items just waiting to be rescued.
252 Chester Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 4EX; 0161 839 5525
5. MASCO SALVAGE
If you make it out to beautiful Bath, you’ll find MASCO, a reclamation yard so big it has two separate yards: one for building materials (bricks, tiles, timber floors and joists), and one for all the interior materials (doors, furniture and decorations).
Separately, MASCO even runs a reproduction factory, creating high quality replicas of some of the most popular items.
108 Walcot St, Bath, BA1 5BG; 01225 444404
6. ARC RECLAMATION
From architectural antiques to restoration advice, ARC RECLAMATION is a fantastic destination for anyone on an upcycling deep-dive. Their large selection of doors, fireplaces and church furniture are all stand-outs.
Unit 1, Upper Downgate Farm, Sandy Lane, Steep Marsh, Petersfield, Hants, GU 32 2BG; 01730 231 995
Mongers relies on local craftspeople to restore and repair the items in their reclamation yard. The vast range of furniture and architectural features (along with a formal garden displaying garden antiques) are spread across the many buildings that encompass the workshops. The range of fixtures and fittings range from the 1890s to the 1950s.
15 Market Place, Hingham, Norfolk, NR9 4AF; 01953 851 868
8. YEW TREE BARN
Yew Tree Barn offers everything from furniture and fireplaces to garden ornaments and windows in this expansive reclamation yard. Not content with salvage-wear only, the team at Yew Tree now includes a full-time potter, as well as furniture restorers, a restaurant and art gallery.
Yew Tree Barn, High Newton, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria; 01395 31498
9. KNEBWORTH SALVAGE & VINTAGE FAIR
Each year, wonderful Knebworth House hosts the UK’s biggest and best collection of salvageable wares. If you have a particular project in mind, and you can’t find what you need here, then it quite possibly doesn’t exist. If you’ve not been able to find what you need at any of the other reclamation yards, this is your last, best option.
You have to keep your eye out for this one though, as it does tend to shift about the calendar. July in 2018, May in 2019… its popularity and quality ensures that it happens in most years, but don’t assume it will be anything like it was.
Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Ln, Stevenage SG3 6PY; 01438 812661
TIPS FOR BUYING SALVAGE
Salvo also suggests these helpful tips to guide your shopping in reclamation yards:
- Ask where an item came from and if it’s appropriate for the purpose you have in mind.
- Ask your builders or craftspeople if they’ve used reclaimed items or material before.
- Be aware purchases made at auction or at trade fairs will often be non-refundable if they turn out to be other than they seemed. Buyer beware.
- However, buying at a yard will give you the protection of all the usual consumer protection laws.
- Make sure you’e wearing gloves and good tough boots when rummaging about. Splinters and sharp edges will always be waiting to spoil your shopping expedition.
- If you’ve found multiple items to purchase, well done! Don’t forget to ask for a discount!!