Monday, 21 September 2009

The case of the saved powder compacts

Vultures and the compacts
As it was noted the other day when sorting out and hunting through some of my grans' drawers (the kitchen ones I must state) we came also what is now known to be a 1960s Stratton Powder Compact, brass, engraved and rather pretty. Yesterday was the day of clearing out the personal possessions of my gran from clothes, pots, kitchen things, ornaments, everything and anything. And my did yesterday make me wish you could choose your family.

Without saying things what would probably result in me getting sued for liable two members (blood uncle and his wife) were literally vultures. That's the only way to explain it. Rather then sharing things by half or by allowing us to have a look-see, to say no we don't want that, it was all grab grab grab, or just being grabbed when our backs were turned. This kind of action leaves things, and has resulted in many an item going missing and purely vanishing - probably into the boot of his car. It's rather surprising how large the back of his car has become. Apparently because his daughter played with it when she was growing up is the reason for why he should get the sewing box, yet I didn't even get a say, or even asked if I wanted any of the toys (dominoes, cards and solitaire) that I spent hours and hours playing with as a child when I was around at my gran's.

Apart from the saved Stratton compact I didn't know my gran had anymore or that she had ever had any full stop. That was until me and the parents were taking tonnes of filled, cramped and heavy black bin bags to the tip. I'm a bit of a nosey person at times especially when half of these bags had been filled when we weren't in sight - what was in them was a mystery. So me being me I have to have a look. To which we find loads of clinque make up in the bag in which the Stratton compact was in (so glad I pulled that out when we found it) and four other unknown compacts, just lying there in the bottom of the bin bag. It shocks me not only how close they were to filling up the land fill, but the cheek of us not being allowed even a say in where they would end up.

Where and what a lot of things went remains a mystery - missing jewellery, missing vases, missing ornaments - I could continue.

Being an novice when it comes to compacts I just get intrigued and interested in their colours and their designs rather then their montery value. With an hour spent this afternoon cleaning them up, taking out the flaking makeup and giving the cases a good polish, a quick search on google would reveal a square Vogue Vanities as being one of the first British compact manufactures, alongside three nameless others, two featuring Gorey Castle in Jersey. Although their dates are unknown some come complete with broken powder, stiffer or puff, only the larger round Jersey compact is unused the other being formally attached to a keyring with its chain still in place its bottom possibly mother of pearl.

Saving these compacts from their doom of the landfill has created a new collection. Luckily they are something cheap and with the help of the Internet easy to collect, I don't mind if they aren't priceless, I'm not wanting to go into it for their value, just something to enjoy.

My thanks has to go to Jessica over at Chronically Vintage who linked me a delightful little recipe for refilling powder compacts which can be found here. Once I get around to finding some rubbing alcohol/surgical spirit, I may just have to have ago! Thanks once again!!


  1. It's sad how the death of a loved one can sometimes bring out the "vulture" in people...when my grandmother died, my uncle's second wife (they'd only been married two years) not only took my grandmother's recipe book and antique dishes without us knowing, but she showed up to Gran's funeral wearing her (my gran's) coat!!!! Good thing you looked in that bag. Those are some lovely keepsakes to have. xoxo.

  2. So glad you were able to rescue those lovely compacts! I'm sorry that part of your family isn't being very graceful about things. It's true that times like that can bring out the worst or the best in people.

  3. Such an engaging and fascinating post. Thank you very much for mentioning Chronically Vintage, sweet dear, I hope that recipe works well for you if you give it a go.

    Wishing you a beautiful start of autumn,
    ♥ Jessica

  4. Thank you all for your kind words! Its a shame thinking or wondering how much decent and interesting finds of my grans may have just pointlessly got throw away in their hurry to get the house cleared (in just a day this all occurred) thrown away because they aren't modern or worth anything. Possibly so many memories thrown away too.

    At least managed to save the compacts and the sewing machine as well as a few other things, so i'm determined to keep her memory going through them and enjoy having them.

  5. I read your words with interest and enjoy your blog,families who'd put up with them?
    We nearly moved to Gorey Pier in August to rent a little house under
    the castle, everywhere we go we see pictures of it now, having decided to stay in Guernsey!
    It's the 2nd house in from the right
    Is it on your compact! xxx