Historic equine tack preserved

  • A unique collection of antique lorinary and saddlery items have been preserved thanks to the efforts a Sussex rider, who has donated this unique collection to a museum in Horsham.

    Nearly 2,000 items, which includes antique spurs, stirrups and bits have been photographed and catalogued by Anne Ekins, who works at the museum as a volunteer for half a day each week.

    The collection is the result of a West Sussex saddler, who amassed more than 900 bits, plus countless items of saddlery and harness.

    William Albery died more than 50 years ago, but donated his collection to the town of Horsham.

    Among the items are a spring from the coach in which Napoleon fled the Battle of Waterloo, a bridle worn by a horse at Queen Anne’s coronation in 1702 and a coach harness used in the victory celebrations of the Duke of Wellington.

    Anne first volunteered to help the museum more than five years ago and when the mammoth task of cataloguing the collection arose, she was the obvious choice.

    Anne has photographed and labelled every item, consulting loriners, historians and other museums.

    “It has been a real labour of love,” explains Anne. “There are some fascinating items, especially the bits from the late Victorian era, which are particularly ornate.”

    “I have managed to successfully label nearly everything and hope that by later this year the catalogue will be available online for people to view all the items.”

    Jeremy Knight, curator of the museum, said: “William Albery built up a fantastic collection – he was interested in the mechanics and craft, not the horse itself.”

    Around 40 items are on permanent display in the museum, the rest are in storage but can be viewed by appointment. For more information or to request a catalogue contact the museum (tel: 01403 254959).

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