A wine cooler made from timber that once formed part of a historic flagship has taken pride of place in a city antiques dealership.
Antiques expert Brian Beck discovered the cooler, made from oak from HMS Foudroyant – Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 – at a former bank in Preston.
He bought it for an undisclosed sum after it was unearthed upstairs at the old TSB in Church Street, which is being transformed into a new bar, and described the find as “like the crown jewels”.
“It’s something you would never get in a lifetime”, said Brian, of European Fine Arts and Antiques in Cannon Street.
“There’s not two of it, there’s nothing to relate it to.”
Brian bought the cooler from the former bank, which has been taken over by pub giant Wetherspoons, who are converting it into a Lloyds No.1 bar called the Twelve Tellers.
He said it was made by Goodall, Lamb and Heighway between 1897 and 1900.
Brian said: “What makes this cooler more important than others is because it’s got its name tag on it – when they carry the name of the maker it’s so special.
“It could go for thousands – you can’t pitch it.”
The ship ran aground in Blackpool in 1897, and Brian said: “They took all the oak timbers they could salvage and started making furniture from it because it was all stressed and aged. It was seasoned timber, perfect for the job.
“It is absolutely astounding. I’ve been in the job 40 years and I’ve not come across something like this.”
Brian paid thousands for the cooler and he said: “It would have been made specifically for the gentry like a sort of officers’ club.
“These accommodation places above banks are for real gentry, they were the money people, they were the bankers.
“My idea at the moment is to keep the cooler for inheritance to my family and keep it here in Preston.”
He added: “The ship had such a sad end but here we have the pieces from it, salvaged from the hull, and it’s just nice to still have them.”