And that includes its original Victorian sweet counter, Bakelite scales, Cadbury’s cabinets, vintage till, sweet jars, scoops, packets of 1940s sugar, vintage bicycles, old enamel signs and a bar of 1920s Bournville chocolate.
It’s hard to say goodbye but Dave Walker, who opened Edward & Vintage in the picturesque Derbyshire Peak District village of Tissington in 2012, is ready for a new adventure at 50.
Consequently, he is parting with around 100 treasured vintage and antique items to create jaw-dropping period nostalgia at what one reviewer described as ‘the best sweet shop in the world’.
“I’m parting with things I started collecting at flea markets from around the age of 10,” said Dave. “I can’t take them on my next adventure, which some people probably think is crazy anyway. I hope people will buy them who’ve enjoyed visiting the shop over the years. I’d love them to have a memory of Edward & Vintage. Or maybe someone somewhere is looking to open a sweet shop.”
Dave certainly won’t be needing a till or scales in his next venture – though some sherbet fountains, pink shrimps, black jacks, flying saucers or aniseed balls might come in handy to give him energy. His new challenge is even bolder than his ambition to conjure up sweet nostalgia worthy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory children’s author Roald Dahl.
Dave, who originates from Gedling, Nottingham, and worked as a business advisor supporting young people prior to opening Edward & Vintage, said: “In 2016 I bought a collection of derelict small crofters’ cottages on the island of Sanday, Orkney, off the coast of Scotland – sight unseen.
“I had no chance to visit the island. I spotted them on Rightmove and kept looking at them for about 18 months. I thought it was just one cottage but it turned out to be a cluster of eight with more than three acres of land and direct access to a beach.
“The last person to live at one of the crofts moved out in 1974. When I finally got there, their roofs were hanging on for dear life and the area had been used as a dumping ground for cars, fridges and freezers. But underneath it all was a lost village. I discovered I’d bought half of what’s known as the ‘Lost Village of Ortie’ or Ness. It used to be home to 60 people. I’m so glad I found it because it deserves to be saved. It was very close to disappearing forever.
“For the last five years I’ve spent three months there every winter renovating the crofts. It takes me 24 hours to drive there from the Peak District via Aberdeen and two ferries.
“I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to DIY – I learn from YouTube videos. I’ve been restoring gable ends and chimneys and replacing roofing to keep the weather out whilst working with planning. I even rebuilt the walls of a lost freshwater well – after I found it by accidentally falling down it. Every day is like a school day. Though I wouldn’t recommend my approach to buying – I did everything you shouldn’t do – I just love it and feel blessed!
“I’d never owned a property outright before. Thanks to the success of the shop, I have something of my own. It was originally a 15-year plan but I turned 50 this year. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis but I decided to make the move while I have the energy and time left to do something special.
“When I announced the closure of Edward & Vintage on Facebook there was an outpouring of grief. I love my customers. Thanks to them, I’ve had the most amazing time. They’re a brilliant bunch of loyal people. I’ve seen some of them become parents and children grow into marvellous adults.”
The shop has fans all over the world. Tourists from across the globe have discovered it and it’s been featured in numerous magazines and papers including a prestigious Japanese publication.
Famous people have walked through the door including actress Joanna Lumley, TV presenters Christine Bleakly, Anna Richardson and Anita Rani and comedian Micky Flannigan. It’s been filmed for Escape to the Country, Country File, Germany’s Ard TV and The Great Interior Design Challenge.
The shop will close its doors on September 25 and revert back to being part of the Tissington Estate. But at least its army of fans will have a sweet opportunity to snap up a memento when the contents of Edward & Vintage are offered by Hansons Auctioneers on October 8. And they could always pay Dave a visit at his new Scottish home.
“I eventually plan to live in one of the crofts in a 13ft by 33ft space. I also hope to turn two into holiday accommodation. It will be back to basics and a chance to experience the traditional charm of these crofts – very comfortable and cosy. They will be ideal for people who want to swap modern life for peace and tranquillity.
“I’ve also turned two of the derelict crofts into indoor/outdoor gardens – you need some weather protection on Sanday though it isn’t as cold as people think. In the winter the temperatures can be 10 degrees higher than they are in Derbyshire because it’s in the Gulf Stream. I’ve been working in a T-shirt in Scotland when the Peak District is covered in snow.
“I know it will be hard but I’m looking forward to it. There are about 500 people on the island and they’ve been very welcoming. Sanday has some really entrepreneurial people, plus a gym, supermarket, swimming pool – even a wood-fired pizza restaurant. It only feels remote when you’re not there.
“My dog, Ned, adores it. I wanted him to have a beautiful place to live, just like Edward, my previous dog. I’m so chuffed he spent his dotage years in the beautiful scenery of the Peak District. The shop was named after him.
“I feel very privileged to have this new opportunity. There’s just me and a dog so what’s the worst that can happen? I want to protect and preserve the village and encourage tourism to these forgotten northern isles. I’ll be living in a battered caravan at first but I’ll be surrounded by birds, wildlife and incredible scenery.”
The contents of Edward & Vintage of Tissington, Derbyshire, will be sold on October 8, 2022 by Hansons Auctioneers.