New Stamps Acquired

by admin on 26/09/2022

Interesting collection salvaged years ago by a former worker at New Hey Mill, Rochdale, Lancashire

I was contacted by a relative of Bill Brooks, born in 1938 and who worked for many years at Lion Mill in Royton, Lancashire with his wife Maureen. Bill loved local history and managed to save 13 stamps from P.W. Greenbalgh & Co. (cotton goods bleachers, finishers and dyers) of New Hey near Rochdale. He had good taste, saving an interesting variety, from simple to ornate, figurative to typographic and even a Brazillian text stamp.

Most were made by Isherwood & Ikin of 19 Fold Street, Bolton which is a new name to me and I can’t find any business listings for them. The date of the stamps seems to be 1890 to 1910, with one dated 1895.

I cleaned, oiled and printed off the stamps…

Lord Brothers info:

The most interesting stamp was this one, mounted on a copper sheet with chains for hanging on a wall.

on closer inspection, the words “Prince of Wales” were removed, suggesting that this image of Edward VII was made before Victoria died in 1901.

Interestingly, it doesn’t have any stampmakers name but is simply marked OLDHAM PENDLETON

The illustration is clearly based off this portrait of The Prince of Wales dressed in his garb as Grand Master of Freemasons, along with many other Masonic symbols incorporated into the design. The stamp was likely framed and put on display, maybe at Oldham Freemason’s Union Hall after its life as a merchant’s trademark was over. Maybe the merchant, stamp maker or mill owner was a Freemason. All fascinating stuff and hopefully someone reading this knows the history of this collection of stamps.


I am so excited to announce that the art and artists who created the images on the textile tickets are finally getting the art world and art history recognition they deserve. Thousands of the Indian tickets from my collection will be preserved and available for online research in the culture they were created for.

To take a digital preview tour of the permanent textile ticket section of Bangalore’s new Museum of Art & Photography, please click the above image or this link


First Zoom talk on my collection

by admin on 03/08/2020

Click here to watch a recording of the zoom on YouTube

At 4pm Eastern Time on 4th August 2021, I will guide you through the collection and its history with a live zoom webinar.

If you missed the webinar, it has been uploaded to YouTube here


Two Stamp Books Acquired

by admin on 15/04/2019

I recently purchased two rare books which were a record of the stamps held by merchants or fabric finishers. The stamps would be stored in shelves and each had a number on the side. Using this book, the stamps could easily be identified and pulled off the shelf to print the front of cloth pieces to attract buyers in markets across the world. The River Etherow Bleaching book is in the foreground, which is an amazing stroke of luck as it goes with other items I have from there. The other is from Buckley and Brennand Ltd., bringing my collection of these amazing items to 8 stamp books, containing thousands of original designs.
sample pages from the Buckley and Brennand book showing the full faceplait designs

sample pages from the Buckley and Brennand book showing the full faceplait designs
The River Etherow Bleaching book has hundreds of prints from their long gone stamps used for their customer’s markets around the world

The River Etherow Bleaching book has hundreds of prints from their long gone stamps used for their customer’s markets around the world
examples of multi colour stamp designs
A J King Ingersley Vale Bleach Works stamp book

A J King Ingersley Vale Bleach Works stamp book
Sun Bleaching stamp book no. 2
early R K Roberts Stamp Book

R K Roberts Stamp Book
Spruce Manufacturing Stamp Book

Spruce Manufacturing Stamp Book
Early Mersey Mills Stamp Book
Melland & Coward stamp folio

Melland & Coward stamp folio

Melland & Coward stamp folio


Anyone who came to the Inutilious Retailer was told they could have anything for free on two conditions:

1.They had to replace whatever they took with a new piece of art.

2. They had to be photographed holding what they made in their right hand and what they took in their left hand.


There were 14 garments on display so the 300 people who made art ended up in one of 14 long connected chains. As I have all the artist’s  email addresses, anyone can get in touch with the person next to them in the chain

Click here or the ebook below to see those chains of Inutilious Retailer artists.




“The Shop On Ludlow” video

by admin on 18/02/2017

This short film on the unique free NYC store/gallery/art workshop, The Inutilious Retailer, was created by Jordan Horowitz and Jack Wilson and succinctly captures the experience of those who visited the 2015 International Store Of The Year winner

Thanks so much for Heather for being such a perfect “customer”







The store becomes a street art haven!

by admin on 17/02/2017

The Inutilious Retailer was designed as a community place for everyone to create art. As someone who created and had friends in the street art world, I had always planned on utilizing the store facade as a legal spot for different artists.

The front of the store was a prime Lower East Side spot and it was quickly embellished, including the first yarn bombed gate by London Kaye, the side panel by Wheatpastewoman/Phoebe and a doorway piece by Pyramid Oracle

20160218_105704  20160218_09092520160323_172142 20160323_172337


The side panel was always a multi layer, free for all…

The idea to use the entrance for the basement as a kind of Street Art Advent Calendar was hatched and changed every couple of weeks

20151221_123719Screenshot_2016-03-29-12-22-36-120160323_13335920160406_08451020160527_193119Screenshot_2016-03-29-12-22-02-1Screenshot_2016-03-29-12-22-13-1 IMG_20160711_170425


When Frank Ape added his piece, he combined it with a shirt inside which could be won if the slot machine was pulled and three of the characters he added to the blank reels lined up!


Street artists also used the store as a base from where they could put together art they were putting in the neighborhood



The Graffiti Garden

What I didn’t realize when I rented the store, was that included a huge back yard that was devoid of any graffiti except for this late 70’s or early 80’s piece that nobody had seen before or knew who created it._DSC0086_1

I invited artists to add whatever they wanted to all the walls, with the condition that nobody went over the vintage piece.

One wall went from this


to this…

to this…


This wall started off just saying “where’s my bike?”


and ended up like this

20160730_170650Here’s some of the people responsible for transforming the space into a street art gallery a b c d e f g  i IMG-20151127-WA0009 j k l m n ho pArtists who were young

artists who had done graffiti for 40 years

or artists who tried it for the first time

but in the end, the garden became a place where even the floor was covered in art, where anyone and everyone could come, create, relax…

03a IMG_20160725_140714 20160602_15065820160529_121322IMG_20160725_230433 IMG_20160731_192707 IMG-20151225-WA004120160416_133513  20160415_174013 20160415_180342  20160427_205740   Screenshot_2016-06-20-19-22-02

and of course party…



even on the roof!



Customers at last!

by admin on 17/02/2017

The public part of the store is designed to be a “curiosity filter”.

Some people walk past and do not see it. Some look in the window and carry on down Ludlow Street.

but hundreds of people are curious enough to come into the store, talk to a random voice and then decide to go through the secret door into the workshop and make a garment to replace the one they took – like these two…


20150907_150027At the end of the process, everyone was photographed holding what they made and what they took, emailed the photo and so ended up connected in a chain of random curious people.customers

Maybe you were one of them?



This guide book showed everyone who visited my store the stamps that were available to create their art  with. (click image to open the book)_DSC9085a


Here is where any possible color required could be mixed and the stamps charged with printing ink ready to be printed onto the clothing

13 paint for stamps_DSC3047_DSC3049


The Store Opens!

by admin on 16/02/2017

6pm, September 1st at 151 Ludlow Street, NYC the doors of The Inutilious Retailer opened.

6 months to plan, 2 weeks to build and the guests of honor were all those who either came to the Art Sundays or helped create the store. These were the only people who were allowed to see the whole store without being customers.

It had gone from an empty shell to a complete store, lounge and art workshop in just 2 weeks and the renovation came in under budget at $2,300!

Photos were banned behind the secret wall of the store and I am so appreciative that nobody in the whole time it opened ruined the surprise of the secret back area by taking any sneaky photos. There was media interest from the media, such as New York magazine but I refused to let images of the back part be published.


And social media interest too but all respected my desire to keep the back area secret


But now, all can be revealed…

The Store 

01 151 Ludlow Street NYC_DSC2960_DSC2964



The Interior

Lit only by the giant barcode, it had consumerism’s “costs” on the left side and “values” on the right side

02 barcode hanging 03 blank slot machine 04 store view - Copy

Clothing is hanging on umbrellas, still with price tags from the Salvation Army and if you showed an interest in anything, there was no salesperson (the door was always open too but nothing was stolen) but a voice came from nowhere, then the wall mirror flipped forward and at last, the customer knew there was more to this minimalist store than met the eye….

_DSC2925 _DSC2992

A person asks you to pull the slot machine to prove you have an imagination

and if you come up with your own idea of what might be on the reels of the blank slot machine, you have just proved you have an imagination and are told you have won the garment you like for free – with one condition.06 access to back area_DSC2921

You have to come through the hidden door into the secret back area and make something to replace it.

Then you enter the wonderland where you sit down, relax with a coffee or glass of wine, pick a new piece of clothing off the rack to paint on and then start planning what you are going to create for the next random person who comes into the store.  Taking as much time as you need and doing whatever art you want, without judgements….

The Lounge

07 lounge with new clothes 08 old mannequins 09 coffee drinks and art

The Workshop

10 art workshop 11 workbench and type 12 workbench 12 13 art printing 13 paint for stamps 14 type stamps 15 workshop and lounge 16 clean up