Nine decades of James' life will sell at auction
PERCHED on his front patio with his tubby dog, George, at his feet and a jam and cream scone in his hand, 90-year-old James Meadmore is never short of an impromptu history lesson.
The morning tea snack he shares with visitors is not much different to the delicacies he served up for the Queen at the Savoy Hotel in London when he was 16, but decades later, Mr Meadmore is ready for some things to change.
He sits surrounded by a house full to the roof with collectables and antiques, treasures he has accumulated over a lifetime.
The time has come for it to all go to a new home and to create some new memories, he says.
Mr Meadmore spent 25 years meticulously restoring antiques and collecting valuables, some of which are more than 200 years old, and selling them in a modest shop in Lowood.
When the shop closed, he bought them home to Fernvale with him, where they have sat lining shelves, filling walls and providing some very welcome memories of decades ago.
Most of his collection will go to auction on the weekend.
"I am absolutely attached to these things, I do love them. I wouldn't have bought them otherwise," he said.
"It's got to be in them, not me, I'm not a teacher, they've got to have the want and the will to have these beautiful things like I did."
Mr Meadmore has a rich and colourful history, having sailed the world, worked in the laundry on oil rigs and prepared tea for the Queen.
"The most interesting to me was the travel, you learn about the habits of other people and we don't question about what they're dong, we just learn from then. Not all people are out to live and learn, they want to tell people about things. It's much better if you learn and can take things as you accept them. Travelling around the world you do learn a lot," he said.
"It started when I went to the Savoy Hotel and asked for a job and the manager took me on and I was an assistant. I was only what you might call a commi waiter in those days. I helped at the tables and when the Queen came, I wasn't high enough standard to be in her presence and yet I was but only from a distance."
It was there he learnt the in's and out's of a good cup of tea and a scone. He took home four pounds five shillings a week.
"I always knew Devonshire tea and high tea were different, they used different tea and different jams, that's what it was called in England. They blossomed into high tea later in Australia," he said.
"I was very young, 16, when I started in catering at the Savoy hotel in London."
When he returned to Australia, Mr Meadmore set to work in the antique and tea room business.
"I just like the look of them, if they've lasted 100 years that's good enough for me. They use beautiful timbers. Look at the beautiful furniture," he said.
Mr Meadmore's collection will go to auction on November 18 from 10am with viewing from 8.30am at 32 Clive St, Fernvale.