Westthorpe farmer’s amazing collection of historic farm implements to be auctioned
A lifetime collection of farm machinery and bygones that once had its own Suffolk Show marquee is going for auction.
On June 17 nearly 550 lots from the late Eric Barker’s collection will be auctioned by Cheffins at the family’s home, Lodge Farm, Westhorpe near Stowmarket. They range from hand tools to a 1950s Massey Ferguson 735 combined harvester. Oddities including a 19th century man trap and a 1796 pattern sabre.
Some of farm equipment is locally made, ranging from hand-driven implements by Woods & Long of Stowmarket to a horse-drawn animal transporter by Cornish and Lloyds of Bury St Edmunds.
Tractors include a Howard Platypus 30 four-cylinder crawler tractor which Cheffins calls ‘highly unusual’.
Eric Barker moved to Westhorpe in 1957 and began his collection at about that time with a Bentall horse-drawn plough. In the 1970s and ‘80s he often exhibited his collection at shows, rallies and farming demonstrations and in 1978 had a dedicated marquee at Suffolk Show which was visited by the Queen Mother.
The farm hosted numerous visits from clubs, farming groups and organisations as well as an annual farm open day, with proceeds donated to the village church and hall.
After 20 years in storage, Roy and David Barker are selling their father’s collection while retaining a few items of family significance.
David said: “The sale will be tinged with sadness, as it was our father’s passion, but we hope that people can purchase items that give them pleasure for years to come and keep the spirit of our agricultural past alive.”