A former policeman lost everything and was forced to sleep rough in his car. The…
Drew Pritchard owns and runs a salvage and restoration business in Conway, North Wales. Salvage Hunter Drew, with his sidekick Tee, (a school friend), scoures the country for unusual and historical pieces to sell in his showroom back in Conway. His diverse and ever growing client list include Hollywood actor Jim Carrey and celebrity chefs Marco Pierre White and Jamie Oliver. He has also fitted shops for Ralph Lauren in America and Monaco, and Rive Gauche in Paris. Drew is truly passionate about the industry and loves to turn the items he buys back into something useful, breathing new life into the antiquities. He has an exceptional eye and buys unique and quirky pieces. He is an interior designers dream. Check out his site drewpritchard.co.uk.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Drew and as a fan of the show, learnt a little more about what makes him tick.
Have you always had an eye for design? It’s not something you can be taught, so have you always been creative?
I was taught by my father who has an exceptional eye for detail as a signwriter and artist. I think he noticed in me, at a young age, that I liked and appreciated good design and taught me for as long as I can remember how to look at things. For example, “What’s right with that building? What’s wrong with that building?”
How did you become involved with stained glass? Did you not consider interior design?
I went into the world of stained glass because it was a way into the architectural antique industry at a time when it was booming and more or less a closed shop. My first day on the job an architectural antique dealer pulled up and openend the van and shouted me over. I helped him pull out a huge stanined glass door with butterflies and foliage all over it which was of an extremely high quality and I knew from that moment on I was in!
I have a huge interest in interior design and have been asked to do numerous projects but have never done it professionally, rather concentrating on architetural salvage. I’m not going to discount it completely though as it’s something I’d like to look into in the future.
How did you develop the fascination with antiques? Are your family in the trade?
My family are not in the antiques trade. I was always fascinated by antiques, junk, rust, old cars, scrap yards, flea markets. You name it, I was there and loved it! I spent my early years reading books on antiques and design and decided at the age of eleven that I would become an antique dealer.
Apart from your work, do you have any other passions?
I have a passion for classic cars particulaly vintage VW and Porche. I also deal in these cars through my other business, DP Classics and hold a full International Grade A Racing Driver’s Licence. I race the only historic VW Beetle in Europe, with the Historic Racing Driver’s Club in like places Goodwood and Silverstone. My own cars include a 1952 Sunroof Beetle and a constantly changing stock of early Porche 911’s. This hobby has now developed into DP Classics and we specialise in looking for rare, low mileage and high specification cars from all over Europe.
What do you like to do on a day off ?
When I do get spare time, I love catching up with friends…usually in a pub.
Who is your favourite artist
I don’t have a favourite artist; I like all forms of art.
How did your TV show come about?
There was an advert in the Antiques Trade Gazette saying something like “Are you a man in a van travelling to antiques fairs and architectural salvage yards? If so please contact us.” I read it and didn’t do anything about it and then a few days later a friend brought it into me and said “This is you, give them a call!” I waited another six to eight weeks before I rang them and they came up from London. I did a 20 minute piece to camera and then a year later they offered me a ten part deal. We didn’t take it seriously and just saw it as a bit of fun. Eight series later, we’re still going!!
Is there one piece of memorabilia/antique or quirky item you would love to own but don’t?
I’d love to own a chimney piece by Robert Adam, a chair by Rene Macintosh, a piece of stained glass by Byrne-Jones or Henry Holiday, a chair by Carlo Bugatti or my ultimate find would be a Bugatti T35B race car designed by his brother Ettori; the ulimate piece of art, meeting industry, meeting design.
Photography by Eleri Griffiths