HEADING into its third century of auctioneering, 1818 Auctioneers is a friendly auction house near Milnthorpe.

Their purpose-built offices and salerooms are part of the J36 Rural Auction Centre on the borders of three counties with strong rural and farming identities - Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The 14-acre J36 Rural Auction Centre site is also home to North West Auctions, NWA Professional and NWA Property and a diverse array of other agri-businesses including accountants, lawyers, agricultural merchants, tyre specialist, vet, insurance brokers and even a hair salon. And there are exhibition, conference and meeting rooms to hire with free parking.

Auction Manager at 1818 Auctioneers, Bill Nelson says the team is proud of its livestock roots and that serving the agricultural and rural community continues to be a very important part of what they do.

As Bill Nelson explains:“Auctioneers are entrepreneurs at heart, making the most of new opportunities and change. For us, this year, that meant working hard to get the best out of our online auctions, making the experience as bidder-friendly as possible, and making it simple and safe to drop and collect items.

“We introduced timed auctions, improved descriptions and photography and made video viewings available. It’s brought in new bidders, people who do all their other buying online, and younger buyers who like antiques because of their quality, uniqueness and as an anti-dote to our single-use, ‘throw-away society’,” adds Bill.

1818 Auctioneers rolled out a new sales calendar, and ran 76 sales between April and December. It led to record levels of online interest, bidding and results.

“We managed one live auction in our new mezzanine level saleroom before lockdown,” comments Bill. “Then we used the space to work safely and to provide safe viewings of sales.

“After a long hard year, we’ve got through virtually unscathed and fared much better than many companies,” concludes Bill.

“We’ve adapted and changed so we could continue trading and keep all our staff. Our new timed auctions, a resounding success, meant we got the best use of the space we have whilst working to

COVID-19 guidance. Our sale percentages are up, price per lot has increased massively and registration for sales is also up and spread worldwide.”

In terms of what next, Bill says: “We will continue as we have since coming out of lockdown two with a full calendar of dates and sales for 2021. We’ll also be recruiting for an assistant manager, who will be part of the management team, and work alongside me. And we’ll be complying with new legislation from the 1st January with Britain’s departure from the European Union.

“This year has presented our industry with operational challenges that none of us could have predicted. The pandemic’s forced everyone to work harder and faster in order to survive. I’m proud of my team, and our role in keeping this 200-year-old firm, and the ancient tradition of auctioneering, going.”

NWA provides two sale centres in the North West of England for both the buying and selling of all classes of Livestock.

Throughout the whole year a busy fixtures calendar sees sales for all types of Pedigree & Commercial Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, Poultry and Ponies, along with sales of Machinery & Equipment.