Thomas Turner Fishing Antiques can trace its country sports history back to Thomas Turner, a gunmaker of Marlborough (Wiltshire) who was born in 1770. When he died he left his gun making tools and stock to his younger son Henry. (This separate piece of information came from a website covering antique firearms and is presumably connected to the family as the timeline roughly fits the other details we have… – “H A Turner, being Henry Arthur Turner was a successor to Thomas Turner of High St, Marlborough, presumably being his son, and was at 142 High Street until 1913. The business is then recorded as being owner by Mrs H A Turner at the same address until 1920.”) Henry’s elder son Thomas had already established the firm of Thomas Turner in Reading in 1838. Thomas Turner prospered and his sons followed him into the business. Thomas’s last surviving son, also named Thomas, died in the 1930’s and the firm was then acquired by one of his apprentices, Jack Stratton, son of Charles Stratton head keeper of a sporting estate nearby.
The Stratton Years
Two of Jack’s sons, Peter and Michael, carried on the tradition with Peter running the gun business and Michael running a fishing tackle business under the name of Thomas Turner and Sons (located initially in the Butter Market and then at 21 Whitley Street in Reading). In 2001 Michael Stratton sold his fishing tackle business to fishing tackle retailer Sportfish and it was moved to Haywards Farm, Theale where a large barn was converted into a showcase fly fishing store. Meanwhile, Peter Stratton continued running the Thomas Turner Gunmaking business in Gosbrook Road in Caversham near Reading until his retirement in September 2012 when the doors were closed for the last time. Michael continued to trade in antique and vintage fishing tackle and his business flourished under the name of Thomas Turner Fly Fishing Antiques, building a reputation for buying and selling quality branded antique and vintage fishing tackle, mainly covering the likes of Hardy, Allcocks, Abu and Farlows on a global basis.
Fish and Fly Take Over
Following the death of Michael Stratton, the antique and vintage fishing tackle business and stock was acquired by Fish and Fly Ltd., an online fishing website publisher in June 2016. Thomas Turner Fishing Antiques trade online at www.thomasturner.com and enjoy many synergies with the Fish and Fly websites and forums such as www.flyfishing.co.uk Richard Hewitt the principal owner of Fish and Fly has previously held the position of Chairman of Farlows of Pall Mall where he had the honour of being the grantee of the Royal Warrant for fishing tackle from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. To add to the knowledge within the team, after 16 happy years as head of the Vintage Fishing Tackle Department of Mullock’s Auctions, John Stephenson has been appointed Commercial Director of Thomas Turner Fishing Antiques. His primary role is to bring his extensive knowledge of antique tackle to the company, visiting clients, dealers and collectors, sourcing and buying tackle to expand their worldwide customer base and its portfolio & content. John writes a regular blog for Thomas Turner, as well as producing regular videos about interesting pieces of vintage and collectable tackle. The story continues…