In 1973 in Hay Hill, Berkeley Square, London, a large basement beneath a hairdresser and an estate agent was redecorated and filled with small 17th – 19th century antiques with crests and coats of arms. The only sign was a photograph in a small advertising case outside the hairdresser, aided by a string of whimsical advertisements in the personal columns of The Times. This worked well for a while, but the newspaper finally objected to 'Heirloom & Howard, Hay Hill, Harmorial Hantiques' because the last two words were 'not in the Oxford Dictionary'. We were faced with dropping our ‘H’s or our advertisement, and chose the latter.

Although after three years we moved to the premises upstairs, it was not until ten years later that we bought the lease of No.1 Grafton Street, a spacious gallery at the corner of Hay Hill and Dover Street. Finally, in 1989, we left London and moved to Bath – a new adventure. Today, after 43 years and the sale of over 43,000 armorial objects, many of which have returned to the families for whom they were once made, or to collectors interested in heraldry and in porcelain, this company still offers similar antiques from a farmhouse in Wiltshire.

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