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Sale of clothes belonging to real life Miss Havisham
JOURNALIST and broadcaster Janet Street Porter was in the North-East for the sale of a secret stash of vintage clothing owned by a real-life Miss Havisham.
The media personality bought a leather suitcase, bed sheets and some perfumes from the collection of Vervia Todd, from Houghton-le-Spring The beautiful clothes lay undiscovered for up to 70-years until her death in November at the age of 92.
Her relatives were astounded when they stumbled upon the staggering collection, estimated to be worth £100,000, even finding one designer dress stuffed up the chimney.
On Saturday, Miss Todd's remarkable wardrobe went on sale at her Victorian home, where some of the rooms remained unchanged for decades and around half of her garments were snapped up.
Paula Donaldson, 43, who managed the sale of the clothes for Miss Todd's relatives said: “We have had a lot of vintage clothing dealers coming through, and people had travelled from all over the country.”
"One woman came from Ireland and Janet Street Porter also attended, which was lovely.
"She told us she has a holiday cottage in Yorkshire and had read about the sale in the papers."
Miss Todd’s fiancee died in the Second World War she was left heartbroken, and she never married.
Instead she treated herself to yearly holidays abroad, each time buying herself a new suitcase along with a collection of the finest specially-made clothing of the day.
But when she returned to her home in Houghton-le-Spring, she would stash the suitcases away, unpacked.
Around 200 vintage dresses sold for £150 each, and the most expensive item to sell was a World War One leather suitcase for £300.
Ms Donaldson said: “About half of the collection has gone. All the main things, the really nice dresses, have been sold. We are considering holding another event to sell the rest.
Ms Donaldson added that Miss Todd would have been 'delighted' by the interest in her beautiful collection.
Her fiancée tragically died whilst fighting in Arnhem in the Netherlands, and it was after this that she developed her secret obsession with clothes.
She never married and spent her life alone in the house after the death of her father, Sam Todd, a dental surgeon.
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