Any Old Ladders, Cash in the Attic...?

Any Old Ladders, Cash in the Attic...?

30th March 2015

Back in October last year, we came across a really interesting story online about the dying craft of traditional wooden ladder making.  It was such a fascinating story that we published a blog post about it, describing the different types of wooden ladders that were made in times gone by.   The blog post tells the story of Stanley Clark, a traditional wooden ladder maker who was determined to pass on his skills and knowledge to the younger generation as he approached his 70th birthday.  A grant from the Foyle Foundation along with support from the Heritage Craft Association enabled Stanley to pass on his skills to woodworkers Robin Wood and Steve Tomlin and you can view a complete description of how to make the components and then assemble them here.

When aluminium ladders were introduced in the 1960s, it led to the disappearance of the wooden ladder industry in the UK.  We’ve already described in the past how old wooden ladders are now being “upcycled” into trendy household items such as towel rails, shelving units and other home décor accessories.  Some of the designs are quite stylish and this has resulted in a shortage of old wooden ladders for craft activities.  Nowadays, getting hold of an old wooden ladder can prove quite difficult and they are beginning to change hands for a tidy sum of money!  If you search online you’ll come across old wooden ladders advertised for sale as “vintage shabby chic” or “vintage pre-loved wooden ladder” with asking prices from £40 upwards.

Antique ladders are proving particularly popular – we’ve seen a plain “French orchard ladders” for sale from £175 upwards.  A popular antiques website has a collection of antique ladders, some of which are in fabulous condition.  The straight ladders sell at prices starting at £75, whilst more unusual items like lattice ladders and A-frame step ladders are likely to set you back a great deal more.

There’s a roaring trade in antique or vintage industrial items and many of these are sold to the film industry for use as props.  If you’re the owner of a construction company that’s been in business for many years, then it may be that you have some old wooden ladders that you no longer use hanging around.  Don’t be tempted to throw them in the skip or leave them lying neglected in a corner of your workshop gathering dust.  Why not haul them out, give them a clean and take them along to a local antiques dealer to see if they’re worth anything?  If you can’t find an antique dealer in your area who’s interested, then check out antique dealers online who specialise in vintage industrial equipment.  You never know, you could just be lucky enough to have an unusual ladder with a great history that is worth quite a lot of money.