Instead of a fresh Lancashire vs Yorkshire dust-up, however, the duo – who make up the Hutchinson Scott auction house – are operating in harmony as they have done for 20 years or so, as reflected by their new saleroom and office base.
The duo have dealer backgrounds but have been running the firm since it was revived two years ago after Scott’s dad, Philip, retired. Philip set up the firm in 1976 and is still providing strong support to the latest generation.
Up to the end of last autumn, auctions were held in a rented hall in the village of Bedale, definitely set on the White Rose side of things in North Yorkshire. Michael Scott himself is from near York.
But with Hodson hailing from the Red Rose county, the search was on for a permanent base that suited both business partners. The solution turned out to be the village of Embsay, also in North Yorkshire but much closer to the county border.
Scott says: “We found this site by chance really. We had been looking at Skipton for about a year and after finding nothing suitable then this Embsay place came up, in a nice rural area just off the A59 with lots of parking and storage.”
There can be few other salerooms with such an idyllic setting: just to the south of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with Bolton Abbey nearby and even a steam railway running a stone’s throw away. “We can hear the steam engine every three hours. It toots its whistle as it goes past, but Embsay is quite a quiet place,” says Scott.
With the dealers turned auctioneers having expertise particularly in furniture and horology, both categories have been a strong feature of sales held so far. Three a year is the current format, incorporating specialist sections.
“It has been going really well, we have had a good first year,” says Scott. “We combined our knowledge and are managing to source good-quality items in both categories.”
While clocks and furniture are the stand-out items at the moment, they are trying to get into other markets, but the core strength so far is clear.
As Scott adds: “We had 170 clocks on Saturday [in the January 25-27 sale] and only 10 of them didn’t sell. There were similar results with furniture too. We have lots of contacts from our past so we are getting in touch with them – retired dealers, clients who have collected over the years and who want to try to get rid of things now. A lot of networking is being done to source things this way rather than wait for things to come through the door.”
In future, Hutchinson Scott hopes to increase the size of the saleroom and space available overall but nothing is set in stone yet. One strong link with the past certainly remains. “Dad still does the auctioneering for us,” says Scott. “He loves being on the rostrum.”