A new exhibition commemorating the 150th birthday of one of Cumbria’s most significant and long-serving businesses takes place in Cockermouth next week.

Mitchell’s Auction Company was incorporated as a business in 1873 but its roots actually go back to its formation in Cockermouth by Robinson Mitchell in 1849, making it one of the longest established companies in the UK.

The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Kirkgate Arts and Heritage Group, opens at Mitchell’s Station Street salerooms next Tuesday (June 27) and concludes on Friday, June 30.

Times and Star: Robinson Mitchell SeniorRobinson Mitchell Senior (Image: Kirkgate Arts and Heritage)

It tells the story of the company’s development, when Robinson Mitchell established what is thought to be the foundation of the modern method of auctioneering now used worldwide, through to the present day.

It comprises 24 display boards plus a collection of items belonging to the family of Robinson Mitchell junior, which are part of the heritage collection at the Kirkgate Centre.

Times and Star: Auction mart wagons on car parkAuction mart wagons on car park (Image: Kirkgate Arts and Heritage)

A key part of the West Cumbrian business community for many generations, Mitchell’s provides services to customers and the wider community across three core business areas: livestock auction, valuation and livestock advisory services; land agency and advisory services including farm and land sales; household, antiques and fine art auction and valuation services.

Gloria Edwards, from Kirkgate Arts and Heritage, said: “We’ve been delighted to work alongside Mitchell’s to produce this exhibition.

“It tells the fascinating story of the development of a company that’s been an important component of the West Cumbrian business scene for so long.

Times and Star: Fairfield House and Mitchell's MartFairfield House and Mitchell's Mart (Image: Supplied)

“Over the past 12 months, I've been researching at Mitchell's and have now also produced a commemorative book, which has been printed and is being distributed to Mitchell’s staff and shareholders.

“We hope that as many people as possible come along to help celebrate a true Cumbrian institution!”


James Forster, Mitchell’s Head of Fine Art and Furniture, said: “It will be an absolute pleasure to host the exhibition here in the salerooms; a historic site for us as a company and proud local business.

“I am sure we will have plenty of visitors for what will be a fascinating display of local history.”

The exhibition will be staged daily (free admission) from June 27 to June 30 inclusive from 10am to 3pm in the company’s Fine Arts saleroom on Station Street.