Obituary: Sid Woodhams, collector

Sid Woodhams, who has died at 83, was a consummate collector of social history artefacts from North Yorkshire, and lived to see his treasure trove installed in a permanent home at the Malton and Norton Heritage Centre, which opened last year.

Sid Woodhams

Sid Woodhams, who has died at 83, was a consummate collector of social history artefacts from North Yorkshire, and lived to see his treasure trove installed in a permanent home at the Malton and Norton Heritage Centre, which opened last year.

His passion for preserving everyday objects from past generations was ignited when he was given a 19th century naturalist’s field microscope for his 12th birthday.

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The collection that he and John Stone amassed over six decades painted such a detailed picture of the area’s past that in 2011, the Woodhams Stone Collection Trust was formed to secure its future.

Among the hoard were items that charted the trades for which Malton became famous, including the numerous breweries that operated there during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Sid Woodhams was born in 1937 in Timperley, near Manchester. He survived polio at the age of two, but it left him with a calliper on his leg, and he spent much of his childhood in and out of hospital. It wasn’t until he was 11, when his parents moved to Scarborough, that his formal education began at Gladstone Road School.

He began collecting soon after, using pocket money from a paper round to buy small items in the sale rooms. Meanwhile, he took a job repairing shoes for Timpsons, before becoming a butcher in Bridlington and then moving to work for the Co-op in Malton and Pickering.

But in the 1960s his changed career path changed when he joined Trendons in Malton, manufacturing toys and other items, and as he began visiting auctions, his collection expanded rapidly.

A further change came when he and his wife, Moira, opened a sweet shop and newsagents on Church Street, next to Malton’s cinema. Finally, he teamed up with former colleagues from Trendons in the manufacture of plastic skeletons for the medical profession. It was an innovative product line which achieved worldwide success and was featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World.

During the 1980s and into the 90s, Mr Woodhams was collections curator at Beck Isle Museum in Pickering. He was also a founder member of the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society and was made an honorary president of the Woodhams Stone Collection in 2020.

He is survived by Moira, their son, Graham, and granddaughter, Amelia.