Bird obsession

Lawrence with some of his ‘birds’
Lawrence with some of his ‘birds’

A man has been dubbed the ‘Ornimator’ for filling his entire home with £60,000 worth of bizarre ornaments.

Eccentric Lawrence Cobbold, 43, has filled his home, three sheds and a garage with 20,000 items of bric-a-brac - and he doesn’t plan to stop there. The obsessive collector - who started his hobby 30 years ago - even moved to a new house so he could have more room his ever expanding collection. And he even has to cook and clean at his parents’ home because he has no room in his own place.

“It just took off,” said Lawrence, who works as a warehouse attendant.

“A couple of my work mates have seen the collection. They know roughly how much I’ve got but when they see it it’s more than they thought. I’d say that the total value of my items are between £50,000 to 60,000.”

In total, Lawrence has around 14,000 thimbles, 2,000 paperweights, 1,000 fridge magnets and about 300 plates. He has also collected hundreds of pictures, mugs and jigsaws, all connecting in some way to birds .

Lawrence, of Plymouth, Devon, says he is known in most of the local charity shops, with some stores even holding items back for him that they’ll know he’ll like. His collections have taken over every room of the house - so he spends most of his time at his parents’ place.

He said he has started collecting smaller items, such as thimbles and paperweights, to fit around his bigger pieces.

“I’ve got a feather duster, but a lot of the pieces are too delicate to clean that way,” he said.

“The best way to clean them is to blow the dust off them and then hoover it up.”

Lawrence’s dad Tony used to keep budgies, canaries, cockatoos and finches and thinks that could be where his son’s interest with birds started. He has also been organising car boot sales for over 20 years.

“Whenever we see a bird, thimble or paperweight, we’ll always buy it,” said Tony, 65.

“We don’t just go out and buy one, we’ll buy 100 or 200 at a time. We buy everything. The good with the bad.”

Lawrence previously owned a two-bedroom house before he moved into his father Tony’s old three-bedroom property so he had more room. Tony even sold Lawrence his garage so that he had extra space to store his mammoth stash. But he still has to do most things at his parents’ house.

Tony said: “He can’t prepare any meals, or do any washing at his house, he has to do everything at ours.

“He used to sleep at ours as well and just have the house to show his ornaments but he’s managed to fit a bed into one of the rooms now. He can’t do any cooking because he doesn’t want the grease or dirt to damage his collection. He does have a kettle though so he can make a cup of tea or coffee.”

Single Lawrence Cobbold said one of his favourite items in his collection is a 6ft4in lamp in the shape of a parrot which he bought for £200 from a shop in Newton Abbott. He said his best bargains tend to be bulk bought collections of thimbles which work out at 5p or 10p a piece. His oddest item is a paper weight with a jellyfish inside which he bought for £20 from a shop in Paignton.

Asked why he collected items he said today: “I don’t know really. It started off with bird ornaments and then it went to thimbles and then it went to paper weights. I don’t know why I do it. I just do. I always have. I like to talk to people in the charity shops, so it’s a social thing too. I had a budgie when I was little so that started off the birds. I’m going to keep collecting the thimbles and the paperweights because they are smaller, because I’m trying to downsize.”

Mirror


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