By James Ward
If your house needs a bit of a spring clean, it’s worth calling in James Brown – he has Britain’s biggest collection of VACUUM CLEANERS.
Dust-buster James Brown owns more than 300 vacuums – which have set him back more than £60,000 and is owner of the UK’s only hoover museum.
But he fears that his collection could soon be in peril – because he’s running out of places to store his treasured cleaners.
As well as a shop and museum packed with vacuums, he also keeps dozens of them in his home – and admits that actually doing his own vacuuming can be difficult with so many machines around to trip over.
He said: “Space is a bit of an issue. When I first got the repair shop and museum, it was great, because I had loads of room.
“But I’m inundated with people offering me vacuums to add to my collection and I’m having to seriously limit how many I can physically fit in the space I have available.
“Lots of people offer me their old machines – sometimes just when they’re on the way to the tip and think they can make a quick buck, but a lot of people have great sentimental value attached to them and want them to go to a good home.
“Often if someone’s family member has died, they don’t want to throw away their appliances – but they don’t want to keep them either. I’ve always tried to help by offering these machines a good home, but I’m getting inundated and I really can only afford to keep space for those really rare, or unused models.”
Since being awarded a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest collection of vacuum cleaners in 2013, James reckons he’s spent up to a further £10,000 on bumping up his collection – with some rare machines setting him back more than £500.
James, who loves nothing more than sucking the dust off his carpets, got his first vacuum when he was just eight – and since then has spent thousands of pounds compiling his huge world record breaking collection.
But the 38-year-old, from Hucknall in Nottinghamshire – who calls himself Mr Vacuum Cleaner – only uses one of his special vacuums to clean his own home – as the rest are for display only.
He owns a whole host of models including Hoovers, Electroluxes, Kirbys and Dysons – and even has a gold-plated Kirby worth around £4000.
His oldest pump vacuum dates back to the first World War and his oldest electric model is from the 1920s.
James runs a vacuum repair and maintenance shop in Heanor, Derbyshire and keeps around 160 models at the museum which he also runs on site.
In addition to this, vacuum fanatic James has a house full of hoovers and friends and family even store dozens more of the cleaners for him.
James’ unusual hobby first started when he fell in love with his mum’s Electrolux 345 Automatic at the age of four.
He said: “I was eight when I got my first vacuum.
“I was at my dad’s house playing outside when I spotted one in a storage area which someone had thrown out.
“I took it back inside and it worked.
“Later I got another from the market and then it’s like anything once you have one or two you start getting bored and others catch your eye.
“I shared a room with my brother at the time so was only allowed six machines at a time. If I wanted another I would have to get rid of one because there wasn’t room to keep lots.”
James set the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of vacuum cleaners in 2012 with his 322 strong hoard.
But as he has several duplicates and has expanded his collection since then he estimates he has nearer 350 vacuums now.
James’ most prized possessions are his three gold-plated Kirby cleaners shipped over from America which, back in the day, were awarded to the brand’s most successful salesmen.
The hoover hoarder loves his collection but admits he’s faced some criticism in the past.
He said: “My mum was always perfectly fine with it but some people weren’t keen.
“When I was a child some people thought it was a hobby more suitable for girls but obviously attitudes have changed a lot since then.
“I did encounter some opposition but I just ignored it and carried on anyway.
“I have lots of people bring their children into the shop and museum now because their kids are interested in learning more.
“When I was younger I thought I was the only one but there’s a lot more out there than you think.
“It’s hard to explain what it is about vacuums that I love. I just think they’re great, the way they move around and make things disappear.
“It’s the history and the different styles which interest me. They’re appliances which can actually do quite a lot.”