By Robert Firth
A time-warp teenager has splashed £10,000 trying to live life like he’s back in the 1940s – and admits friends affectionately dub him a ‘vintage fruitcake.’
Charlie Roy, 19, from Milton Keynes says his obsession with the period began when he was six after listening to stories his great nan told him from her time working in a powdered egg factory during the second world war.
As he grew-up his interest in the era snowballed and he has now accumulated over £6,500 worth of memorabilia from the 30s, 40s and 50s and spent a further £3,500 on tweed jackets, Oxford bag trousers and military uniform so that he can dress like his WWII veteran Great Grandfather, Ron.
Despite amassing enough memorabilia to fill a small museum, the teenager has no plans to slow down his collecting anytime soon and the next purchase in his sights is a classic Austin 7, which he dreams of learning to drive in.
Charlie said: “I’ve been into all things vintage since I was six years old.
“My great nan Peggy used to work in a powdered egg factory in the 40s and my other great grandma Helen worked at the Handley Page Factory in Cricklewood, building Halifax Bombers during the height of the war.”
“I was captivated by their stories from a young age.
“The world they described seemed like a completely different world to the one I had been born into”
“I remember my mum being pulled in by a primary school teacher who said I had lived before because I had been reciting bits of history from the period in class, in a way well above a seven year old’s intellect.
“I’ve got a vintage bike which I go out on dressed-up and it’s nice seeing people’s reactions, usually people of a certain age who remember the 40s.
“I’ve had people tell me they remind me of their dad or their uncle when I’m in my RAF ‘blues.’
Over the years Charlie has collected hundreds of vintage items, including typewriters, gramophones, projectors and RAF memorabilia – either buying them himself or being handed down them by family and friends.
His most valuable hand-me-down is a £500 gold pocket watch which was sent back to his family from the trenches after his Great Great Grandad died in the first world war.
Charlie used to get his suit jackets and Oxford ‘bags’ trousers handmade by taking photos of people from the 40s into his local tailors and asking them to replicate their clothes, but has recently taken to sewing his own clothes.
He said: “I would go into tailors with pictures of Edward VIII and ask them to whip up his original Oxford bags for me.
“I’ve started exploring making my own clothes and I made my first two-piece suit the other week to a original 40s pattern.
“When I wear uniform, I try and make it a replica of my great grandad’s RAF uniform.
“My Great Grandma gave me his Observer wings. They are now pride of place on my uniform.
“I never met him, but I feel a connection with him through dressing like he would have.
“It’s not so much the military aspect that interests me. I’m not bothered about how much horsepower the Spitfire has.
“What interests me is how social conduct has changed between then and now.”
Charlie, who returned from living in Dubai for ten years last June, has plunged himself into the UK’s thriving vintage scene – winning runner up for ‘Mr Vintage UK’ at vintage festival, Twinwood, last year.
And while his mum shares his enthusiasm for all things 40s, he says his dad doesn’t share their passion for all things vintage and would prefer living in an ultramodern house with white walls.
Charlie said: “I got quite heavily bullied when I was younger, but when we moved to Dubai in 2010 that changed.
“There are so many different nationalities there and people are more accepting of people who’re a little bit different.
“Nowadays all my friends refer to me as the ‘vintage fruitcake.’
“I mainly dress like I’m from the middle classes in the 40s.
“You can get away with it more than having to dress in your tuxedo every time you pop out for a meal.
“My dream is to get a vintage Austin 7 – but I need to learn to drive first.
“I’d like to learn to drive in one.”