Written by David Jamilly.
Collecting props is no different to collecting art or antiques and Theme Traders houses one of the most unique collections in the world comprising of over ten thousand pieces available for prop hire.
Many props are works of art and very valuable in their own right.
The collection has taken over 40 years to compile and been sourced from all corners of the globe. It is housed in vast warehouses and available for both viewing and prop hire.
No two collections are the same and there is an art in itself of maintaining and storing old items or props and coping with deterioration and environmental factors.
Many pieces or props have made celebrity appearances over the years and travelled locations throughout the UK and Europe including Buckingham Palace and No.10!!
Regular users of the prop hire collection include media organisations like the BBC and ITV and the props will frequently be seen on shows like The One Show, The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. Theme Traders also offer a prop making service in addition to their vast collection available for hire.
Some props are of particular note, for example ‘The Celebrity Rhino’ which is a full size replica of a rhinoceros and once belonged to Ringo Starr who subsequently gave it to Keith Moon. Theme Traders also houses a series of full sized Fantasy Knights which were exhibited in The Royal Armouries in Leeds.
Every continent has different cultural creativity and production abilities and some of our memorable prop sourcing trips have been to places like Bhutan where unique textiles and iconic artefacts abound from past centuries. A complete contrast to items or props sourced in places like Italy and America where huge factories are geared up to producing decorative and ornamental items in mass production from materials like plastic and fibreglass.
In the film industry one particular category of prop for set dressing and hire is called ‘smalls’ and these essentially comprise of retro and vintage pieces that one might see on television programmes like Bargain Hunt.
To see aisle after aisle of retro items and props on shelves floor to ceiling and twenty foot high is quite an impressive and awesome sight in itself.
There are so many tales to be told of adventurous prop buying trips like sitting on the border of USA and Mexico at El Paso where there is high security hoping to visit an aluminium casting factory or visiting a jungletown carving facility in Sri Lanka. It would be impossible to count the times that props have been sourced from old fairgrounds or circuses that were closing down. These items with such a rich history are now available for hire for parties, photo shoots, television and film.
The world of building and housing a world class prop hire collection is indeed never dull!! You can also view the full collection via Theme Traders online prop hire catalogue or make an appointment to view the props in person.