Established in 1958 by Greg’s father, Lloyd Cook, LJ Cook & Co started out as a specialist French polishing and restoration business catering to the local Melbourne market. Joining his father in 1970, at the tender age of 18, Greg spent six years learning the restoration trade before turning his attention to dealing.
“My first buying trip to the UK was way back in 1976 when I was just 24,” recalls Greg, “not only was it my first overseas trip but it was also my first ever flight. This was start of what became more than 150 return visits to the UK. At the time Anglo Pacific was yet to offer antique shipping so I used a small London-based firm where I met the fabulous Phyllis Kearns. When Phyllis was tasked with establishing Anglo Pacific’s Fine Art division in March 1985, I followed her. Mary Thomassen joined the division in March 1986 and when Phyllis retired in 1993, she admirably filled her shoes. Our delightful business relationship grew into a strong friendship. I can’t believe Mary’s been with Anglo Pacific for so long, their longest serving staff member at 26 years, it all seems like only yesterday.”
From that first buying trip, LJ Cook & Co expanded their small shop, sales increased and they never looked back. Greg became a partner in the business and eventually took over the reins from his father when he retired in 1983.
“At this point I decided to grow the business,” continues Greg, “I was going to the UK three times a year, shipping 40ft containers with Anglo Pacific each time. LJ Cook & Co’s workforce expanded to 17, mainly workshop alongside sales staff. We focussed on Victorian furniture and small antiques, a booming market as Melbourne grew and prospered in the gold rush of 1800s giving rise to large areas of Victorian property and therefore a big demand for Victorian furniture – a market we tapped heavily to our advantage.”
In 1985 Greg opened a second shop specialising in Georgian and Regency furniture and objects. Its success exceeded initial expectations and became the main direction for LJ Cook & Co. By 1990 the two shops had been amalgamated and attention turned to only the best quality pieces – the business grew once more.
“There is no doubt that making all those buying trips to the UK helped me accumulate plenty of knowledge and provided endless experiences. I have been privileged to be involved in the antique business but now it’s time to move on and concentrate on other interests. It’s been a great journey meeting many colourful people along the way, not least Anglo Pacific’s Phyllis Kearns and Mary Thomassen, two consummate ambassadors for the shipping industry.”
Contact Anglo Pacific on 020 8838 8008, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.anglopacific.co.uk.
LJ Cook & Co - www.ljcookantiques.com.au.
About Fine Art Shipping - Anglo Pacific is proficient in the packing and transportation of bespoke and reproduction furniture, antiques, historic and contemporary works of art, sculptures and items of architectural merit. Testament to our expertise and excellence, we are the number one choice for many antique dealers, art galleries, museums, interior designers and private buyers and collectors across the globe – including various royal families. We are members of both the London and Provincial Antique Dealers Association (LAPADA) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID).
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