Hartley Magazine

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Pots of money in old greenhouses

eBay vendor realises 100% profit on 32-year old Hartley 10

A Hartley Botanic greenhouse has just been sold on eBay for twice as much as it cost new, 32 years ago. The entirely original Hartley 10, measuring 3.1m x 5.2m and described as being in excellent order apart from one cracked pane of glass, attracted 43 bids from potential buyers, eventually going for £1,809. It cost £900 when new in 1979.

While perhaps not in the same investment league as a Gaugin or gold ingot, it seems nonetheless remarkable that a functional greenhouse can be sold at a profit after more than 30 years of use.

But according to Hartley, who have been making estate and garden glasshouses in Oldham, Lancashire for over 70 years, it’s the norm. “Even the small greenhouses can out-live their owners so there’s an active after-market,” says managing director, Johnny Mobasher, “and second-hand prices are invariably higher than the original purchase price.”

Given that the modern equivalent of the Hartley 10 is the Highgrow 10 model which costs £5,000, that may not be surprising but the underlying reason is that the structures last so long, remaining fit for purpose for decades.

“I suppose we are the antithesis of built-in obsolescence,” muses Johnny Mobasher. “By using only the highest grade of aluminium, glass and fixings, we hand build our glasshouses to last a lifetime – and that means that they often pass from one generation to the next.”

Another Hartley 10, purchased at Southport Flower Show in 1963, is still in daily use as its owner, Gordon Walker, proudly explains in a video interview on the home page of the company’s website at www.hartley-botanic.co.uk; and yet another installed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester in 1950 is still in constant use over 60 years later.