Tribute to Lilian Gierat

THE last of three generations of antique dealers, Treasures owner Lilian Gierat, has died - marking the end of an era. Lilian, who for 44 years ran her famous shop in Exeter Road - and for a short period in Albion Hill - died on May 16, aged 86.

THE last of three generations of antique dealers, Treasures owner Lilian Gierat, has died - marking the end of an era.

Lilian, who for 44 years ran her famous shop in Exeter Road - and for a short period in Albion Hill - died on May 16, aged 86.

The granddaughter of noted Preston antique dealer RE Treasure and daughter of London dealers John and Francis Treasure, she was born in Euston London on December 9, 1922, writes David Beasley.

The youngest of five children - two brothers and two sisters - in 1940 the family moved to their ancestral home of Lancashire: "They moved to get away from the bombings," said her youngest son Victor.


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Soon after, Lilian, who was doing her bit for the war effort by working in an ordnance factory for the War Office producing bombs and explosives, had a brush with death, when she contracted meningitis.

"Few people survived meningitis then," said Victor. "She probably caught it at the factory, with so many people like sailors coming and going.

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"Because she survived, her case was the subject of an article in The Lancet."

It was while the tee-total Lilian was living in Lancashire she was to meet her soul mate, Joseph Gierat, while at a dance at the famous Tower Ballroom, in Blackpool.

Joseph was a Polish bomber navigator, who escaped from the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and, like many of his countrymen, became part of the RAF.

Together they had four sons, Victor, Peter, Tony and Edward, and Victor added: "He went on some raids, and then was stationed in Scotland."

In 1964, the family moved to Exmouth and shortly after opened Treasures in Exeter Road, before moving to Albion Hill for a couple of years in the mid-1970s before moving back to Exeter Road.

Although a very private person, she was also very outspoken said Victor, and stood her ground - but was very popular with the customers.

He said: "They loved her and she was very knowledgeable and she was well known in auction houses in Exeter and Sidmouth.

"The (Rolle College) students loved the shop - they used to fit out all their flats cheaply."

Victor said she kept the shop open as long as she could: "She worked right up until the end, it was her life.

"She insisted, even when she was ill, even for just a couple of days a week, when she was poorly.

"She will be missed greatly - it is a big loss. The end of an era."

She leaves four sons, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

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