Gradwell Kilshaw opened the first Kilshaw’s Auctioneers on Fort Street in 1949. Gradwell’s son Frank and then his grandson Don continued in the family’s tradition, until Alison Ross purchased the Victoria auction house in January 2006. (Kilshaw’s Facebook)

End of an era as Victoria auction house closes up shop

Kilshaw’s Auctioneers has roots that go back to 1790s England

It is the end of an era for a longstanding tradition in Victoria with roots that go back all the way to 1790s England, as Kilshaw Auctioneers closes up shop.

The iconic Victoria auction house, which moved in 2016 from its home of 67 years in Antique Row on Fort Street, to a heritage building downtown on Langley Street, announced Tuesday that it closed its doors for good on March 31.

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“I am thankful to the Victoria community for decades of support, the buyers and sellers have been part of an incredible community and the staff at Kilshaw’s have been my family for many years,” said Alison Ross, owner of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers.

Ross, who plans to take an extended break before choosing her next career path, purchased Kilshaw’s in 2006 from Don Kilshaw, a seventh generation auctioneer. She had started her auction career with the company in 1997, after completing her Master’s degree in History in Art in 1994 with a specialty in Northwest Coast art.

Since buying the company, Alison has set auction records for the highest priced objects to sell at auction in Victoria.

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The origins of Kilshaw’s Auctioneers can be traced back to Kendal, England.

In 1790, William Kilshaw started it all by pairing buyers with sellers of home furnishings, real estate, farm implements, and cattle. The family business expanded into Canada in 1908 with its first auction house in Winnipeg, followed by Gradwell Kilshaw opening the first Victoria location on Fort Street in 1949.

Gradwell’s son Frank and then his grandson Don continued in the family’s tradition, until Ross purchased the Victoria auction house in January 2006.

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Kilshaw’s Auctioneers held their last regularly scheduled auction March 28.

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