Tim Booth 1951-2022


It is with great sadness that I am penning this obituary about my beloved cousin Tim Booth, husband to Sue and brother to Wendy, who died last December. His antiques shop stood in Lion Street for nearly a century and was regarded as one of the remaining landmarks of Rye.

It was founded by my great uncle Bert. He was one of, I believe, nine children, of my great grandfather – HJ Gasson. He was a very successful businessman, philanthropist and mayor of Rye at the turn of the last century. Old Ryers will remember the Gasson’s shop in Cinque Ports Street.

Tim started working in the antiques shop in 1969. Over the many years he built up an encyclopaedic knowledge of antiques. This was no ordinary antiques shop and can be described as being at the high end of the antiques market. Tim specialised in early English oak. In his day Tim travelled widely to secure some of the fantastic pieces which we saw over the years in his shop. Rye changes and we must adapt to such changes though it is with a certain nostalgia and indeed sadness as we recall all the old family businesses that have disappeared in the passing of the years, I believe this is one of the very last of the old order.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , The Booth family .

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  1. Tim was a colourful character, now sadly departed us .Always a friendly wave from his desk when I passed the shop.

  2. With his smile and a wave from his desk Tim atracted a lot of ladies to his shop, who would visit him with their problems. I doubt that they ever bought anything.!
    He would sit at his computer all day long. May he rest in peace. We will miss him.

    Aoife at Rye Old Books

  3. I’m so glad to see the passing of Mr Booth marked here. He was a lovely chap, and amusingly forthright, if I can put it like that! He was indeed an authority also, and I dare say he could more than have held his own on The Antiques Roadshow. He was not merely a dry antiques bore, he could bring a piece of furniture alive by explaining its function, composition and social history. I marvelled at how he knew that the Baltic timber which was used in a beautiful 17th bureau meant it was likely made in King’s Lynn, bcs that was the port by which it used to enter England. He enlightened me about candle slides and partridge wood too, and the more I asked the more he warmed to his subject… He was a fascinating man, and a great loss to Rye. I have to say, I’m very moved as the weeks pass, and life goes on, to see the lustre slowly fade from the highly-polished furniture in the window… I once asked Mr Booth what the secret was to the glassy sheen he achieved on his mule chests, back stools and low boys. He looked at me, somewhat puzzled, and said, “Elbow grease!”.

  4. Sadly I have just heard about the sad death of Tim who was a man who I had known for many years as I was a Antique dealer in Rye. Loved him a darling of a man had many lovely times with Tim. sadly I lost contact with Wendy, love to Suzy. Tim you will always be in my heart

  5. So sad to have just read this. The last time I bumped into Tim was in Boots, where he was collecting a rather large bag of pills and, as to be expected, some suitably dry-humoured banter ensued. It must be almost 30 years since I was regularly socialising with Tim and Sue. I treasured their friendship and, to this day, I can safely say that Tim’s spag bol was best I’ve ever had. My sincere condolences to Sue and family.


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