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Woman finds ‘historic treasure’ while clearing grandad’s house

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A Liverpool woman made an amazing discovery when going through her recently deceased grandfather’s attic.

Katelyn Ann Mckeown, 28, was going through her Grandfather’s house on Ferry Road, Fazakerley, where he lived for 65 years before passing away at the age of 84.

John Mckeown, whose real name was Cornelius but was always called John, enjoyed collecting a number of different things, including a “real treasure” of a set of matches from 1930.

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Mr Mckeown was a docker during his working life, as was his father, who passed on the matches to him.

John was also Craig Charles’ uncle, and the ECHO recently reported on his sister-in-Law Theresa’s passing.

Theresa was the longest-serving barmaid at the Arkles pub on Anfield Road up until her retirement in 2018.

John with his nephews Craig Charles (right), Dean (left) and Emile (second from the left)
John with his nephews Craig Charles (right), Dean (left) and Emile (second from the left)

Speaking about her Grandad, Katelyn said he loved collecting old items and relics.

Ms Mckeown said: “My grandad was a massive collector of ancestry stuff, he did our whole family tree.”

As well as the matches there are loads of folders of birth, death, and marriage certificates. My great grandad’s on there and he was a docker so that’s where I’m assuming the matches had come from and my grandad took them and kept them safe.

The 'little treasure' Katelyn Ann found
The ‘little treasure’ Katelyn Ann found

“He hoarded a lot, there were loads of little trinkets and pictures. He was massive on pubs and had loads of pictures of them too.”

The matches are from 1930 and were released when the Britannic was released on her maiden voyage. The picture on the back was designed by Walter Thomas in 1929.

The Britannic sailed between 1930-1960 and had its maiden voyage from Liverpool. The White Star Line matches were commissioned to coincide with its maiden voyage.

A look inside the matchbook, which is still in pristine condition
A look inside the matchbook, which is still in pristine condition

Katelyn got in touch with a collector from California, who owns the largest private collection of Titanic memorabilia in the world, who told her that she had found an amazing relic.

Ms Mckeown said: “I sent him a picture (of the matchbox) and he actually has two of them! He told me I’d come across a real treasure and to keep it safe.

“I also got in touch with some people who run a Titanic museum and I’m just waiting to hear back from them now. We couldn’t get a curator to look at it because everyone’s still working from home, unfortunately.

“Everyone keeps telling me it’s a historic treasure and I should be using gloves to handle it!”

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