Max Hardcastle was born in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. He started collecting antiques at an early age, hoarding his treasures - including a five-foot stuffed crocodile - in a disused hen house, known ever after as the 'junk hut'. After National Service and a brief period working for an engineering company, Max and his family heard the call of the Yorkshire Dales, where they bought a cottage, hung out their sign - Bullpen Antiques - and made a happy living for many years. Max and his family now live in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, with two dogs, two ponies and an ever-fluctuating population of hens, ducks and pigeons. His only regret is that he no longer has contents of his treasured 'junk hut'.