Derbyshire local legends: vacuum cleaner man

Most would agree that life certainly is not without its cuts and scrapes and if you don’t have a sense of humour it can all get a bit much.

It’s during the bad times that rubbing shoulders with a good sort from the neighbourhood can really give you a lift.

James Brown, Mr Vacuum Cleaner at his store and museum with a handheld Kirby model

James Brown, Mr Vacuum Cleaner at his store and museum with a handheld Kirby model

And as the soundpiece for the community we have met our fair share of such extraordinary people.

Some might call them legends.

So, in our regular ‘local legends’ posts we will try and share a few of the ones which we think every community is a bit better for having around.

This week’s local legend is James Brown.

Not only does he have a legendary name, the 35 year-old from Eastwood has a legendary occupation.

He runs a vacuum cleaner shop and has been collecting the machines since he was eight years old.

When the Ripley and Heanor News interviewed him in 2012 about his shop on Market Street his personal museum boasted 170 models.

The oldest model in his collection was a Hoover 700, made in 1926.

James estimated he had spent between £30,000 to £50,000 on vacuum cleaners over the years, sourcing them from house clear-outs, second-hand shops and eBay.

He said: “I just like them. There’s no definitive reason - there’s just an attraction there.

“I like vacuuming as well, but I don’t use a lot of my collection – especially as they get older.

“I had a Spinney 800 when I was about ten, but it got to the point where I was running out of space. I shared my room with my brother at the time. I had to get rid of it and I’ve never been able to find a replacement.”

If you know a local legend whose extraordinary life deserves to be celebrated please get in touch by emailing