Robinson MitchellRobinson Mitchell

Background to the company

Mitchells Auction Company lies at the heart of Cockermouth’s identity as a true market town.  Founded by the inventor of modern auctioneering on what is believed to be the first purpose-built livestock auction in the country, Mitchells continues to be the leading provider of auction and related services in West Cumbria and the wider region. 

A Family BusinessA Family Business
The company was established in 1849 by Robinson Mitchell, the youngest son of a local clog and bootmaker.  He began selling items of furniture in a weekly sale close to Cockermouth’s Main Street, moving to a larger wooden shed on The Fairfield as the business grew.  Declaring himself “tired of seeing the higgling and piggling  which it required in order to make a five pound bargain” he announced he would start taking open bids from would-be customers on the Fairfield.  This is believed to be the foundation of the modern method of auctioneering which is now used throughout the country if not the wider world.

Certificate of Incorporation 1873Certificate of Incorporation 1873


As business grew, a purpose-built livestock auction mart was constructed in 1865 with the adjacent family house (Fairfield House) built in 1868. This was believed to be the first purpose-built livestock auction in the country. It was well-served by the new railway which ran adjacent to the mart site and the business expanded to encompass bigger land and property sales as well as furniture and household goods sales.   Mitchells was eventually incorporated in 1873 so is amongst the longest established companies in the UK.


Cockermouth Horse Sale, Fairfield, 1906Cockermouth Horse Sale, Fairfield, 1906

In more recent times, the livestock mart has outgrown its town centre location, moving in 2002 to a more suitable site on the fringe of the town now known as “The Lakeland Livestock Centre”.  Mitchells weekly general household sales and renowned quarterly Antique Furniture and Fine Art Sales continue to operate from our traditional and highly atmospheric town centre saleroom, attracting buyers from throughout the UK and also overseas through live internet bidding. 

The Land Agency division, now based at the Lakeland Livestock Centre, concerns itself with the sale of farm properties and land and also provides professional farm & environment consultancy services to all areas of the agricultural industry.   

Fairfield House & Livestock Auction MartFairfield House & Livestock Auction Mart


Mitchells have also expanded their operations to include weekly “Indoor” Car Boot sales at the Lakeland Livestock Centre as well as the hiring out of the centre as a venue for events and festivals such as Woolfest and Fellgather.  

In June 2011 the company opened VeeVa! Coffee Shop adjacent to the in-town Saleroom with staff trained by leading UK coffee “guru” Paul Meikle-Janney.   The interior created by Alison Tordoff of Fidget Design has also been nominated for an international  design award. 

Mitchells Auction Company Ltd, Lakeland Livestock Centre, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 0QQ | Telephone: 01900 822016

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