Old Mancunian Malcolm's rare Owl Collection

Posted on: June 25th 2021School News


The Manchester Grammar School is appealing to any owl aficionados who are interested in owning a collection of more than 6,000 individual owl pieces to come forward.

For more than 60 years, Old Mancunian J Malcolm Allan (OM 1946-53) built up an amazing collection of 6,430 different owl pieces, ranging from wooded-carved owls to silver-plated owls to even owl-shaped soap.

Malcolm spent his entire working life as a librarian. He started at the Scottish School of Librarianship in 1957, and later worked at libraries in Glasgow, Wigan, Toronto and New York, before retiring in September 2000. 

Sadly, Malcolm died in October 2020 aged 85, and bequeathed his entire owl collection to his old school, MGS. The delivery was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions, but finally arrived where Malcolm spent his educational years in a furniture van in April.

Malcolm also kept incredibly detailed and beautifully presented records of every single owl piece he ever collected across 10 notebooks. Every time he added a piece to his collection, he would create an ink-drawing of the piece in one of these notebooks, along with a description. When Malcolm passed away, his personal book collection was donated to the local Oxfam shop in Stirling, where Malcolm lived. When the manager of the shop went through the books, they discovered all 10 notebooks which contain a full catalogue of the entire owl collection. The notebooks were then sent to MGS to be with Malcolm’s collection.

MGS is now taking advice from an auctioneer and the School is interested in speaking to any owl collectors or aficionados who may be interested in owning Malcolm’s collection and who can give it the home, and the care, it deserves.

Anyone who is interested in the collection should email Julie Wright, Development Office Administrator, on or call 0161 224 7201.