Jackie Smith from Christchurch, Dorset, took up her prickly hobby 20 years ago while in Texas, USA. The pensioner has amassed an impressive £1,400 collection of around 90 unique pieces of barbed wire. Jackie believes she is the only person in the UK who collects barbed wire and passionately defends her "addictive" entertainment from those who accuse her of being "boring".
A retired English teacher in her 70s explained how a trip to Texas sparked her unusual pastime. “I came across a museum in Texas called the Devil's Rope Museum, it's all about barbed wire. “I bought a zip-lock bag there, consisting of 4-inch pieces of wire, which had an information leaflet about barbed wire. Since then, I've become a little obsessed." She continued: "I believe that I am the only person in the UK who collects barbed wire - there are many more collectors in the US and Australia."
“Some people may find my hobby boring and unusual, but it is very interesting. My two kids think it's weird, but my husband tolerates it. But a lot of people like to listen to stories.” The pieces of 18-inch barbed wire that make up her collection range in price from a few cents to over £200. But most of Jackie's collection was donated by kind collectors she met online. She said, “I have 90 different types of barbed wire on display in my lobby, which I talk about when I have guests. The most expensive item I own was £212 (about $300), but it was a gift.”