MEET Clive Gravett. He is the proud owner of 200 lawnmowers – but says he’s trying to cut down.

The 67-year-old Lancing lawnmower aficionado began collecting them 15 years ago.

Clive said his love for agricultural machinery stems from his time growing up on a farm.

“I can talk to you all day about lawnmowers,” he said.

The Argus:

He is part of an expanding band of mower lovers. He belongs to the 500-strong Old Lawnmower Club, where members around the world discuss their machines.

And their ranks have swelled under lockdown.

Clive said: “We’ve seen a vast increase in interest since coronavirus began and a rush of people joining our club.

“I think people who are bored at home might be digging in the shed and finding lawnmowers that interest them. It’s an interesting hobby.

“It’s worth a look – you might find a lovely vintage mower.”

Clive has recently got his hands on a very special specimen.

It’s a “more or less exact replica” of the world’s first lawnmower, called Budding’s mower.

The great iron contraption was invented in 1830 and was intended as a superior alternative to the scythe.

No original examples were known to exist. But in 2012, a replica was built by Guy Martin and a team of engineers as part of the TV series How Britain Worked.

The programmes showcased some of the 19th century’s most impressive feats of engineering and brought them back to life.

The Argus:

The mower was built using original patent drawings and the thing will soon be exhibited at the Museum of Gardening in Hassocks, where Clive is a curator.

It joins many others dating from the 1860s to 1980s together with a display of rare vintage gardening tools.

“It’s not to be missed,” Clive said.