David’s ancestral quest has been especially meaningful for him because he was adopted. David’s parents, Jim and Joyce Dickinson, adopted him as a baby – something he wasn’t to find out until he was about 12 years old, although he says he had always felt ‘different’.
From an early age he showed a sharp business instinct, but he didn’t immediately go into antiques. When he left school at 14 he worked first as an apprentice in an aircraft factory, though he left after only six months for a job in the textile industry following – though he didn’t know it at the time – in his real grandfather’s footsteps.
Once he had discovered, by chance, that he was adopted, Jim and Joyce explained that his birth mother was an Armenian called Eugenie Gulessarian, who had lived locally. David says he was neither distressed nor even particularly surprised by these revelations and it wasn’t until he was in his twenties that he made any attempt to track Eugenie down. David was curious about his birth family and his Armenian roots, and also wanted to find out why Eugenie had let him go.