Letters and sketches by an English teacher imprisoned during the First World War will go under the hammer tomorrow.

Albert Cusden was detained at Ruhleben prison camp on the north coast of Germany when hostilities broke out.

He wrote more than 500 letters to his family and wife-to-be, Phoebe, and drew sketches of fellow prisoners and the camp, which are estimated to make up to £400.

Mrs Cusden was an active trade unionist and campaigner for peace and international friendship.

She was elected mayor of Reading in 1946, made an MBE, and helped twin Reading with Dusseldorf in 1949.

The items were handed to Boningtons auction house in Station Road, Loughton, following a house clearance and will go on sale tomorrow.

Managing director Shaban Munir, 43, said: “There’s always a story behind each piece which makes the job interesting.”

The items, which are said to of particular interest to collectors due to the stamps and postal marks, will be put up for sale alongside various works of art, including Mackerel Sky by George Clausen which is expected to fetch about £8,000.

The auction house has featured on TV programnmes Flog It! and Cash in the Attic and is benefitting from increased interest in collecting.

And Shaban Munir said: “Most of the items we get come from probates, house clearances and people moving to a smaller home or abroad.

“We still get some items over the front counter too.”

“We have live internet and phone bidding at every auction which has enabled us to reach a wider audience.

Mr Munir said interest from the Far East has provided a boost to business and the company employs an expert in Chinese ceramics.

He said: “We’ve seen a large number of buyers coming from China and the Chinese market is very strong at the moment, several items have sold over their list price.”

“We have fortnightly auctions where we action lower value goods and then more specialist events, such as tomorrow, where we sell higher value lots such as fine art and jewellery.”