BY gum! High Wycombe Mayor Julie Pritchard has revealed a jaw-dropping secret from her family’s past.

Her great-grandfather was a collector of false teeth – and had about 30 sets which he kept in a drawer.

Thomas Pritchard of Toxteth Park, Liverpoool, hoarded the Victorian gnashers in the late 1800s.

But, according to Julie, he didn’t do it for money; instead he loaned them out to people in need of dentures in emergencies.

That’s not as bizarre as it sounds, because in those days people didn’t have personal cameras – and would pay loads of money for official photo-shoots.

So they presumably went to old Tom Pritchard if they were missing a tombstone or two and wanted to look good when they said ‘cheese’ in the family snap.

Sadly, the collection was ditched after his death so there are no spare teeth in the Pritchard family.

No one knows where he got them from in the first place. “I have no idea, and I didn’t like to ask anyone,” Julie told me when she treated me to a visit to the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday.

However, another visitor to the parlour, Beaconsfield town crier Dick Smith, wondered if they were Waterloo teeth.

Apparently – and I never knew this – teeth were surgically removed from corpses on the battlefield and then made into an early form of dentures. I suppose folk of the time could then boast: “My teeth look dead good.”

I asked Mayor Pritchard if, just like her great-grandfather, she has any odd collecting habits.

“DVDs,” she replied. Apparently she has thousands of the things.

As they say, the tooth is always stranger than fiction.