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All aboard! We sail on the noon tide!
I wish. Sadly, the seafaring days of this glorious vessel are over,
but HMS Trincomalee is still afloat here at Hartlepool's historic quay.
Made of teak and built in India for the British Navy in 1817,
the Trincomalee has been lovingly restored over the past few years.
She is now, officially, Europe's oldest floating warship,
and she's a fitting centrepiece
because this north-east town built ships for hundreds of years.
But this is a tale of two towns.
The original Hartlepool, here on the headland, is celebrating its 800th anniversary.
It wasn't until the 19th century that West Hartlepool was formed
on the other side of the docks.
Something which the two towns shared was a terrible experience in 1914.
Just after 8am on December 16th,
three German battleships steamed out of the mist
and opened fire on the headland.
For 42 minutes, shells rained on the docks, the steelworks
and the houses of Hartlepool.
People ran into the streets to escape and there, many of them died.
Altogether, 112 civilians were killed in the raid.
The bombardment provoked a fierce reaction.
Recruitment offices were besieged by volunteers,
and locals gave more money per head to the war effort than any other part of the country.
Before that, Hartlepool had provided the men to serve in the ships that were built here.
And from the time of the Napoleonic Wars, comes a bizarre story
which, however unlikely, sticks to the town like glue.
One stormy night,
two fishermen found a monkey that'd been washed ashore from a shipwreck.
Confused by its gibberings, they took it for a Frenchman - the enemy.
They declared it a spy and, there and then, they hanged it. True or false,
if you tell a story often enough, it becomes part of history.
Hartlepool has had hard times in recent years,
but the town is very aware of its maritime heritage
and the new docks and marina have given it an air of buoyancy.
We've tied up at the Mill House Leisure Centre for this week's show,
so let's see what treasure our experts have found.
How long have you been collecting Noritake porcelain?
About a year and a half, but the original piece that I started with
was my mother's, which I've had about 30 years, something like that.
-Right. You brought it with you?
-These two vases.
She swapped me, because she fancied the pair that I had, and I had a mantelpiece which they fit on.
So it took you 30 years to get into the idea of collecting the stuff?
Yeah, we never knew what it was at all. We'd never heard of it.
-We just happened to see some other pieces with the same mark on.
-OK. So what was the first purchase?
-This bowl here?
I think what is remarkable about Noritake is that 25 years ago,
-you couldn't give the stuff away.
-Nobody wanted it. And then,
we'd get the odd American turning up and buying it,
-and it really has become very much a sort of US-dominated market.
-However, there is a UK collectors' club.
-Yes, there is, yes.
-And there's a lot more information coming out about Noritake.
What is great about Noritake
is the fact that it was an international concern.
because the design team were in New York, headed by an Englishman,
making porcelain for...in Japan,
for the European and the American market. So it was all very clever.
-International companies today...
-They did copy a lot of other styles.
-There's quite a bit from the style of Wedgwood as well.
-So there's quite a lot of different styles.
-The one to look out for
is the abstract designs that you often get on plates,
-designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
-I don't like it.
-You don't like it?
-No, I like the pretty pieces.
-Oh, do you?
-So you've got set views about which Noritake you want to collect?
I think where they win - as with that bowl and this piece -
whereas in Staffordshire, in the sort of 1920 period,
much of what was being mass-produced was being transfer-printed -
Noritake went one better, and they actually hand-painted pieces.
Here, each one of those roses is entirely hand-painted.
-And that makes it special.
Also, they didn't go easy on the gilt as well,
so it's what I call "bright and bonny".
-So, um...I've got to say that the pair of vases
-are quite splendid...
-I don't know how much you paid for them,
but if I can just say that I would expect today
-that you would have to pay about £200 to £250...
-Yes, we paid £210 for them, so...
-That was a near one, wasn't it?
-And all I can say is,
thank you for sharing a little bit of early 20th-century Japan with us
-here in Hartlepool.
-Yes, lovely, you're welcome. Thank you.
Seeing a suite of furniture like this takes me back to when I started in this business,
-and I used to buy suites like this for £1.
-Did you, really?
All this for £1. Nobody wanted them - this is late 1950s.
I used to stack them in a shed, then some Italians used to come over,
-and they would buy four or five suites at £1-10s - a huge profit...
-I'm sure, yes.
-..that kept me out of trouble.
-Now, they didn't look like this.
-You have done a wonderful job on upholstery. Did you do it?
-I purchased it at a sale 23 years ago in a place called Stokesley, not far from Hartlepool.
And, from what I understand, it was actually in an attic.
It has a watermark on the settee, from some problem in the attic.
It was upholstered like this then - for how long, I don't know.
-Well, that type of material - I'd have thought in the '70s.
-Anyway, they did a jolly good job.
I used to buy them when they were rough and falling to bits,
but this is what they COULD look like.
It comes from the period we call belle epoque - late 19th century,
and it's a great example of how you can tell quite quickly that's when it has to be.
If you look at that chair, you have so many designs in it
which are all revivals of the 18th and early 19th centuries,
-but they never occurred together until the 1890s.
So you have that sort of Rococo-style back,
that sort of cartouche shape,
and if you look at the whole thing, with what is a cabriole leg -
but it's a very small cabriole leg -
it gives the sort of general curvilinear outline.
Then you have the formality of that fanned shape in the top...
That would have been 1760, this was very much 1780-1790...
You've got this peculiar type of frond coming up,
which is rather like an Egyptian formalised Regency lotus,
and then you have these C-scrolls which are like a capital C,
each one turned into the other - that's 1760.
So you've got 1780, 1760, 1800...
-And you put them together,
and that's an immediate guide to 1890 - it must be Revival -
those were never put together until then. The other thing is the size,
-because that is too small for an 18th-century chair.
Then you have the form of the settee at the back,
again peculiar in its combination of designs to that period. Delightful.
-Oh, I like it.
-It's lovely. Do you have it all together in one room?
-No, I have it all scattered around,
because we've just moved house, but wherever we go with it, it seems to fit,
-That's why I chose it - because it's delicate furniture.
-But you can use it and these are quite comfortable.
Now, it's quite rare in two respects -
one is the condition, which is good,
the other is in the fact that it's complete.
Now, when people died over the last three or four generations,
-Uncle George had two chairs and Auntie Edie had one of those...
-..and somebody else had the settee.
There are hundreds of these suites split up all over the country.
Very few are still together.
Each of the chairs on its own would cost £300 or £400 to make,
but you'd only get probably £50 for a chair like that -
one's an odd chair. But as soon as you start getting into a set,
then the price multiplies, you don't just add £50, you double the value.
Talking about splitting them up - while I was at the sale, I only wanted two chairs and the settee,
when this gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Can I just say, don't split them up?
"Because it will be worth much more if you keep it all together." So I did.
-So that was good advice.
-That was good advice indeed.
The pair of chairs, today, would probably cost you £2,500 to replace,
the settee - probably £2,000,
and the set of six pretty little chairs have got to be round about...
-sort of £4,000.
-That's very interesting.
So, £7,000 or £8,000 for insurance value, that's for replacement value.
Yes. I paid £800, actually, when I purchased it.
-Did you really? Wonderful.
-I had an idea it might be worth about £3,000, so I'm pleasantly surprised.
The brooch was presented to my grandma when she launched a ship.
Her father-in-law was one of the directors of the shipping line, so that was why she was picked.
-Would you like to have been picked?
-I don't know whether they do it any more now.
-Would be rather good.
-It's a handsome present, isn't it?
-It is very pretty.
-What about that one?
-That one was left to me by an aunt.
I don't wear it very often, because it's so pretty
-and these crescent shapes catch on your clothing.
-It's just on very special occasions that I wear it.
-Well, it was made for a very special occasion.
There's a hint here. Any ideas?
-Is it Russian?
-No, it's not Russian. Its significance is very simple -
-it's a honeymoon bracelet.
-Oh, really? Ah!
There it is - the pearls for love and the diamonds forever.
-So forever love within the crescent moon - honeymoon.
But it's an extraordinary bracelet - and we do see them sometimes -
-for its mechanism.
It expands in a rather dramatic way, and the engineering of it
must have evolved over a long time. Have you enjoyed wearing that?
Yes. I always look forward to an occasion when I can wear it.
-It dates from about 1890.
-It's the sort of thing people want today.
-What about these two fellows?
I don't know who they belonged to in the family.
I'd assumed it was Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, but it isn't,
-It is, it's Disraeli.
-Why should she be chained to him?
-Well, he was her favourite prime minister...
-..and she absolutely adored him,
and he was very courtly,
he was far from handsome, but he was capable of winning her heart
in every sense of the word.
He once rather cynically said that when dealing with royalty you had to lay flattery on with a trowel,
-so I think she was susceptible to his honeyed tones.
-But she did adore him,
so, metaphorically, there's something in this chain, although I'm not quite sure what.
Perhaps it is just to simply mark the end of his premiership really.
-So that's a fun thing, a historical one.
It may well have secured a sort of scarf, with this chain between.
-It would hold a cravat or a scarf for a girl, I think.
But, anyway, that isn't necessarily the most valuable one,
though I think one would be pleased to find it and pay something like...
-£600 for the pair.
-Really? That's a nice surprise.
I think they're very nice English historical jewels. Charming.
And this one is also a very valuable thing because it is wearable.
Wearability is much more to do with intrinsic value at this level.
So, goodness, what do you think?
-Oh, I don't know, you tell me.
-That's why you came, isn't it?
-Let's say £800 to £1,200 for that.
But I want to talk about this one here.
It's a little flower head,
a stylised flower head of opals and diamonds and dementoid garnets,
-which are Russian garnets.
-They're not emeralds?
-No, green garnets.
They have a grassier green look,
which harmonises with the colours of the opals better than the emerald.
But, anyway, a beautiful jewel and, as we can see, at the back,
you can take this off. Tried that?
I've had it off, yes, I have worn it on a chain.
And that gives the double function.
But, anyway, a beautiful thing, and, um...
I think, let's put that one down at...
-Ooh, golly, very nice! Thank you very much.
-A lovely group.
-Thank you for bringing it.
-I've enjoyed it, thank you.
It belonged to my grandmother, but I think it probably belonged to her mother, or her mother before that.
-It probably was.
-I think it's been handed down in the family.
I think it was her mother's mother. It was probably made in about 1780.
Charming. I love the dormer window,
the architectural purity of that,
the lattice windows, the sort of cottage Orne-type finish,
and you think perhaps it might be a tea caddy, but lo and behold,
it's not a tea caddy, it's a workbox,
lined with this divine apple-green paper,
with all the little fitments for cottons and thimbles and so on,
with a detachable tray... I'll ask you to hold that. That's great.
And then on the side, we've got a secret drawer,
with a little peg that secures it, which is charming too,
and some more divisions for cottons underneath. Absolutely original.
I could take it home with great pleasure. I think it's worth -
-even in this state - at auction, between £1,000 and £1,500.
This is fascinating because it's a social little object, I think.
A little barrage balloon unit by W Britain. In the war,
these barrage balloons were put up to try and deflect enemy aircraft
from flying across populated areas. Now, how did you acquire it?
My parents bought it for me when I was a child.
It's quite good fun because it's actually a working model.
You can wind the barrage balloon up and down with the aid of a little crane on the truck there.
This was made during the war, and I don't think it's very valuable.
They came in two sizes. The larger version is worth a lot more money.
You have the smaller version, but in its box, it's worth about £80-£120.
But thank you very much for bringing it in.
My grandfather was one of the people who were killed in the German naval bombardment of Hartlepool.
-He was in the Salvation Army, and this is the piece of shrapnel that killed him.
The family were downstairs getting ready for school,
and my grandfather went upstairs to get something from his office
and the shell came through the window and exploded
and the piece of shrapnel entered his head and he died.
What happened to your grandfather's family after his death?
My grandmother and the five children were moved down to London,
and the Salvation Army provided her with housing and a job,
and my mother, along with her four brothers and sisters, grew up in London and met my father down there.
So had my grandfather not been killed and the family had not moved south, I wouldn't be standing here today.
And we wouldn't be examining this tragic reminder of that awful event
-87 years ago.
It belongs to my aunty. She bought it at a summer fair for half a crown,
-30 years ago, so it's quite old.
-And did she buy it for any reason?
-Well, she actually bought it for her dog to play with because...
She bought it for her dog to play with because it used to pinch other babies' toys,
-so she bought it for that.
-Is that why this has been eaten away?
That was done by my dog, not hers,
-when it was a puppy, so...
-She wasn't too happy about it.
-Oh, my goodness! Well...
he's also got a hole in his ear, where she pulled out the stud.
She pulled it out cos she thought the dog would swallow it and choke on it.
And aren't you and she lucky that it only did that damage?
this chap is a very, very important bear.
He's by the firm of Steiff in Germany.
He has the centre seam here,
which shows he's one out of seven,
in other words, they had seven bolts of this lovely mohair plush,
and every time they came to the end they could make half a teddy,
so they made six without the seam and one with,
so he's slightly rarer.
He's got these boot-button eyes - the original, not eaten by the dog.
Have you any idea what he's worth?
-None at all.
-Well, you'll have to break it to your aunt quite softly,
because if he were go into a teddy-bear auction,
he would make in the region of between £3,500 to £4,000.
£4,000?! You're joking!
-For a teddy bear?!
-For a teddy bear. For a teddy bear.
These things were brought back by the whaling captains
in the 18th and early 19th century.
The north-east coast was one of the great whaling centres of the world, before the Americans came into it,
Whitby being the chief port. This thing is a sawfish bill,
not a swordfish - they're not related whatsoever -
and they're related to sharks, rays and other cartilaginous fishes,
and they are becoming very rare.
In the 19th century, when whalers were out there, they were common,
and they were brought back as mementos of their travels.
And this is a remarkably large one. This is called the rostrum,
-and these aren't teeth at all, they're modified scales.
They swim around in muddy water, using this as a probe in the mud
to find small creatures. Sometimes they impale them on these.
What intrigues me is how do they get them off, having impaled them six feet in front of them?!
Anyway, very collectable in the 19th century, and still collectable.
But the thing you're holding is actually much more interesting.
-It's a more appealing object, to my eye and, um...fascinating.
It's a narwhal tusk. Another thing that was brought back by whalers.
-Now, the great name was...?
-William, father and son.
-Captain William Scorsby, father and son, who worked out of Whitby
in the late 18th, early 19th century, up to the 1820s.
-It's quite possible that it is this tusk that gave rise to the myth of the unicorn.
-The unicorn's horn.
Absolutely. They always have this spiral form.
The longest known is about... just under nine feet long, I think.
-And this one is...
-This is a baby - six foot.
-Not a baby, pretty good.
Six foot or thereabouts.
Now...not antiques, but collectable rare species,
both of them on the endangered list and certainly shouldn't be caught and fished any more,
so that gives these things value. How long have you had this?
I've had them both about three years. They came from a whaling family...
-Not the Scorsbys?
-What a shame.
Tyneside family. I paid £500 for the bill, £1,000 for the narwhal tusk.
-You've definitely come out on top.
-Oh, well, that's good news.
The bill, probably because of its size,
is somewhere around the £500, £600, £800 mark,
-but this is worth probably the best part of £3,000.
-It's a jolly nice one.
It was given to my mother by an old lady that my mother looked after in the 1950s.
I think my mother appreciated what a pretty object it was,
-and that's all I know about it.
-Do you keep tea in it?
I don't do anything with it. It just stands on the piano at home.
-Well, it's a sweet little box, isn't it?
-You probably know it's made of veneered tortoiseshell.
In fact, it's turtle shell, but it's still referred to as tortoiseshell.
Made in England.
Tea was a very valuable commodity in the 18th and the early 19th century, so you've got the lock on the front.
It dates from around 1840 to 1850,
and the size is still not too large.
If it was an 18th-century one, it would be smaller.
It's got a wonderful little metal escutcheon
which hasn't had any initials inscribed onto it, and then this white metal stringing runs over it.
What's nice about the caddy is that it's in good, untouched condition,
and it's been beautifully made.
Tortoiseshell is quite transparent, and this is a lovely pale colour.
Because it's transparent, you can put different colours underneath it,
so occasionally you see tortoiseshell
with a red sort of ground to it, and you get this red glowing through it.
Occasionally, it's blue or green.
But this is a really good example. It's been kept out of sunlight,
which can seriously affect its condition over the years.
Another wonderful thing is that the veneers are matched and mirrored,
so that they're very symmetrical. All a good sign of craftsmanship.
It's still got its original two divisions -
they each have turned ivory finials.
Nice to see these because they very often get lost. If we look inside,
it's got the original zinc lining.
It's bubbling a little bit and flaking off slightly,
but good that it's in this untouched condition.
-The little ball feet - what material are they?
-Probably a plated metal,
-rather like the escutcheon on top.
-Would that be nickel-plated, or...?
-Well, it would be silver-plated.
-which is why it looks so grey now.
-So should they be left or...?
You could gently clean it, but the problem is
-some of these bands may spring out.
-Best left untouched, then.
-Yes. It hasn't done it any harm for the last few years, has it?
-Did your mother have any idea of what its value might be?
-What about the lady who gave it to her?
-No. She was a schoolteacher,
and I just think it may have been sort of passed down the family.
-I don't know much about it.
-There's quite a demand for tea caddies in this original condition.
If you were to put it to auction, which I'm sure you wouldn't do,
you'd get in the region of...
£1,200 to £1,800.
Bit of a shock! Didn't expect that much.
At first glance you might think this is a Winchester repeating rifle,
but it's actually a rifle made by the Bullard Repeating Arms Company.
-A very rare rifle. Where did you get it?
-I bought it two years ago
at a local arms and militaria fair, locally,
and the chap said that it didn't need any licence because, um...
the cartridges are obsolete, it's an obsolete calibre,
you can't get bullets for it and you haven't been able to for a long time.
That's right. There's been new Home Office guidance on antique firearms.
It allows people to own old firearms which are perceived to be no risk to society, without any licensing.
-So that's good.
-This is chambered for a very obscure cartridge called the 38.45,
and I've never seen any.
Like most American firearms of the period that were repeaters,
it relies on a tubular magazine
and an action which is operated by this lever,
which runs back, throws the bolt back,
raises a lifter with a cartridge in it, we pull the lever forwards,
it rams it home, drops a lifter and the action is then cocked
and ready to fire.
-And you could shoot this as quick as you could work that lever.
And it's inspired by the products of Winchester and Benjamin Tyler Henry,
and it was intended as a competitor,
but regrettably, as a competitor, it failed miserably.
It was in production from 1886 to 1890.
-And for just those four short years,
probably no more than 10,000 to 12,000 were made,
and of this particular model - the small-frame - probably about 500.
-So in terms of mass production of the 19th century,
it was a drop in the ocean and it's a very rare thing.
How much did you pay for it?
I'll have to make sure my wife doesn't watch this bit. Um...£650.
Well, that, I think, was a very good investment,
and if I can reassure your wife
-that this would be worth between £1,500 and £2,000 today.
Very desirable, and for somebody who collects American firearms
that would be the sort of thing that somebody would buy.
-Did you buy these at auction or at a junk shop?
That one was in a backstreet shop, and those were at different fairs.
-So £25 for that. How much for that one?
-About £120, I think.
-£120 for that.
-That was about the same for that.
-And I think...
-£150 for this?
-Few years ago, it was.
Ooh, can I have a go? I see, there are two little figures
and they go up and down if you hold the bowl,
from the heat of your hand.
Like those things that measure if you're cold-blooded or passionate.
In my case, I've been dead for three months!
Come on... Ah!
That's more like it - I've come to life!
This one's lovely - by Henry Brian Ziegler -
clearly signed, no problem there.
And he was a kind of contemporary of Winterhalter.
They were both painters who went around the courts of Europe,
particularly in England,
and Ziegler... taught Queen Adelaide how to draw.
So he was a very well-connected artist,
and drew the heads of the aristocracy and the royal family of England and of other countries.
He's got great charm. I like the detail. Worth about...
-£400 to £600.
-Quite nice. Yes, would you believe it?
Well, it's charming, you know. Why not?
It belonged to my mother, and if she was here now, she'd be 105 to 110,
and when I was that high - perhaps a year old - I can remember that.
So you think it's somewhat more than 100 years old?
Definitely. By the look of it, I should think it's as old as Methuselah!
Well, that's closer because I think it's as old as Oliver Cromwell.
In 1653, he became Lord Protector of the Realm.
-And it was about this time that this drug jar - that's what it is -
-was made, probably in London.
And what we have here is "DIAPOMPH",
which is an abbreviation for the name of the contents.
This design is absolutely typical - the peacocks and cherubs' heads -
-typical of the date. Now, it has got a problem.
-It's got cracked and chipped here.
-But after all, it's 350 years old.
So since you know nothing about it,
I suppose you've never entertained any idea of its value?
Well, no, because it's in such bad condition. I just hung on to it because it was Mother's.
Well, it is true that it's a bit of a battered wreck.
-We can't get round it - it's a nasty crack.
And had it been perfect, I think it might have been worth about £5,000.
-But I think we're still looking at £2,500 or £3,000.
-Because to find a pot like this...
-..350 years old,
-is pretty rare.
-Oh! No wonder the doctor wanted it.
-Every time he came, he wanted it.
-Well, doctors collect medical jars.
-Yes, yes, yes.
-Well, he's got a good eye.
-I think he has, yes.
The one I really like is this one.
I think she's so beautifully drawn.
Now, we're lucky because the artist has signed it
-in the bottom right. Did you know that?
But you can read it with a magnifying glass - "Adam Buck".
He's an Irish miniaturist, who was born in Dublin in the 18th century,
and came to London about the turn of the 18th-19th century,
and he was very interested in, and inspired by, Grecian vases.
You can see that this girl has got her hair up in a very Grecian way.
She looks like a head straight off a Grecian vase, I think.
He drew the image on the ivory upon which most miniatures are painted,
with very fine pencil, really quite careful drawing,
and then using a series of very fine watercolour washes, extremely fine,
would build up the face - very, very delicate. That's his hallmark -
you always know an Adam Buck by the delicacy of those washes.
He would neglect the background - it was the head he was interested in.
Now, I think a miniature of this quality, an autographed miniature by Adam Buck,
is worth about £800 to £1,200.
That's a surprise!
Well, my grandfather was in the British Embassy in 1900
-during the famous 55-day siege of Peking.
-The Boxer Uprising.
And, as you probably know, the Western Forces were besieged by the Chinese in the legation quarter,
and a military party was sent from Ting Hsien on the coast, to relieve the garrisons.
They had some artillery with them
and one of the cannons shot a shell outside the legation area,
and it blew up the statue of Buddha and out of the base fluttered what looked like brown paper pieces,
and my grandfather collected these together, gave them to the ambassador and was allowed to keep one of them,
and this is what he kept.
It's an example of some of the first paper currency anywhere in the world.
The very first paper currency was discovered by Marco Polo in Cathay -
the Chinese called it "flying money".
-But this is Ming dynasty "Son Of Flying Money"!
-Yes! It's a wonderful size, isn't it?
Because there's a clue to its contemporary value, because here,
we have little bundles of coins tied through the centre,
so this is a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - it's a ten unit...
-You didn't need to be able to read in order to know what it was worth.
The print would have been a wood block. On the back there's a seal...
Yes, it's the Emperor's crimson seal which was applied by hand when the banknotes were issued.
It not only authenticated it, it also made it the Emperor's personal property,
-which accounts for the interesting message on the front.
-"Don't reproduce this money or you'll lose your head!"
-Yes, decapitation was worse than dying
because without the head, the spirit wandered through the universe, never reuniting with the soul in heaven,
so decapitation was a punishment for forging banknotes.
-Something that the Bank of England might take seriously.
Now, what have we got here?
Well, this is my father's Chinese passport. It was issued to Captain James Kilburn in 1926.
It authorised him to travel anywhere in China. It was a means of living his life with my mother and sister -
this was in 1927 before I was born,
and this was a period when the Chinese Communists were trying to take over the country,
and there were skirmishes between the Communists and the Nationalists,
and my parents were in a small town called Ting Hsien, north of Peking.
There'd been some nationalist defeat and the only transport was a train commanded by a Nationalist general,
who my father heard was coming south towards the city on the way to Peking, so my father hijacked a car,
and drove it out of the town with my mother and my six-month-old sister,
parked it along the railway track and stood in front of it
and held this up to the advancing train and shouted, "Stop, stop!"
Fortunately, the train did stop, he was taken on board, was taken before the general and he said to him,
"I'm a British army officer.
"There will be the most severe trouble if you don't see that me and my family are rescued."
So the general said to him, "You can travel on the train if you can get on it."
-That wasn't so easy because the roof and sides of the train were covered with soldiers hanging on.
So they had to push my mother bodily through the window of one compartment and throw in my six-month-old sister,
and my father had to stand on the running board and cling on.
In this way, they set out to cover 50 miles to Peking.
-Such a wonderful piece with such an interesting history.
Once again, it's printed and certain parts of it would have had signatures -
this hand-drawn signature here and so on,
so it's a lovely contemporary thing for your...
-It's part of my family history.
This is going to be worth
maybe £100, £150,
and the banknote - £400, £500, something like that.
-But it's not the value that matters.
-Oh, I would never part with them.
-It's part of the family history.
-Without them, you wouldn't be here!
-Thank you very much.
-It's a pleasure.
-WM Simpson of Darlington - do you know those makers?
Well, I tell you, in all the years I've done the Roadshow -
24 years - this is the first time I've had a piece of furniture which is local to the show.
-Is that right?
-Wonderful. And it is late 19th century...
..but of the most superb quality.
We tend to forget how huge the mansions were, all over England,
but particularly in the north of England. Vast libraries were built
for people who were bibliophiles,
and this is a fitment from such a library.
There's two of them - there's one at the back - it almost matches,
but it's as if the man had his collection and it enlarged and he wanted another piece to fit in,
so he gradually filled the library with pieces like this.
They're all made by the same company. Later on, this was added,
and there's another one at the back, and there might have been 4 or 6 of these, of which these were salvaged.
Now, how did you come by them?
Well, a colleague of mine bought a rather large house in Park Row,
and he found this in the coal cellar and he offered it to me.
-So I cleaned it up, and I use it for different cabinets.
What we can tell about the man is that not only did he collect books,
but he also collected manuscripts or objects that went with the books
-because you have a glass top on all of them.
Normally, a library bookcase would have a solid top.
You'd bring out the book, you'd put it up here to read.
This obviously surrounded a library table or desk to put the books,
-so you could still see the items in here.
-So that's the idea of the glass?
-These come from a separate bit of furniture because, originally, this wouldn't have been on glass.
So we shall never know where these come from. These are later.
Let's look down here.
This is superb. This is almost certainly machine-carved -
on a jig - which means not that the man didn't operate it by hand,
but that he made several at the same time, so this exactly matches that.
-So these are all identical?
All identical pieces. Now, what ISN'T identical
is the quality of that work with the quality of this, which is looser.
-Slightly less crisp.
The wood is the same, the wood is perfectly matching,
but the quality of the construction and the quality of the carving is slightly less.
So this might have been made a few months later, by a different man in the same workshop.
So what we've got left is a fraction of what there must have been. Goodness knows where the rest went,
but so much was demolished in the 1950s and '60s. It's wonderful.
Here I think it's a good opportunity to perhaps explain the difference
between the values that we give. I'm going to tell you what this would cost to replace.
So to make, or to replace, a pair of cabinets of this quality
would cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000 - each cabinet.
That's as a piece of furniture, not as an antique, it's just as it is.
This quality, this timber is marvellous.
These pair of cabinets on top - slightly less expensive to make -
and/or find and replace,
but round about £1,500 to £2,000 each.
That's what it would cost you if you wanted to replace that with new,
or replace it second-hand, whatever.
You wouldn't get that if you tried to sell it,
because that would mean you'd have to find somebody who NEEDS this object,
-so you'd get approximately half the insurance value.
The difference between being in the finding, the profit for the auctioneer or the dealer,
it's the difference between purchase and sale,
and so if you wanted to sell it, you could safely say that you would get in the region of £4,000.
-If you want to replace - the best part of £8,000.
It's historically so interesting and wonderful to see, at long last,
-a piece of local furniture. Thank you.
-Can I shake your hand?
-Not at all.
Well, I must pay tribute to the fortitude of Hartlepudlians
because today they've queued around the block in all kinds of weather
and it's been heartening to watch them come inside and change colour from blue to a rosy shade of pink.
It's been a most rewarding day, so until next time, from Hartlepool, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd