Michael Aspel and the team survey more antiques and heirlooms. This week the team head north to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where they encounter a £20k plate.
Browse content similar to Alnwick Castle. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
It's the duty of every generation
to moan about the attitudes of the next lot,
but there's nothing really new in the world.
Take the lust to spend, and keep on spending.
That isn't a modern condition - an acute shopaholic
was diagnosed right here a couple of centuries ago.
This is Alnwick Castle, 35 miles north of Newcastle.
It's known as "The Windsor Of The North".
It's been here since the 14th century.
In the mid-1800s, Algernon, 4th Duke of Northumberland,
went on a major spending spree, and transformed a grim fortress
into an extremely desirable residence.
Out went the Gothic, though it had been enshrined by Canaletto,
and in came architect Luigi Canina and a team of Italian craftsmen,
to create the Renaissance-style staterooms.
All very fine, but Algernon's credit card went into overdrive
when he took himself off to Rome.
He lashed out on 74 stunning paintings by top artists.
And here, in his Admiral's uniform,
the prolific 4th Duke stares over the dining room
at the latest round of restoration.
I suspect he'd like
the new wallpaper, once red silk, now a lustrous green,
and the fact that centuries of grime and soot
have been removed from the ceiling and the friezes.
Impressed? You will be!
We are now entering the drawing room.
The ebony cabinets flanking the fireplace
were made for King Louis XIV's palace at Versailles.
The fireplace itself is Carrara marble...
The people in Versailles recently asked for their cabinets back,
but luckily the current Duke of Northumberland
was able to produce a receipt from a London dealer dated 1822,
so they're not going anywhere.
Being an Englishman he was obsessed by the weather,
and as 4th Duke of Northumberland
he could afford to indulge that obsession.
The library at Alnwick became a coastal weather station,
complete with barometer...
What's it saying for today?
Ah... It's moved from "fair" to "change".
In the dozen or so years since the Roadshow last came to Alnwick,
Jane, the 12th Duchess, has embarked on
one of the most ambitious new gardens in England this century.
And fitting in very nicely,
a pair of 16th century Venetian wrought iron gates,
acquired by Algernon on yet another of his shopping trips.
Well, it's all quite mind-blowing,
but just in case the fountain jets get blown off course,
we've herded our experts into the castle's outer bailey.
They say variety is the spice of life,
but spice is the variety of life.
Here's a little spice pot, with four layers.
It starts at the top with ginger, then nutmegs, allspice and cinnamon.
What do you use it for?
Exactly that... LAUGHTER
For all those herbs and spices. I use them for cooking.
Very good! Is this something that was handed down through the family, or...?
No, my family was very friendly with a retired farmer and his wife, and when I became engaged
in 1972, Hilda wanted to give me, as an engagement present, something that she had used
during HER married life at the farm, and this was the gift.
-And as I married an army man, this has travelled the world with me, and I use it all the time.
In fact, this morning I just reached into the cupboard and fetched it down
and wrapped it and brought it. So it's not even clean!
Well, I'm very pleased you haven't cleaned it.
You feel that generations of cooks
have handled this, and there's nothing like when you're away,
making a fruit cake, to make you feel it's home.
-You do the same?
It's a lovely bit of treen, that is, a small object
made out of wood, and it's made of box, and it's actually quite a...
It would have been quite a sizeable lump of box
-to create something like this...
Box being an expensive and very closely-grained wood,
slow-growing, used for all sorts
of kitchen equipment as well as, obviously, other things.
And I've seen these over the years and it's been one piece of treen
that I've always coveted myself,
and one that has always been outside my price range.
Today, this little spice tower... We'd be talking about, perhaps,
£300 to £500.
-Which isn't bad, considering that it is just a piece
of kitchen equipment, and as far as date is concerned, it's dating from
the middle part of the 19th century, so it's old, but it's still spicy!
It was my father's water bottle during the World War II.
-He had it all through prisoner-of-war camp.
-Oh, he was a prisoner of war?
And within it, it actually reveals a small crystal set radio
which he had, and he kept everybody informed when he could.
Where was he captured?
He was captured at, er,
Dunkirk, beginning of the war, and machine-gunned when he was trying
to run across a road. He was then taken to a military hospital
and they looked after him.
Then he had to go on the great march, as they called it,
where they ended up in Poland, near Krakow at Stalag 11,
I think, then he survived the five years in the prisoner-of-war camp
and conveyed the messages to the rest of the camp
about what was actually going on back home.
By listening to this crystal set?
-Listening to the BBC?
And hearing how the war was going.
So did he make this?
They...made it out of things in the prisoner-of-war camp, yes.
I've got to say, this looks like
it's just been cobbled together out of old screws and bits of wood
and bits of metal that he must have come across while he was a prisoner.
-That's astonishing, isn't it?
I mean, what I find amazing is the ingenuity of people.
-Now you've brought some pictures along.
Um, this is presumably him, is it?
It is him, when he first joined up.
And what's the group photograph?
Oh, it's a group photograph of the Stalag camp that he was in.
And which one is he there?
He's got the curly hair on him, there.
The one at the end, at the far end?
Well, I think what I find astonishing is that, of course,
being in possession of a radio while a prisoner of war was an incredibly
serious... probably one of THE most serious offences
you could actually have, so he would have been shot,
and to have concealed it in such an astonishing way
is really quite ingenious. Well, you know,
these things have a value because there are people
that collect clandestine equipment such as this, and although it's,
if you like, cobbled together out of bits and pieces...screws
and bits of wood and metal, you know, it's an amazing thing.
And I suppose if this came on the market today, you'd probably find
someone would pay a couple of hundred pounds for it.
Amazing for something that's, sort of,
-made of bits and pieces!
-Belongs in a museum, doesn't it?
-I would say so, yes.
Now as you probably know, inside the castle there are
these two magnificent cabinets which belonged to King Louis XIV
at Versailles. He was known as the Sun King,
and here you've brought in this lovely mug with the sun on it.
Do you think this has anything to do with King Louis XIV?
I don't think so. I think it's more to do with the Sun newspaper.
-The Sun newspaper?
-Oh, what's the story?
Before I was born my mum saw an article,
and every baby that was born on 15th September 1964,
the day The Sun newspaper came out, was given one of those,
so I don't really know if there's many about, or...
-So your mum got this the day you were born?
"Happy Birthday to you from The Sun, Britain's new
national newspaper which - like you -
-first saw light of day on Tuesday, 15th September, 1964".
And that's genuine EPNS!
Oh, that'll please her!
Well, it's a lovely case, and it's a case which
has promise of something inside,
and actually what I like about these disc musical boxes is that
they sort of tell you everything.
-It's wonderful, isn't it?
-There, that's what it is, a symphonion.
Now, tell me the story about this disc box.
Well, this comes down from my great-grandmother's adoptive parents.
-I can see a photograph flapping on the side, there.
Is that relevant? Please show it to me.
These are... These are the people who, um...
-This chap, John Campbell, was a painter and decorator.
Bought it for his wife on honeymoon when they were in Paris in 1875.
-Did he, by Jove?
Well, he was a very clever man, and I'll tell you why.
-Because this machine, invented
by Paul Lochmann, wasn't actually produced until after 1886.
-So he was a man ahead of his time, obviously!
Yes, so that's one family story
-Family lore. Folklore!
-I love family stories.
-Sorry about that. However, moving swiftly on...
-..let's enjoy the object as it is.
This is a sort of middle-of-the road size.
So here's the disc, and underneath it we can see
the two combs,
-and the disc itself has got little holes punched in it.
And on the other side, those holes result in little raised notches,
and as the disc turns round, so those notches
-Plucks the comb.
..pluck the...the comb one at a time,
you know, for the... which creates the tune.
These are called the star wheels,
and it's absolutely standard, centre drive, fourteen-and-three-quarter,
or let's round it up to fifteen-inch, disc musical box.
The real success of this, ah,
concept was, of course,
you could have an enormous number of tunes, and this looks like...
Is it a list of...tunes available?
It's a list of tunes available at the time.
-Oh-oh, it's very...
-It is very fragile, yes.
Isn't it just?
But I know that by the latter part
of the 1890s, there were about 2,000 tunes available, so it was
an enormous step-up over cylinder musical boxes,
and the sad thing, I suppose, is, Paul Lochmann invented this
just too late, because in 1877 the phonograph
-And who wanted
-plunkety-plunk music if you could actually then hear the human voice on a record?
I've been living with this for over 50 years and this is
the only disc I've ever actually heard,
-although we have another...
-Well, I hope you'll go home and put it through its paces.
I'm sure it's sick of hearing the same tune!
-For 50 years.
Um, value-wise, it is popular, they're always popular,
it's in great condition, and we'd be talking about
£1,500-£1,800, that sort of figure.
-And I suppose the ultimate...
it's all very well looking at the pretty pretty, but the ultimate
is...how does it sound? Can I give it a go?
Of course, yes.
Do you know, every time we come to Alnwick Castle,
we always find the most glorious things, but the archivist,
obviously, Chris, you've brought in the most fabulous things
-for me to have a look at.
Initially I get these because we've got this wonderful manuscript here,
lovely, lovely green vellum here, and here's the title.
curious, miscellaneous, manuscripts, Japan porcelain and glass".
-So tell me about this book.
-This is from the Duke of Northumberland's
manuscript collection. It's in fact in the hand of the First Duchess,
Elizabeth, and it's a record, her own record of,
of the curious items that she collected.
Um, the First Duchess was responsible for the family's move
-back to Alnwick in the 18th century.
-She was very keen on it.
She was keen on her historical roots and obviously on her history
and this is why she collected some quite interesting items.
The thing that actually stands out here, which I find extraordinary,
-is Queen Elizabeth's gloves.
This is recorded here as being purchased at the Mussel Sale.
Oh, Mussel Sale, he was the, um, the eccentric magistrate.
-That's right, from Hackney.
-From Hackney, yes.
Ebenezer, yes, of course.
He collected curious historical items
including a whole Roman wharf from Richborough
-which he re-erected in his back garden.
-Well, as you would.
Much better than going down to the tile shop or whatever it is.
But look, this is... can I touch these?
-You've made me wear gloves, but I mean...thank you.
These wonderful, wonderful kid gloves belonged to Queen Elizabeth
and they're absolutely beautiful. Didn't she have long fingers?
-Well, yes, it appears so.
-I mean, if she actually filled them all up.
Yes. They're tapering.
But the thing about kid gloves which I find...
not disturbing... but rather, rather, rather nice,
is the fact that you wear kid gloves
and they imprint the fingers that they were, they were actually on.
-So we have a sort of an outer shell here of
Queen Elizabeth and at the top here we have this lovely gilt thread,
but they're absolutely wonderful, absolutely superb.
Let's pop this one over here.
The other thing is this, this cap here.
Now tell me the story about this cap.
Well, this again is purchased from the Mussel sale in 1765,
and it's recorded as Oliver Cromwell's nightcap.
And we've got a little rabbit here and birds here,
pomegranate there, another bird,
it's absolutely exquisite, isn't it?
-It seems a bit fine for a puritan if you ask me.
-You're telling me.
I don't think that's got anything to do with Oliver Cromwell, do you?
It predates Cromwell, I mean, it's late Elizabethan.
Obviously, it's Elizabethan, but that's extraordinary.
-But I'm going to play devil's advocate here.
Here are you as a scholar
and here's me, the common or garden dealer.
I would be very cynical, that a sale in the middle of the 18th century
would have a decent provenance on any of these things.
There's no doubt of their period,
-but they could be anybody's, couldn't they?
-Go on, stick up for yourself!
-We're certain of the provenance
from 1770, when this manuscript dates from.
-That's what she was told.
-That's what she was told, and we know that
she paid two pounds and 12 shillings for the lot at that time.
-Well, it seems a bargain even then.
Um, yes, a little collection like this,
if it was no provenance, nothing, we'd be talking about £20,000...
£30,000 something like that.
But if you can prove it...
Well, probably 100 times that, I don't know,
but an awful lot of money.
-I'm so delighted that you haven't disappointed me.
Thank you, thank you.
Well, in its lifetime it's never travelled more than about a mile
from where it was manufactured.
It was made for a house and it's been in several houses within that area.
-So which house?
-Belsey in Northumberland.
Made for Belsey Castle and then to Belsey Hall,
and then I bought it at auction when Sir Stephen Middleton died.
So the old Belsey House, that was the old castle.
Medieval or whatever, yes.
Yes, and this was made at the cabinet maker's shop behind the castle
for the new manor house in early 1700s, apparently.
-Have you any documentation for that?
-I have some documentation
of where it's been, various pictures of its lifetime
-in various houses and positions.
-But we know nothing about the maker?
And it would be unique to find out exactly who the maker was,
but it's extraordinary to know where it was made.
-Do you have an association with the estate?
-I worked there.
My mother's family have been there for many generations.
I'd love to find something that would match up with something else
that I've seen in the area, to say,
"that's that particular cabinet maker
"who did this particular type
-"of banding or this type of drawer and inlay and everything".
Let's just have a look inside. It's just such a nice, warm piece
-of furniture. Look at that interior. Of course, walnut as you know.
With lovely banding, I'm just going to point these out here, this lovely
-feather banding, that's very nice.
-Is that walnut as well?
Yes, it is. Sometimes these are in different wood, but this is walnut.
And it's beautifully done, like a sort of herring bone.
Nice with drawers. So often, you see these drawers have been taken out.
What's been put in?
Drinks cabinet, even a TV, things like that, I'm afraid.
But this is as, as it was born, which is very, very nice.
Having said that, it's had a little bit of damage.
Who did this, what's happened?
I don't know. That's its, part of its history, I don't know.
I don't know what they've done. Then they've over-painted it with black
-to make it look like the black walnut.
-It's quite bizarre.
That could, and should, be restored at some stage. It's not going to be
easy to get someone skilled enough to do it without re-polishing
the whole thing. My gut reaction is that we've got
original handles, which is pretty rare these days.
-Let's have a look.
Yes, we have, look at that. So you've got absolutely lovely
-pine interior, oak sides, which is what you'd expect.
Because you don't see the inside of
a drawer, that's pine, but there's no change of the handles.
No extra holes, are there?
None at all, and the original steel lock. Again,
country piece, estate carpenter.
Probably didn't want to spend money on a brass lock.
It probably cost about three pounds ten shillings,
and it would have been three pounds 15 shillings, or whatever.
If they'd put brass locks on.
It's such a nice piece of furniture, but I love the idea of
the history, so it's been basically in two families, more or less.
Yes. One family for...till 1994. Then we bought it in 1994 at auction,
-when Sir Stephen Middleton died.
-So why did you buy it?
I didn't think it was good for it to go away from Belsey
after all them years, and I saved me money up and bought it,
-which was quite a lot at the time.
-That's fantastic, so you
-bought it in 1994.
So I'm going to have to come up with a value now.
-I can tell you what it was then.
-I don't think I want to know!
I mean, prices have been a bit difficult.
The problem with this is, it's not incredibly useful,
but I think what is important,
and I'm not worried about the condition,
I think the fact that it's the provenance...
you've got a piece from a big house
not far from here, and you know it's come from that house and
it's never been anywhere else, that is worth quite a lot of money.
So I think to replace this in an antique shop, insurance, whatever
-you want to call it, £10,000.
-Right. I see.
Is that more than it cost?
Yes. Three times.
Oh, great! We're safe. We can go home now. Thank you.
-Thanks very much.
-Do you love it?
-I absolutely love it, we really do.
I think it's a...it's a fascinating dish. I've been doing the Roadshow
now about ten years, and this is certainly the most
interesting piece of Delft pottery I've seen since I've been coming.
-And you've had it for how long?
Um, well, I'm the seventh generation. I will be the seventh generation
to have it because it belongs to my mother at the moment,
but it's been in our family for six generations, beyond.
So that gets you back to what,
the mid-19th century or thereabouts, and it's going to be yours?
-Going to be mine.
-You lucky girl! It's fabulous. You know what it is?
-I don't know what it is, no.
-It's English Delftware, which is...
technically means it's a tin-glazed pottery. They put tin oxide into the
glaze to make it white, because it's a sort of buff colour underneath.
-And it gives it this creamy look.
And it was in the 17th century to imitate Chinese porcelain.
Whereabouts would it have been made in England?
Well, English Delft,
Delftware in England was produced in London, Liverpool, Bristol and
a number of other places as well. These blue dash chargers, most of
them are from either London or from Bristol. Probably a Bristol dish.
-So you can trace it back for 150 years or so?
This is another 150 on from that, it's contemporary with Charles II.
Perhaps the end of Pepys' life.
I mean, it's a fabulously ancient dish.
Um...but you dropped it.
No, my great-great-aunt dropped it.
-So when would that have been, then?
Yes, about that, I would think, yes.
-What a rotter.
Um, it's known as a blue dash charger because of these
dashes on them, and there are various different patterns you see.
Tulip designs are very popular at this period, the late 17th century.
Charles II hiding in a tree, royal chargers, these all appear.
The cockerels are a really, really unusual pattern
to see on one of these. There are very few around.
I don't know, I always think of it as a sort of French symbol,
-Well, we thought perhaps it might have been French,
partly because of the cockerel and perhaps Northern Brittany...
Um, might be to do with a pub.
Might be to do with a pub, you never know.
-But it is a very uncommon pattern.
-What do you do with it?
Well, it sits at home, and historically through the family
every time a son has been born, for some reason or other, nobody knows,
there's always been a cheese put on it, in the Christening. I don't know
why, but that's what it's been used for.
-Have you got a son?
-Going to have a son?
-Maybe my sister or my brother, you never know.
-But it will be yours?
-It will be mine.
And it'll stay in the family, you know, from me it will go
-to another member of the family.
-Great, it's a really nice dish.
-It is a great pity it's been so badly damaged.
-In the past, you can see it's been riveted.
These are the holes, and the rivets have been taken out.
But it's a lovely thing, it's a terrific thing to see.
At auction at the moment, probably between £20,000 and £30,000.
-You've got to look that way.
-I know, I'm too shocked to look that way!
Over 30 years, more than three million items have been brought
in to the show and not surprisingly, just every now and then a friendship
blossoms between the owner and the expert. David Battie's been
with the show for ever, and I have
noticed a twinkle across the table every now and then.
It is extraordinary how in a brief period,
when you've got somebody's object,
you can build up a relationship. For obvious reasons, we can't
have the owners' names and addresses and telephone numbers. That would be
quite wrong, but occasionally something happens
and we get to know the person, and that happened at Liverpool in 1988.
Mrs Ambrose, Nora Ambrose brought in her huge teapot,
and Nora has been a sort of groupie
round the north of England ever since. Wherever we go, there's
Norah, and we have to have a kiss and a cuddle.
When me mother-in-law gave it to me, she said to me "Look after it now,
"because it's over 100 years old." She said, "It was very old
"when I was a little girl,
"because my granny used to have it even before us."
I thought, "Well, it seems a bit far back, really, when she was 86."
Well, we get told this, I think, as a story more than anything else.
People say, "It belonged to my grandmother, and her grandmother".
And they add it up and arrive at two or three hundred years,
-and we almost always have to discount the story.
They've got muddled in the family.
In this particular case, it's more than true.
-This is actually a very ancient pot indeed.
But it is, is something which is of some value.
-Have you any idea what it's worth?
-No, I haven't any idea cos
-me mother-in-law gave it to me.
-Do you think it might be worth
-several hundred pounds?
-I don't know, I don't think so.
-You wouldn't have thought so?
-So if I told you it was worth
-£600 or £800, you'd be really shocked, would you?
-Oh, I would!
Right, so if I told you it was worth £1,500, you'd be really shocked?
-Oh, you're kidding, aren't you? Well, I am kidding, actually.
It's actually worth about £5,000 to £6,000.
CROWD GASP AND LAUGH
-What happened next for Nora? You didn't propose, did you?
Nora finished the record by saying "Of course I'd never sell it",
and the next thing that happened was that she was, five weeks later,
on the telephone to an auction house where I worked, as it happened.
"I want to sell my teapot".
And my colleague said "It's cracked. It's chipped.
"It's not worth the £5,000 you quoted on it."
And it sold for £14,500.
And Nora got her cheque from the auction house, and she went out
and bought her council house with the money,
so she's now living in her teapot.
-You mean it?
-I mean it, absolutely. It's exactly what the market is
desperate for. I don't think I've ever seen such a large, good one.
Oh, gosh, isn't that marvellous!
What a nice little spinning wheel. And it's obviously
seen quite a lot of use, because there's an old repair here.
And, you know, there are areas where you can tell that this has
-been well loved and well used.
-In your family?
-It's been in the family a long time.
It was left to my father by his aunt
in the early '70s, and I couldn't say before that
how long it's been in the family, but I imagine it's been
-in for quite a long time.
-Do you remember anybody using it?
No, I've never seen it used at all.
There are some spinning wheels that are used purely as decoration,
so they would have stood in the main room in a grand house to remind
the young ladies of the house what sort of tasks they might be
-able to do, so if you didn't sew, you should learn how to spin.
But my feeling with this is, this was a working spinning wheel, and I
-think it was a spinning wheel used for spinning flax.
-Oh, yes, yes.
Obviously one thing that's missing is the sort of drive band that would
have gone round here and then connected up to this wheel here,
which would have been made of something simple like leather.
-Obviously breaks and gets lost.
-What kind of wood is it?
-Well, because these...
I mean this is a really nice example of a country, country piece,
so you've got the sort of woods you would have found locally.
You've got elm, you'll have a little bit of ash, anything that's...
-you know, fruit woods, that sort of thing.
People love these wheels,
because they are also very collectable as treen.
-You know, objects made of wood.
This lovely spindle turning. But there are signs of wear,
which is great to see, because this
is obviously not a reproduction. Look at the woodworm hole
-round the back.
-That's right, yes.
-You can't fake that sort of thing.
-And when you look
at something like this, you have to think about those things.
Is it a reproduction that was made yesterday, or is it an old one?
And this is a 19th century one, but it's a collector's piece.
-I would put a value of somewhere between £600 and £800 on it.
As much as that, yes?
"Improved magneto newly invented electric machine
"for nervous diseases". We've seen tonnes of these.
-You've got plenty.
-What, nervous diseases?
-We've seen plenty of these, but we've never done the experiment.
-To see how many people the charge will go through.
-There's plenty here.
-All right, let's try.
Please don't turn the handle too fast.
-Not too fast.
-I can't feel anything. Yes?
-I've got it.
Yes? Can you all feel it?
-Well, your hair's certainly standing on end.
I always get really excited
when I see just a plain little box that has definitely got some age.
Tell me about this.
Well, it was left to my husband by an aunt
who said it belonged to her great grandfather,
and it was put in the loft. And last night I took it out
and I thought, "It's just plastic",
but I thought, "Oh, I'll take it anyway".
Well, I think what's lovely about this is when I do that, and you see
this fabulous little service.
You thought these were plastic.
these are very early glass. This is a wonderful little children's
service in its lovely original box. It was probably made about 1820
or 1830. Look at these lovely little cups with their little handles
and the plates, little compote here and even little spoons.
-So rare to find this. Just look
at this lovely jug, and look at these hand-painted roses on it.
-Yes, it is.
-So it's glass, and look
at the condition it's in after all this time, when you think it would
-have been played with by children.
-Yes, yes, indeed.
And would you have any idea what
-that would be worth?
-Not at all, no.
Because it's very rare. It's rare to find it, it's rare to find it in
this condition. And because toys and dolls and anything to do with them
are going up so much in value, I could easily see that sell for £500.
It was a wedding present. I've had it for 22 years now.
It was from my mum and dad.
Well, I mean, does it worry you to know that they gave
you something that was second-hand?
-No, I did get one or two other things as well.
-Well, I'm glad to know.
Well, as with any work of art, what you're looking for is a signature.
And although it's not very easy to determine, it's all in a name.
And you can see here "Galle", and that of course is Emile Galle.
Does the name mean anything to you at all?
I've heard of Galle, but I thought they were producers of glass.
I didn't know they did furniture. That's why I brought it,
to find out a more...if you knew anything more about it.
OK, well let me just say that Galle in actual fact
was a bit of an all rounder, and he did actually produce some
very interesting furniture. And he's working down there in
the Alsace region, down in that part of France which is
quite close to the German border.
Let's have a look at the actual inlay, because this is
all marquetry inlay. There is nothing here that's worked
with a pen or anything. He is using
the actual natural grain of all these different woods, um, to get
this effect of almost like sunlight cascading onto, onto a seascape.
The good news, of course, is that you've got a nest of three.
-So let's have a look at the...intermediate one, OK?
So we've got now,
um, obviously we've got almost like a fishing village here.
Again, he's using fruit woods
and burr woods to get this wonderful naturalistic effect, and again he's
signing down here.
Date wise, um, I think you're looking at around about 1902-1903.
One thing I can tell you is that
1904 was a really bad year for Emile Galle. That was the year he died.
-OK, and let's have a look at number three.
Oh, that's rather nice, isn't it?
Almost like red sails in the sunset, isn't it?
-I like that one best.
-Again, a clever use of wood grain
with this almost macassar-type ebony showing through there.
Are they the sort of thing you regularly use?
No, I never use them. They just stand in the corner with a cloth over them
so they don't get dusty.
Well, it's a bit of a shame really that they're stacked away.
If I wanted to go out and buy this set today, if I was going to give
them as a wedding present, which is highly unlikely
because I'd want to buy them for meself, then I dare say I'd have
-to part with around about £2,000.
Which, um, which ain't bad really, is it,
for three old second-hand tables?
Oh, that's smashing.
We've got six wonderful diaries here. They are completely wacky,
off the wall and during a time of war. And they make,
not exactly fun of the war, but they're very stoical,
they're very funny, and at the same time they seem to be making
the best out of the situation. Now, who are they by?
It's Thomas Cairns Livingstone, a gentleman who lived in Rutherglen
in Glasgow at the turn of the 19th century, 20th century.
I feel that they're very much
like Mr Pooter. I mean, this is what he is, Mr Pooter
of George and Weedon Grossmiths' book, The Diaries of a Nobody
where, you know, everything worries
him and nothing really matters at all that worries him.
And here they all are, and they're just absolutely hilarious.
But these have illustrations, which I think make it even better.
I mean, on Wednesday December 2nd 1914, he says
"Tommy got a bad cough, made him a wee bridge",
I assume for his railway,
"and at night brought him a new slate".
I assume that was for going to school the next day.
And this lovely illustration of this lady with her skirts blowing up.
This is 1914, don't forget, they're all proper.
"Very stormy, wild, wet day".
And then he repeats himself the following day.
Thursday 8th - "Wild, stormy, wet day. Tommy's still got a bad cough",
and so on and so forth. He's really sending himself up,
but he goes on with things like "Belgrade taken by the Austrians,
"De Wett, the Boer rebel, captured.
"King George in the British trenches".
You know, he sort of goes from the sublime to the ridiculous,
really, or from the ridiculous to the sublime, really.
1914. Let's go to...1915.
"The heat waves continue. Zeppelin blown up near Brussels".
And there they all are, and they're all falling out.
It's just absolutely wonderful, tremendous. And this one, I think,
-this is hardly Sunday night entertainment.
-A bit risque.
"Wild snow storm all day".
This is 1916, Saturday 25th.
"Worst we've had all year. After tea we all went to town to the salon,
a picture house and saw "She". Came home duly edified".
And there he does a picture of a naked lady with, um,
the naughty bits censored. I mean, it's just absolutely ridiculous,
and absolutely lovely.
Next one, "I've got a bit of a cough".
You just love it.
Look, you've obviously got good quotes from these that you want
and I won't have shown the ones that you want.
-What can you remember?
-I think there's one where it's late at night
and he hears a gunshot in the back alley of the street, and he knows
the next day that a man shot his wife and he says "Oh, a man shot his wife,
"silly fool", and it just summarises the whole manner
in which he writes the diaries in.
I love that. Well, I would have bought these any day,
so where did you see them? Where did you...?
There was a local auction just a few miles away from here
a couple of years ago. It was just in a shoe box. Picked the first one up,
read the first one and had to buy the lot. They're so good
and you don't see many, many diaries like this.
So what did you know how to pay for them?
I didn't, really. I just really wanted them.
You rash so and so!
-Go on, tell me.
-I think it was a couple of hundred pounds,
-Right, that's including commission?
Yeah, so I think it's money well spent.
Well, I think it was money well spent.
I mean, I would say the war ones are probably the funniest, because
1918, 1919 is not quite as funny
as the rest, and so I suspect that the others aren't as good.
I'd put more value on these.
I'd put sort of £200 or £300 on these each, and...and
-a bit more on the rest, so we're coming up to about £2,000.
And I wouldn't be surprised if they're not worth printing.
I'd love to see them in a wider audience. I think the amount of work
and effort he's put into them, I think he deserves to be seen.
Well, I assure you if you get them on the Roadshow
there will be a wider audience!
Well, obviously we've got a marine chronometer here.
And it's signed by the chronometer work GMBH Hamburg,
which was a German manufacturer, Second World War period.
To all intents and purposes, it appears to be a decent instrument.
Let's have a look at it. It's suspended in gimbals. Now, that's,
there we are, that's confirmation of what I'm saying. It's actually got
the Kriegsmarine logo on the back with the swastika,
which proves that it's Second World War origin,
and the marine number 339.
The interesting thing about the Kriegsmarine mark on the back
is that it's probably going to turn out to be one of the earlier
instruments, because the later ones, towards the end of the war,
first of all they were vastly inferior quality, and they had
the logo and swastika on the front, actually stamped on the dial.
The movement should hopefully come out and reveal that,
yes, no question. Look at the quality of that.
The late ones, I can hardly describe. They're very poor
quality, very poor finish.
This is beautiful. It's all spotted all over the plates, this little
machining mark. It's gilded.
The screws, as you can see, are highly polished.
Now tell me, by any chance, do you know any of the history?
Usually they're just spoils of war, but nobody
knows where they came from.
Yes, sure. We know quite a lot about its late history which is that it was
the chronometer of a U-boat, a U1-10 which was captured by my grandfather,
so that's how it came into our possession.
Not many U-boats were captured, most of them were sunk. I can't say
I know them all, but I know three or four boats that were actually
stranded and brought up and then captured. Any history on this one?
Absolutely. It was in a convoy action, so it was pursuing a convoy
bound for Liverpool, and it was caught by three Royal Navy vessels
under the command of my grandfather, and depth charged to the surface.
And the crew abandoned ship and they thought that they'd set the scuttling
charges on it, but they hadn't. And my grandfather noticed that the ship
wasn't going down and sent a boarding party on board who, um,
retrieved as much stuff as they could from the U-boat
including an Enigma machine and all the documents that went with that,
-this, and other things.
-Well, that's a very famous action.
-So they got on board, they got an Enigma machine.
But not the first one, because I think some had come from Poland
and there were a few, but it's the one where they got the code books.
That's correct, so they picked up all the naval code books from it.
And, er, fortunately the Germans were unaware that we'd captured this,
this U-boat and its contents,
so that was kept a very closely guarded secret,
and it meant that we could, er, decode.
-The beginning of the decoding.
And if I can remember the end of the story, they tried to take it
in tow, and it sank. It really is a sort of real history.
That's right, so it was actually fortunate that it sank in many ways,
-because it enabled them to keep the capture secret.
But it must have been disappointing at the time, as they were trying
to pull their trophy in to shore.
Oh, well, that makes my life more difficult.
One of these is worth,
without the history, £1,500.
And now I have to say, how much is the history worth?
And I really don't honestly have a clue.
It is such a significant piece of...
of naval history in the Second World War.
I mean, really, it's the point at which I suppose we began to...
if not win the war, to turn the tide, because once we'd
broken those codes, began to break them, there's all the stories about
Bletchley and everything else... this is where the tide began
to swing, and I...so...mmm, I really can't...
-I'll say £5,000 or £10,000. How's that?
-What a fantastic story. Amazing.
In 700 years, Alnwick Castle has seen some great heroes
from Henry Percy to Harry Potter, and now the Antiques Roadshow.
I must say, for a place that's supposed to be forbidding
and impregnable, it's been very inviting.
But we mustn't outstay our welcome,
so just a quick game of quidditch and we'll be on our way.
Until the next time, from Northumberland, goodbye.
Michael Aspel and the team survey more antiques and heirlooms. The team head north to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where they encounter a twenty thousand pound plate from the days of Samuel Pepys, a crystal radio set concealed inside a former PoW's water bottle and Oliver Cromwell's sleeping cap.