Episode 15 Antiques Roadshow


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Episode 15

Michael Aspel and the team visit Rochester Cathedral and make surprising finds, including a rare Scottish sword found behind a chimney and delivery bicycles still in regular use.


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To those who welcome the takeover of Britain's high streets by identical chains of coffee shops

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and quick food joints, this week's Roadshow destination will come as something of a disappointment.

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This is the Medway town of Rochester,

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the favourite haunt of a literary giant.

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After all that I have to tell you that Charles Dickens never actually lived in Rochester,

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although as a boy he spent five years in the area and came back for the last thirteen years of his life.

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When young, the author of "Great Expectations" and father of ten,

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used to take long walks with his own father in the vicinity, doing mental notes for his future blockbusters.

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Any building here that features in a Dickens novel, proudly carries its own plaque.

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Right in the centre of town is a mansion we know better as the home of the eccentric Miss Haversham.

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And the Guildhall was the place the writer had in mind when young Pip

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sealed his apprenticeship with Jo Gargery.

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You can almost hear the stage coach pulling up outside the Bull Hotel

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and spilling out Pickwick and his cronies...

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they liked The Bull... good place, nice beds...

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according to Mr Jingle.

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After Canterbury, Rochester has the oldest cathedral in the land.

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It so appealed to Dickens that it became a central character in

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his final unfinished novel "The Mystery of Edwin Drew".

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It told of intrigue involving cathedral staff in the fictional town of Cloisterham.

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Mystery, intrigue, larger than life characters, Dickens would have loved The Antiques Roadshow.

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Our story opens in the cathedral nave.

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On the face of it, it's an ordinary dish, an oblong piece

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of Staffordshire pottery, very plain. Do you use it?

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-Not at the moment, I have used it, in my childhood it's been used.

-Yes.

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Christmas, when there were seven of us.

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Yes. And did you do the washing up?

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Oh, no, mother would never let me touch it.

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-Really?

-I washed one piece recently and thought "Oooh".

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-You're frightened of it because...

-I'm still frightened of it.

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-It is actually quite special.

-Yes.

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Um, of all the 1920s and '30s designers you would ask somebody

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in the street to mention in pottery, this is the designer who everybody has on their lips, Clarice Cliff,

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and the fact is that she is designing for a pretty ordinary industry but she brings to it

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a pretty extraordinary imagination, and I think an incredible bravery, because there you have that standard

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-oval and then just in the corner, just placed in the corner, you've got this dinky little landscape.

-Yes.

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If we were to focus really close on that landscape, you're looking at something that is almost surreal.

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-So you've got the surreal striking off against the ordinary and I think that's what makes her special.

-Yes.

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Now you've got a whole service.

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A dinner service, three, four cereal bowls and four breakfast cups and saucers.

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Hang on, we, we actually, well you've got it listed here.

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That's very helpful.

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-Yes.

-So just quickly totting it up

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it looks as though you've got getting on for what, 40 pieces?

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-Yes, almost, yes.

-And I can't see a single chip or fracture or breakage anywhere,

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maybe those went in the bin?

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No, no, no, there are two tiny chips in two of the dinner plates at home.

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If we, if we look at the pottery in close up,

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let's have a look here and on the back we've got everything we need to know, it says "Made in England"

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we have the facsimile signature of Clarice Cliff and there, the name, the famous name "Bizarre".

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-Yes.

-Which is not this specific pattern name, but the range...

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-Yes, yes.

-...which this particular pattern belongs to, and there you have the actual pattern number, 6153

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and incidentally if you ever forget what the date of it is, over there, pressed into the clay.

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-Right, yes.

-33". 1933.

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I don't need to write anything down for you, it's all written on the back.

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And I've never noticed that before.

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Now you have absolutely no idea what this service is worth?

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No I haven't, I haven't. I know it was a treasure to my mother, she had it as a wedding present in 1934.

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OK, so we have what's called a "tabula rasa".

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I am going to tell you that if you put this up for auction...

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and assuming all of the rest of it which we see listed, is in good condition...

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-Yes, it is.

-You would certainly be looking for an auction room price of somewhere between £4,000 and £6,000.

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Mm, amazing!

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Well, I'm not exactly a religious man, but I remember from my days...

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when I was a little boy at Sunday School that bit in...

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I think it's Isaiah, the Book of Isaiah, when they said they should beat their swords into plough shares,

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This sword quite obviously hasn't been beaten into a plough share, has it?

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-No, no, certainly not.

-And where did it come from?

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Well, my niece, who's got a house in Sevenoaks, she had a leak in her roof a few... well, last week...

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and of course called in Dad.

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Dad goes up to the roof, goes to find the leak, goes to

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the chimney breast and he found that hidden behind the chimney breast.

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-What on earth was it doing there?

-We don't know but it's at least

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-must be 200 years old because I went into the internet with the name...

-Now that's this name here?

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-That name, there.

-The name of the swordsmith.

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-Yes, and the internet took me into the Maritime Museum.

-Excellent.

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And the Maritime Museum had 174 swords but only two of this make.

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Right, well, he's actually quite an unusual sword cutler, I have to say.

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-Yes.

-Um, it says here on the label, "S Brunn,

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"sword cutler to HRH the Prince of Wales".

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-Now the Prince of Wales refers to the Prince Regent.

-Prinnie.

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Exactly, exactly, so we can date that, probably right at the beginning of the 19th century.

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-Yes.

-It's a Scottish Officer's broad sword.

-Oh, Scottish...

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Now if we take it from the top, looking at the hilt,

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this basket hilt would have been completely gilded and it would have been beautiful to see originally.

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-Oh, right.

-The original shagreen, or fish skin grip is still there, the problem is the condition.

-Yes.

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Now you can see that the scabbard itself is split.

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I... Will it come out?

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We tried but we didn't pull it out, because we were afraid that we might damage it.

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-No, that won't come out.

-So we left it as it is, and we thought

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if the Antique Roadshow want to get it out, they can get it out.

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I can't get it out, but I guess you will be able to get it out.

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I think looking at it, you've got a double-edged sword, so it is a broad sword.

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Been used a bit, hasn't it?

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-Looks a bit like it has.

-Someone's chopped a tree down with it.

-It's a good sword, or it was a good sword.

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I think in that condition, well, what's it going to be worth?

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Once it's restored it's going to be worth something in the region of £600...

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-£800.

-As much as that? Oh!

-What?

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We was thinking of £20 or £30 and we'd go out for a meal with it.

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You could buy a bloomin' good meal for that sort of price today.

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Yes, well...they'll be absolute... they'll be absolutely amazed.

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-Wonderful.

-And so will I...

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-and I've got me fifteen minutes on television, fantastic.

-Thank you.

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This is a gorgeous pot isn't it? Made by the Grainger factory at Worcester,

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I suppose for pot pourri... do you use it for pot pourri?

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-I don't, not really, no.

-You don't?

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No, I just put it out as it is, actually I've got the plug-in for the different smells.

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Oh, you must use this, yes. It's gorgeous, we call it pierced ivory.

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-Yes.

-It's meant to look like a piece of ivory, made in

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the Parian body.

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-Yes.

-And it's pierced by a man called Alfred Barry.

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-I knew his daughter very well and she told me all about him.

-Oh, you did?

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-He did this superb work and it's a beautiful little thing isn't it?

-Yes.

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Lovely, absolutely gorgeous, so how long have you had it?

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Well, I'm not quite sure, I suppose I've had it about 30-35 years.

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-Yes.

-My husband bought it for me.

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-Oh, did he?

-Yes.

-So it's a romantic thing.

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Well...

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A nice memory of him and a beautiful pot.

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Yes, yes, so it is.

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But the date coding is given by...

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-that's the normal Grainger mark there.

-Yes.

-With the shield.

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-Oh, I see, yes, yes, yes.

-And the letter "I"

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is the date code for eighteen...

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-1898.

-Is that really?

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-So it's over a hundred years old.

-Is it really? I didn't realise that.

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-Oh, it is, so it's jolly nice indeed.

-Oh, I didn't think it was as old as that.

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And the reticulation is very beautiful, it's somewhat dirty inside.

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-Well, yeah, I don't very often wash it.

-No, no, no, it should be...

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High days and holidays.

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It shouldn't be washed too often but it could do

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with a nice one in a soft soap.

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Something gentle, warm soft soap.

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That's right, to be honest with you, I'm always a little bit nervous when I wash it.

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-Yes, I'm sure, I'm sure.

-But, um,

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at the moment... it's been packed away for a couple of months.

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-But it should come out now, filled with pot pourri.

-Yes, yes.

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-Get rid of that mechanical stuff.

-Yes, yes, will do, yes.

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-Used to be a beautiful smell.

-Oh, OK, then I'll take your advice.

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Lovely, and the value now is about £1,000 or even a bit more.

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-Is it really?

-Yes, so look after it.

-Oh, I will do, don't worry about that.

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And more particularly, enjoy it.

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Oh, now you've started an argument, my children will all want it now.

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Oh, will they? Oh, well, oh, well don't tell them it's worth that.

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-These are really nice. What do you know about them?

-Well, not really very much.

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I understand though that they were made by the Vimini factory in Italy, a small factory, but that's about

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all I know, apart from the fact that there's a lot of movement about them and they're rather beautiful.

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They're very elegant, aren't they?

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And how long have you owned these?

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Well, this one I bought 40 years ago in an auction in Maidstone,

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and when I bought that I fell in love with it, and decided I'd like to collect more of them

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and in 40 years I've managed to collect one more, so not been very

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successful, that was 20 years ago in Greenwich market I bought that.

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Well, I've got some news for you there's a remarkable coincidence, I...

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about a year ago I bought two of these, I found them

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at a boot fair and I have bought the two of them for £100...

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I thought they were Vimini...

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-as you say.

-Yes.

-Which is an Austrian lamp glass works, these are made by blowing gas through a pipe and

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melting rods of glass together, this is how these are made, so I had these out and somebody walked into the shop

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and he said, "Oh, you have some glass by Istvan Andras Karamoni"

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and I go "What?"

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"Istvan Andras Karamoni" and I said, "What are you talking about?"

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he said, "These, these". I said, "No, they're Vimini".

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He said, "They are not, when I was a child living in Shirley, near Croydon,..."

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-No.

-"..my next door neighbour was Istvan Andras Karamoni and I used to go round for sixpence a week

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"after school, I would help him and watch him make these figures

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-"in a bedroom at the back of his house in a suburban Croydon".

-Amazing.

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He's a Hungarian, arrived from Budapest in about 1954 in England and his most famous group is

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a group of stags, one of which was given to Princess Margaret at...

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as a wedding present, so whilst they certainly look like Vimini,

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they are this guy with the very easy name.

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-Forgotten it already.

-We'll write it down.

-Yes, thank you.

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So when it comes to value, I can't help but feel

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that that's got to be worth £250.

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I think it's really elegant, sexy, spontaneous and rare.

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-This one, I have this figure.

-Yes.

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-Set on one of these boards.

-Ah, right.

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-So I think this is actually damaged and there is a replacement foot, so I would put £50 to £75.

-Right.

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-But that's the least.

-Good.

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Here we are, "Rochester, I owe everything to this place"...

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Dame Sibyl Thorndyke, doyenne of the English stage and worldwide

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traveller, there is one place whose memories she treasures most in all...

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Rochester.

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-She was a fabulous actress, wasn't she?

-She was, wonderful.

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Really very very good, and here she is "After a few words with Mrs Pugh, wife of

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"Dr David Pugh, who live at 2 Minor Canon Row, Rochester"...

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the Thorndykes' first home in Rochester.

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So tell me, what is the connection between you and Sibyl Thorndyke?

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-I went up to see her on her 90th birthday in 1972.

-Right.

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On behalf of the Children of the Medway Towns with...

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-What are the Children of Medway?

-Well, they have produced over a hundred birthday cards for her.

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Right, and this is, this is her opening her cards.

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This is her opening her cards with my own small daughter who was then

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-five.

-Oh, well I think that's absolutely splendid.

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-But the real prize was seeing her.

-Seeing her face to face.

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Seeing her and spending half an hour in her company.

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Oh, I think that's splendid. What else have you got here?

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You've got a couple of signed photographs.

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-Yes.

-You've got quite a few letters, you've got the Order of Thanksgiving

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Service for the life of Sibyl Thorndyke Casson in Westminster Abbey. Did you go to that?

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Yes, I did, yes, and it was a wonderful occasion.

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Yes, absolutely wonderful, and then you've got here the biography.

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-That's right.

-Tell me about that.

-Well, when I went up

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with the cards and the children, she said to me, "You know my son John has written a book about me"

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and I said "Yes, I know, Dame Sibyl, my husband is going to give it to me for Christmas"

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and she said "No, he isn't, my dear, because I'm going to give it to you now"

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and she sent me into the kitchen with the little old Irish lady

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who was her companion

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to the cooker,

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and I was amazed to see this cooker, this spotless gas cooker

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which she never used, because she didn't like cooking,

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and it was full of these books that she was going to give away.

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-That's a marvellous place to put books.

-In the cooker.

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Absolutely tremendous. I love this bit

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"Dear Mrs Walker, I'm so very glad you like the book, I think John has made a very

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"good job of it, I enjoyed it too, thank you for writing me such an interesting letter, full of memories.

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"I don't know whether you mean the school that was in King Street, or the one in St Margaret's.

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"I have wonderful memories of the one in St Margaret's...

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"PTO...

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"because I taught in Sunday School there from time to time; I was ten years old.

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"If you mean the one in King Street, the old Board School...

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"we used to spit at it when we passed"

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which is wonderful "because it wasn't a church school

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and then she signs it elaborately, "Good luck, sincerely Sibyl Thorndyke Casson"

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and a wonderful signature there too.

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-Yes.

-Now tell me, what about values? Have you any idea of values?

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Well, I wouldn't part with any of it, but I have no idea at all.

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Well, as you can imagine, she lived until a great old age.

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-94.

-And so she signed quite a lot of stuff.

-Yes, she did.

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But I think you've got... and with your memories and all the other bits and pieces that you've got here...

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I think you've got the best part of £500 or £600.

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-Good gracious.

-Now be careful as you go home.

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-Yes, I will, thank you.

-All right, thanks for bringing it in.

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It was my great grandfather's, he was in the navy in both

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world wars and he survived both and we don't know how he came across it, but it comes apart.

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Ah, look at that.

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OK, well... have you ever seen anything like this before?

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-Not at all, no.

-Right, well, I have.

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In the early part of the 20th century when this was made, there was no television,

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-there was no radio, people had to find their own amusement.

-Yes.

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And so handicrafts were the thing of the day, people

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wrote poetry, they played music, they, they drew, they painted, they played with metalwork, and that's

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exactly what this is, it's a little novelty, and somebody who had a tremendous talent with his hands.

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-Yes.

-Perhaps with the lathe, has taken two pennies, and they had to use two.

-Yes.

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-And they've cut the tails off of one and the heads off of the other.

-Yes.

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And they've turned away the centre of the head and they've made a little tiny box.

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-What's it worth? Well, frankly, I think it's quite rare.

-Yes.

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I'd pay £50 for that, just for a novelty.

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-I know.

-I think it's fantastic.

-And my mum says...

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It's a penny then, so it's got to be about half a penny nowadays.

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The half penny today converts to about £50 so I think you've got a lovely object there.

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Yeah, I really like it.

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In its three decades, the Antiques Roadshow has been introduced by no less than five presenters...

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Bruce Parker was the first, there was Angela Rippon,

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Hugh Scully was the longest serving presenter and then came me...

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that was in the year 200o. But the experts started very young...

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When did the name Hilary Kay first go up in lights?

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It was early on, it was '79/'80 I mean back in those early days.

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Did you ever think very hard about what you wore?

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Well, I suppose I should have done. No, I didn't...

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was the answer, which means that I made all the classic telly mistakes...

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huge patterns, bra-less, uncomfortable shoes and you just

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had to learn by your own mistakes and you know, thankfully here we are now with all those mistakes learned.

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Well, go back now please to a really outstanding early memory.

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Well, the one fantastic object from those really early days was the automaton that was found at Bognor.

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And that was special for so many reasons, I mean firstly it was

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the time that I was working with Arthur Negus and you can imagine, I'd grown up with "Going For A Song"

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and that was just such a sort of hero worship thing for me

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then, to be working with Arthur, so that was number one, and then you had this wonderful object which really...

0:19:310:19:37

how it ever escaped from a museum I've no idea, I mean it was just a great thing,

0:19:370:19:42

and then thirdly, I mean... bit naughty...

0:19:420:19:44

but I just loved the client, the owner, with her wonderful hat and you know, long skinny boots.

0:19:440:19:51

She was, she was just wonderful, so I mean the three made it into a real priceless memory for me.

0:19:510:19:56

Are you interested in music yourself, because the songs are really very pretty, aren't they?

0:19:560:20:02

Well, I was a professional singer myself and then a lecturer of music.

0:20:020:20:06

-Well, I never, but it's a beautiful object.

-It is lovely.

0:20:060:20:10

Er, to actually put a value on an item like

0:20:100:20:14

this is difficult, because as I said, it's a really museum piece.

0:20:140:20:18

But I would have thought at an auction,

0:20:180:20:21

he should realise between £6,000 and £8,000.

0:20:210:20:26

Oh, that's a lot, isn't it?

0:20:260:20:29

It is a lot, but he's worth every penny, I think.

0:20:290:20:33

And the automaton itself went on to great glory.

0:20:330:20:37

It did, I mean much later on, I don't know, 15 or 16 years later the owner phoned me up at

0:20:370:20:42

the auction house where I was working and said she'd decided to sell it

0:20:420:20:46

and when it came up for sale it actually went for £84,000

0:20:460:20:52

which was a huge sum, I mean it was then, it still is a huge sum now.

0:20:520:20:56

-Well, your campaign medal's in the post.

-Ooh, good.

0:20:560:20:59

And there are other contenders for that title and we them the Young Ones.

0:20:590:21:03

MUSIC: "The Young Ones" by Cliff Richard

0:21:030:21:06

At first sight there seems to be no immediate connection

0:21:340:21:38

between this piece of slightly crudely formed oak

0:21:380:21:42

and a beautifully made boat, tell us what it is.

0:21:420:21:46

Well, my great grandfather

0:21:460:21:49

was a boat builder but he was acquainted with Charles Dickens

0:21:490:21:54

and either watched, or played, cricket with him at Gads Hill House

0:21:540:21:57

and a tree was in the way, Dickens wanted rid of it, and my great grandfather bought it.

0:21:570:22:06

-Right, and that is what this piece of paper is all about.

-It is indeed.

0:22:060:22:10

And this is a what, a typescript from...

0:22:100:22:13

It's written on the top there.

0:22:130:22:16

God, it even gets better,

0:22:160:22:18

So it says "This piece of oak was grown at Gads Hill, the tree of which it is a part, interfered with

0:22:200:22:27

"the prospect at a cricket match at which I was one of the players"

0:22:270:22:31

-ie your great grandfather.

-Indeed.

0:22:310:22:32

"And Dickens expressed a wish for its removal.

0:22:320:22:36

-"I offered to buy it". Well, that was very opportune.

-Absolutely.

0:22:360:22:39

-I mean a boat builder needs oak, doesn't he?

-He does indeed.

0:22:390:22:41

And there is the actual cheque that he gave to Charles Dickens to purchase this oak tree.

0:22:410:22:48

-For ten pounds.

-And he paid £10 for an entire tree, but...

0:22:480:22:52

..well, of course I'll pay lip service to being interested in Dickens while

0:22:530:22:57

I'm here in Rochester, my main interest is actually in the boat and I love boat models.

0:22:570:23:03

-Great.

-This is absolutely meat and drink to me.

0:23:030:23:06

-I live on the Thames.

-Right.

0:23:060:23:08

On the upper Thames and so I'm very used to seeing nice clinker built dinghies, although this, to my eye,

0:23:080:23:15

is not a Thames proportion, is it, is it a Medway boat?

0:23:150:23:20

I think it is, um, he built boats for the local fishermen.

0:23:200:23:24

-Right.

-Because Medway at the time was famous for sprats, oysters and shrimps.

0:23:240:23:29

Interesting that I see that these, certainly the seats in the thwarts are made of oak

0:23:290:23:34

and I think the planking is as well and wouldn't it be wonderful to think that it was from the tree?

0:23:340:23:39

That would be terrific.

0:23:390:23:42

-That would be special.

-What other evidence of the family is there?

0:23:420:23:45

We do have a photograph of Edward Lemon which is here.

0:23:450:23:50

What is that he's standing next to?

0:23:500:23:52

He's standing next to a pulpit which he carved for "The Arethusa"

0:23:520:23:57

which was then a training ship for The Shaftesbury Homes.

0:23:570:24:01

So there I was, very very rudely at the beginning saying this is

0:24:010:24:04

slightly crudely formed oak plaque and I think you'd agree, it is.

0:24:040:24:08

-Oh, yes.

-But that... actually he improved, didn't he, over the years?

0:24:080:24:12

-Yes, he got better.

-He got pretty good.

0:24:120:24:14

Yes, he did, yes, he did.

0:24:140:24:16

Um, no, they're great things and what wonderful things of local interest.

0:24:160:24:19

-Yes.

-What are they worth?

0:24:190:24:21

As a piece of...essentially a piece of treen, carved wood,

0:24:210:24:26

I would say it's £200 or £300.

0:24:260:24:29

-Right.

-But of course we've got the Dickens connection to, to cope with.

0:24:290:24:32

-Yes.

-And the Dickens market is quite strong.

-Oh, right.

0:24:320:24:37

-And I think that it is worth many hundreds, certainly the best part of £1,000.

-Good heavens!

0:24:370:24:43

That's... that's better than we expected, that's really good.

0:24:430:24:45

-It actually compares directly with the value of this.

-Really?

0:24:450:24:49

Because I saw a very similar hull, for sale recently, and that was also priced at just under £1,000.

0:24:490:24:55

Good heavens.

0:24:550:24:57

So with all the extra interest, with the photograph and...

0:24:570:25:01

I suppose, you know, you're well on top of £2,000.

0:25:010:25:06

When did you last ride a bike in a cathedral?

0:25:060:25:08

-Oh, let me think.

-Do it all the time, do you?

0:25:080:25:10

Yeah, pretty much.

0:25:100:25:13

So where did you find bikes like this?

0:25:130:25:15

Well, they were delivered to my great grandfather who had a dairy, a very small dairy at

0:25:150:25:20

the bottom of a very small lane, and the tanker couldn't get down the lane to the dairy so as far as

0:25:200:25:25

we know, the dairy supplied him with the tricycles to get the milk from the dairy to the tanker.

0:25:250:25:29

So when was that do you think?

0:25:290:25:31

Um, as far as I know my grandfather got them in 1947.

0:25:310:25:34

-Oh, quite late.

-Oh, yeah, quite late.

0:25:340:25:37

So what did they have on here? Milk churns?

0:25:370:25:39

Yeah, it would have probably had bottled milk on it, or milk churns, and the same with this one.

0:25:390:25:44

So were they given to you as good bikes? Were they in good condition?

0:25:440:25:48

Um, when I got them they were, yes, but they weren't when my father found them.

0:25:480:25:53

My father found them on my granddad's farm

0:25:530:25:56

and he restored them when he was 16, which must have been 30 years ago.

0:25:560:25:59

So let's get down to basics. Why do you want to ride bicycles like this?

0:25:590:26:04

They're heavy, they're old-fashioned.

0:26:040:26:07

-Because they're absolutely great fun, I mean I do my groceries on that one.

-Do you?

0:26:070:26:11

-I do.

-There's plenty of room for your supermarket bags.

0:26:110:26:13

-I don't have a driving licence, I've got no other way of doing them.

-That's great.

0:26:130:26:18

My mum and dad rode on their first date on this tricycle.

0:26:180:26:21

She on the front, he on the back?

0:26:210:26:23

Yeah, he cycled her to the pub and they had lunch together, and that was their first date...

0:26:230:26:27

they've now been married 22 years.

0:26:270:26:29

Well, what a start! She had to say yes, didn't she?

0:26:290:26:32

Oh, definitely and then came along me and my brother,

0:26:320:26:35

she strapped our carry cots to the front of that and took us down the shops, then took us cycling.

0:26:350:26:40

Um and then of course... family history...

0:26:400:26:43

we had to repeat it, my boyfriend cycled me to the Prom on that one.

0:26:430:26:45

Fantastic, what riding or carrying?

0:26:450:26:48

-My boyfriend cycled and I was sat on the front.

-How elegant.

0:26:480:26:52

It was absolutely wonderful.

0:26:520:26:53

Now, in Roadshow terms... value.

0:26:530:26:56

-What are they worth to you?

-Priceless.

0:26:560:26:59

-Priceless.

-I think if I sold them, my uncle would actually kill me.

-Well, that's fair enough, in that case.

0:26:590:27:03

They're so precious to me, I'm the fourth generation to have them.

0:27:030:27:06

-I don't care what they're worth.

-No, well, in that case, I'm not going to tell you.

0:27:060:27:09

-Please don't.

-No, let's keep it as a wonderful bit of...

0:27:090:27:12

-bit of family history and mystery.

-Yes, they are, they are brilliant.

0:27:120:27:15

I think they're great, and in fact I've always wanted to ride a delivery bike so off I go.

0:27:170:27:20

-Well, there you go, bye-bye.

-Bye.

0:27:200:27:22

It's a fabulous service, that's what I like about this so much,

0:27:240:27:27

-it's a very, very tactile piece, it feels like fur.

-Feels like fur?

0:27:270:27:30

It's a gorgeous thing, gorgeous, gorgeous, and it's a fabulous form as well. Do you know what it is?

0:27:300:27:36

No, you tell me.

0:27:360:27:38

-Well, you must have looked.

-Yes, it's Ruskin but I don't know anything about it.

0:27:380:27:41

It's Ruskin Ware yes, it says so on the base here "Ruskin Pottery 1909"

0:27:410:27:46

it's a factory near Birmingham set up just before the end of the 19th century

0:27:460:27:50

by a chap called William Houghton Taylor, he set it up with his father

0:27:500:27:54

and they made these wonderful high fired, high-temperature flambe-glazed vases inspired by Chinese pieces

0:27:540:28:02

principally, for around about 30 years or so, but they are terrific quality.

0:28:020:28:07

In this vase it's using a high-temperature, copper-edged

0:28:070:28:11

flambe glaze, it's a very difficult glaze to control in the kiln.

0:28:110:28:14

In some areas, if you don't get the oxygen levels exactly right, you get

0:28:140:28:19

these slightly grey areas and the very best examples have a very even glaze, but it's a really pretty vase,

0:28:190:28:26

it's a really pretty shape, it feels lovely.

0:28:260:28:30

At auction, I'd expect it to fetch £800 to £1,200.

0:28:300:28:34

Wow!

0:28:340:28:37

Really? Oh, my God. Oh, thank you very much.

0:28:370:28:42

I think it's lovely.

0:28:420:28:43

On this table you have almost encapsulated my entire childhood, do you realise that?

0:28:470:28:53

-I didn't realise that.

-It's a worry isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:28:530:28:56

But we had a toy shop in our village and I'd save up my 2/6 every week

0:28:560:29:03

and buy something, because Corgi...

0:29:030:29:05

I hate to say it, all those Dinky toy fans out there...

0:29:050:29:09

-Corgi were the ones to buy.

-Absolutely.

0:29:090:29:12

And to prove it, we have the fact

0:29:120:29:14

-that you are a registered member of the Corgi Model Club.

-That's right.

0:29:140:29:20

I was always a Corgi fanatic.

0:29:200:29:22

Exactly, well, I mean Corgi set up in 1956 which was quite

0:29:220:29:26

a long time after Dinky, but they had this big selling point, didn't they?

0:29:260:29:30

Their slogan was...

0:29:300:29:32

-"the one with windows".

-Yes, "the one with windows".

0:29:320:29:34

-And then they had suspension and then they had dual headlamps.

-Absolutely.

0:29:340:29:39

And they got really early into sort of film merchandise and TV world.

0:29:390:29:44

-Yes, they did, yes, yes.

-So they had, um obviously James Bond.

0:29:440:29:47

-Bond.

-Here we have James Bond.

0:29:470:29:49

-They had The Avengers.

-That's right.

0:29:490:29:51

-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

-Yes.

-Man From Uncle.

0:29:510:29:54

-Yes, I remember those.

-Queen Hornet.

-Yes.

0:29:540:29:56

OK, so when did you start collecting?

0:29:560:29:58

Well, I'm not a collector as such, these are just my childhood toys.

0:29:580:30:02

They all date from the late '50s to probably the mid '60s.

0:30:020:30:05

-Yes.

-And, er...

-So were you a pocket money hoarder as well?

0:30:050:30:07

-Er, yes, certainly, for the... for this one.

-Yeah.

0:30:070:30:11

I saved up two shillings a week which was my pocket money for

0:30:110:30:17

eight weeks, sixteen shillings, and my mum added the one and six, and I went to Dartford and purchased it

0:30:170:30:23

from the toy shop but the majority come from one of my sisters, so three older sisters, very spoiled

0:30:230:30:30

and my sister Elaine used to come home from work every Friday, most Fridays with a toy.

0:30:300:30:35

No!

0:30:350:30:36

Invariably it was a Corgi toy.

0:30:360:30:38

So good for her, so this is, this is the spoilt spoils from, from a little brother.

0:30:380:30:43

Absolutely, absolutely.

0:30:430:30:45

-Brilliant, so amongst all these with me, I think my favourite was probably the caravan.

-Oh, OK, OK.

-Which is...

0:30:450:30:53

I don't what that says about me but closely followed, I have to say...

0:30:530:30:57

-by... oh, you haven't got it here.

-What's that?

0:30:570:31:00

Which was a wonderful Corvette.

0:31:000:31:04

-Chevrolet Corvette.

-Yeah.

0:31:040:31:06

Oh, it's there, oh, you've got it!

0:31:060:31:10

And I am in seventh heaven now, you're not going to see this again,

0:31:100:31:13

that's going to slip nicely into my handbag.

0:31:130:31:16

So my favourites. Your favourites?

0:31:160:31:18

-My favourites was the James Bond Aston Martin, the Ecurie Ecosse car transporter.

-Yes.

0:31:180:31:24

-And funnily enough the circus set.

-Well, I think the circus has got so much going for it.

-Yes, yes.

0:31:240:31:29

-Lots and lots of accessories.

-Yes.

0:31:290:31:31

-But the great thing here is the condition.

-OK.

0:31:310:31:35

Now, sad boy, or boy that played with his toys?

0:31:350:31:39

I had two lots of toys, toys I played

0:31:390:31:43

outside with, and toys I played indoors, these were the indoor toys.

0:31:430:31:46

-Very good, very good.

-Yes.

0:31:460:31:48

OK, so value.

0:31:480:31:51

Which is the most valuable, do you think?

0:31:510:31:53

Well, I thought, I thought it was the James Bond Aston Martin

0:31:530:31:56

but I believe it could be the circus set, in that case I don't know.

0:31:560:32:00

I think it's this. I think it's the gift set number 1.

0:32:000:32:04

-No.

-Actually.

0:32:040:32:06

I mean I know you've got a dink in the lid here, but gift set number 1

0:32:060:32:10

-can fetch about £500.

-Good grief.

0:32:100:32:14

So I think that's your cracker...

0:32:140:32:17

-the circus models come next at around £350-£400.

-OK.

0:32:170:32:22

This comes third, this is going to be around £300 and the rest are going to

0:32:220:32:27

add up, I mean when you go through and add them all up in your head...

0:32:270:32:31

Sure, sure.

0:32:310:32:33

I reckon we're getting to £2,000 without any problem at all.

0:32:330:32:37

-Really. Really?

-Yeah.

0:32:370:32:39

-So, well done for saving your money and buying them.

-Thank you.

0:32:390:32:43

Thank you to Elaine

0:32:430:32:45

for giving them to you every Friday

0:32:450:32:48

and well done for keeping them in such great shape because now

0:32:480:32:52

you've got something that really is just as exciting as it was.

0:32:520:32:55

I'll have to take more care of them, because they're stored in the loft.

0:32:550:32:58

-Not good.

-And subject to extremes of temperature.

0:32:580:33:01

-Which leads to metal fatigue.

-Absolutely.

0:33:010:33:03

So get them down from the loft, have them out on display, they look fantastic.

0:33:030:33:07

Yes, right.

0:33:070:33:09

This is a most strange and unique form of glass decorating that is applied to this jug.

0:33:090:33:17

It was made by Davenport who are a porcelain company in Staffordshire,

0:33:170:33:24

and this is their contribution to glass making history and it is called "the Davenport patent"

0:33:240:33:31

and it's supported by the application of the word "patent"

0:33:310:33:35

to the base of this jug which is a real cracker.

0:33:350:33:40

Now the Davenport patent concerned the application of sugar water

0:33:400:33:46

and black ink to the body of the glass,

0:33:460:33:52

fine-tuned with a stiletto to leave an image that was created by firing it.

0:33:520:34:00

It was patented in 1806 and they abandoned the making of it in 1811

0:34:000:34:06

and they made examples for the Tsar, and the Prince Regent.

0:34:060:34:12

This is the market it was aimed at, so tell us your part of the story.

0:34:120:34:17

Well, it was handed down to me by my mother who was

0:34:170:34:22

a very astute lady, actually, and did know her antiques.

0:34:220:34:27

You're not surprising me with that nugget.

0:34:270:34:29

-No, and, um...

-She was French.

-And, um, yes, she was French.

0:34:290:34:32

-Right. Well, not that I think that has any bearing, because this is as English as roast beef.

-Yes.

0:34:320:34:38

The scene is one of the famous scenes - the scene is The Huntsman.

0:34:380:34:42

There are other ones that are geometric patterns,

0:34:420:34:45

acanthus decoration up here, this is classic Davenport, I knew it the second I saw it, you know.

0:34:450:34:49

Yeah, I knew.

0:34:490:34:51

Well, we have a couple of problems with it and that is that

0:34:510:34:55

it is, has got a right bash here and it's got a chip here, none the less I can tell you, with confidence

0:34:550:35:03

that these are restorable, you can get this stuff out.

0:35:030:35:06

Now a group, a collection went up under the hammer last year of

0:35:060:35:09

Rummer wine glasses, now the Rummers went for £2,000 each

0:35:090:35:13

so I've got no hesitation at all...

0:35:130:35:17

albeit that it's quite damaged...

0:35:170:35:19

-on putting a valuation of between £4,000 and £5,000 on this jug.

-Wow!

0:35:190:35:25

Taken my breath away.

0:35:250:35:28

I love doing that.

0:35:280:35:30

Fascinating group of silver, where did they come from?

0:35:310:35:35

They are in fact the silver ware of our local church which is part of the Rochester Diocese.

0:35:350:35:40

Right, right, so what are they all about?

0:35:400:35:45

So first of all, this one.

0:35:450:35:48

Wonderful piece of silver.

0:35:480:35:50

You've got an inscription here which reads "the gift of Robert Mann Esquire, Anno 1750"

0:35:500:35:58

but that's not the date of the piece.

0:35:580:36:01

-Ah.

-OK, the piece itself...

0:36:010:36:05

you've got the date letter there for 1698.

0:36:050:36:09

Oh, right. Was it in its previous life, a paten for a chalice?

0:36:090:36:15

-It was just a plate.

-No, really a dish.

-A dish.

0:36:150:36:16

Simply a dish, domestic use, not for church use at all.

0:36:160:36:21

-Oh, right, ah.

-OK?

-Yeah.

0:36:210:36:23

-So I think with this one we're looking probably around £1,500 to £2,000 mark.

-Right.

0:36:230:36:29

OK. What have we got here?

0:36:290:36:32

Ex dono Francis Withams,

0:36:320:36:36

Militus, I think that means he is a military man, I might be wrong,

0:36:360:36:40

my Latin is absolutely hopeless.

0:36:400:36:42

And here we've got this rather curious...

0:36:420:36:47

it reads 1691-2, so this

0:36:470:36:51

this must have coincided with that change

0:36:510:36:54

in the year, but again the date actually is deceptive.

0:36:540:36:59

-In this case, we've got the date letter for 1683.

-Oh, right.

0:36:590:37:04

-And this is actually a dinner plate, really.

-Oh, right.

0:37:040:37:08

Of the reign of Charles II but of course you have to remember

0:37:080:37:12

with the Reformation, domestic silver like this was perfectly acceptable.

0:37:120:37:16

So what about value on this one?

0:37:160:37:18

Well, we had an idea from... no, the overall value of these,

0:37:180:37:25

I think it was something like two and a half K or something.

0:37:250:37:29

£2,500 you reckon overall.

0:37:290:37:30

-Yes.

-Well, this on its own is somewhere between £5,000 and £6,000.

0:37:300:37:36

-Are you noting this down?

-Yes.

0:37:380:37:40

So when you inherited this, why on earth did you keep it?

0:37:420:37:45

Well, I just think it's the most beautiful object in its own right,

0:37:450:37:49

I love the colour, I love the shape, I love the intricacy, and it's got

0:37:490:37:53

so many clues all over it, I just think it's a fantastically beautiful piece of art...artwork, really.

0:37:530:37:59

Well, it's a cow horn beaker made in the 18th century and it just makes you smile.

0:37:590:38:04

I'm smiling all the time, every time I hold it.

0:38:040:38:07

-Exactly.

-Well, it's a funny, there's a lot of sort of little funny pieces in it, in the carving.

0:38:070:38:11

Well, it is full of humour.

0:38:110:38:13

Well, curiously, I think we need to start at the bottom because it says here

0:38:130:38:18

"this is for his Royal M...

0:38:180:38:22

"KG"... or GK... so His Royal Majesty King George and this chap here is wearing a garter star, or a star.

0:38:220:38:31

-Oh, right.

-So perhaps this is King George, and conveniently it says "KG"

0:38:310:38:35

there and also, what on earth is this rather strange...

0:38:350:38:38

This is a compass of some sort and it has north, south, east, west

0:38:380:38:41

but the east and west are in the wrong position.

0:38:410:38:44

So I assume it wasn't a very educated person that made it.

0:38:440:38:48

Well, he's certainly very skilful, but who is he, I wonder, and here, over this rather bizarre

0:38:480:38:54

royal arms with the supporters, the lion and the unicorn, I mean look at this unicorn, what a mad unicorn that

0:38:540:38:59

is, it's terrific, isn't it? The inscription - where you would expect a sort of garter inscription -

0:38:590:39:02

-says "God knows this horn is mine".

-It's a very personal piece, isn't it?

0:39:020:39:08

Absolutely, it's mine.

0:39:080:39:10

The whole thing has been cut back in relief, it's quite extraordinary, rather than incised.

0:39:100:39:15

A lot that I've seen are incised and why I love this is the low relief on it.

0:39:150:39:19

-Yes.

-I think that's just beautiful, and it feels nice, everything about it's right.

0:39:190:39:24

It does feel right. It's just the most lovely thing.

0:39:240:39:26

This very silly dog about to lick or bite King George's hand,

0:39:260:39:30

so now we've got to try and work out what date, and which King George.

0:39:300:39:35

The coat of arms is definitely Georgian, it has the lions,

0:39:350:39:40

the harp, the fleur de lys, I'm not sure what this fellow is, but it's not quite right.

0:39:400:39:46

Well, I think there's another final clue in here in terms of its date in that

0:39:460:39:51

-the outfits that they're both wearing appear to be mid-18th century.

-So this is George II, you think?

0:39:510:39:57

I think it's George II, yes, I don't see why not, and everything about it has got...

0:39:570:40:03

it's just the most lovely primitive object and I don't mean by "primitive"

0:40:030:40:07

rudely, I think it's a fabulous primitive object.

0:40:070:40:10

When you inherited it... how long ago did you get it?

0:40:100:40:12

30 years ago Mum gave it to me.

0:40:120:40:14

Well, it was probably worth a fiver then,

0:40:140:40:16

but I think now that it's one of the most charming things I've seen for a long time and

0:40:160:40:21

at auction I think it should make somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.

0:40:210:40:26

Well, it's too beautiful to sell.

0:40:260:40:29

Well, absolutely, I would never sell it if it was mine, I think it's a lovely object.

0:40:290:40:33

So we're up now to sort of £7,500 or so...

0:40:330:40:37

that sort of level, what about this one?

0:40:370:40:39

We know nothing about it at all.

0:40:390:40:41

No, it's a total mystery to us.

0:40:410:40:44

Let's just slide those over there.

0:40:440:40:47

This is actually what's known as a steeple cup,

0:40:470:40:52

from this obelisk or steeple on the lid, this was a tremendous feature

0:40:520:40:59

at one particular period and time, it absolutely screams when it was made.

0:40:590:41:03

-Yes.

-And that period was the reign of King James I.

0:41:030:41:08

The actual date in fact...

0:41:080:41:11

just fits rather tightly on there.

0:41:110:41:13

Did you find the hallmark because we...

0:41:130:41:15

We've got a full set of marks there.

0:41:150:41:17

-Oh, yes.

-Ah.

0:41:170:41:20

Right. And we've actually got the London date letter there for 1619.

0:41:200:41:26

What are you using it for?

0:41:260:41:29

For high days and holidays, for Communion.

0:41:290:41:32

Right, again interesting because it's actually not a Communion cup.

0:41:320:41:35

Ah, that was going to be another question because all the people

0:41:350:41:40

who use it say it's dreadfully uncomfortable to drink from.

0:41:400:41:43

-Right.

-Bearing in mind the Communion practice of helping someone to drink from it.

0:41:430:41:48

-Indeed, it is a secular drinking cup.

-Oh.

0:41:480:41:50

And again it's the secularisation with the Reformation and it was perfectly acceptable for somebody to

0:41:500:41:56

present to a church what was actually their domestic drinking cup.

0:41:560:42:00

You have to be somebody quite important to have a standing cup and cover of this sort of size and scale.

0:42:000:42:05

What about these brackets in the stem?

0:42:050:42:08

Eating you see when this was made, was to a large extent a hands-on operation,

0:42:080:42:14

-just think of your hand covered with mutton fat.

-Oh, yeah, yeah.

0:42:140:42:17

Got a jolly good grip there.

0:42:170:42:20

Works beautifully. Sort of value today...

0:42:200:42:24

I would be thinking in terms of about

0:42:240:42:28

£50,000, maybe £60,000.

0:42:280:42:33

We can pay the Rector's salary now.

0:42:330:42:36

50 to 60K?

0:42:390:42:41

Yes, yes.

0:42:410:42:42

-Plus the price of...

-Plus those.

0:42:420:42:44

It had previously been hinted at, possibly about 2K. Well, that's unbelievable.

0:42:440:42:48

-A bit of an improvement on two thousand.

-Isn't it just?

0:42:480:42:51

Yes, I mean you couldn't buy that for two thousand, you might just

0:42:510:42:55

about be able to buy that one for two thousand, so please do make sure that you put them somewhere safe.

0:42:550:43:03

Yes, they'll be going straight back to the bank as we leave here.

0:43:030:43:06

-A very good idea.

-Yes.

0:43:060:43:08

With all my talk about Dickens setting one of his novels here in Rochester Cathedral,

0:43:110:43:16

so much restoration has gone on, that if he came back here, he wouldn't recognise the place.

0:43:160:43:21

Although one or two of the pillars still have a distinct

0:43:210:43:23

outward lean, but then if you were a thousand years old, wouldn't you?

0:43:230:43:27

Thanks again to the Dean and Chapter for having us, and from Rochester in Kent, for now, goodbye.

0:43:270:43:33

Michael Aspel and the team visit Rochester Cathedral and make some surprising finds, including a rare Scottish sword found behind a chimney and delivery bicycles still in regular use.