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Manchester Town Hall - the ultimate example of civic pride
and they say its foundations are built on bales of cotton.
Welcome back to a second helping of Antiques Roadshow from Manchester.
'The official opening of Manchester Town Hall
'was to be a glamorous affair,
'so the monarch was invited.'
But Queen Victoria declined to attend
when she got wind of the Mayor's radical beliefs.
He'd wanted to produce a newspaper for the poor called
The Poor Man's Guardian - outrageous!
Ironically enough, though, it was the Mayor who stood in for her
when this magnificent building was opened on the 13th September 1877.
And here he is, the radical himself, Abel Heywood.
The architect was a northern lad, Alfred Waterhouse.
He designed cotton flowers all over the building.
It became known as King Cotton's Palace -
a reference to the vast amounts of cotton imported to Manchester
for the manufacturing of textiles.
And you can see bees everywhere too,
as busy Manchester was a hive of industry.
130 years on and the town hall is just as busy as ever.
This is still the place you come to register
births, marriages and deaths
and it's a favoured Hollywood location.
Only recently Meryl Streep was spotted striding down the corridors
dressed in the familiar attire of Margaret Thatcher.
The Mayor's staterooms are where the great and the good
have been wined and dined over the last century or so.
Benjamin Disraeli, Dr Livingstone - I presume?
Sorry, couldn't resist that.
Winston Churchill - he was made a Freeman of the City,
they've all been entertained here.
Today we are the guests of Manchester City Council
and what a spectacular place for our experts to weave their magic.
The story of Manchester's industrial history
is dominated by a word, which you hear all the time,
and it's cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton and cotton.
It's what you hear all the time.
There's another part of Manchester's industrial history,
which is pressed glass.
And Ancoats was stuffed with pressed glass works.
that really is a piece of Manchester's genuine past,
as much as any cotton you could think of - and it's survived!
I'll tell you what, it's survived a lot more than the cotton, hasn't it?
-It's in a lot better condition that a shirt you would have bought!
So, come on, tell us about your bit of it.
Well, it's a piece that was always in Grandma's house
and when Grandma died 18 years ago, obviously, the house was cleared
and it was just passed down to myself, as a member of the family,
and when we had family get-togethers
Grandma always used to put the celery in it!
Which is really bizarre, bearing in mind it's a celery vase!
Is it really? Right.
It's a celery vase.
It's not really, they've described it as a celery vase
because the tax on practical glass was less than on fancy glass.
So, if they called it a flower vase, it would have cost more
but because they called it a celery vase, you could sell it cheaper.
-And as for date, well, we know how old it is
cos there's a little mark down here.
It's a design registration lozenge.
It's about 1865.
It's not a fantastically valuable thing. What's it worth?
30 or 40 quid sort of money but the fact is, it has survived
-and it's still here...
-..proudly proclaiming MANCHESTER!
So we can use it for celery then? Legally!
Cock Robin merrily singing his heart out on a Victorian tree branch,
in a gold frame, in the original fitted box.
What's the story behind it?
It was my maternal grandmother's.
I know nothing about it
and I would like to know how the robin got there!
-Yes, because he's trapped within, isn't he, really?
-Yes he is, yes.
It's in incredibly good condition.
The reason is, as I do always say,
if you've got the original box for the item,
goodness me, that really does help to keep the condition
absolutely top grade.
What it is, it's called a reverse crystal painting.
Take a bubble of rock crystal, engrave it from the back
-and paint the detail of the robin from the back.
So it's painted on and if you could see, literally, behind it,
you'd see that there's a sort of engraved hole filled up with paint.
Very high quality gold frame, 18 carat gold frame,
and at the back, like all the best Victorian pendants,
-a locket compartment for you to put a photograph or a lock of hair.
Probably given, do you not agree, as a Christmas present? Do you think?
I would have thought so.
-All right, been in the family all these years.
Do you wear it?
I don't now but I have worn it when I was much younger,
I used to wear it with a black velvet ribbon with an evening dress.
It's not valueless, they are very collectable
and this one is a particularly good one, in a Hunt and Roskell box.
Would you like to hear that it's worth something in the region of £2,500?
That's a very nice surprise, thank you.
-Would you be pleased then?
-I'd be very pleased, yes.
Just my height, this.
Oh, God, yeah. It's handy to lean on.
-It's a big pot!
Where did you get it from?
My mother bought it in 1945...
..from in a shop in Manchester.
-Fantastic, and you've had it ever since?
-Do you like it?
-I do like it, yes.
Do you know what it all means?
I don't, not at all.
I'll tell you something.
As I approached this pot I knew instantly what it was...
-Once I got close, I realised I was wrong.
It's actually got a fair amount of Japanese influence on it
-but it's actually Chinese.
-And dates from the middle of the 19th century.
-So it's 150 years old.
Do you know what these are?
Look like overgrown tulips.
-They're actually peaches!
And a peach in China, is a symbol of longevity.
Well, it's an omen that she bought it - she lived to be 98!
So, you're going to live to 98 - oh, you're not 98 yet are you?
Er, down here we've got...
-immortals on different animals...
..and they're the Taoist immortals, not Buddhist but Taoist.
And I think this would be very saleable
to the modern Chinese market.
And I think you would get somewhere between £5,000 and £8,000 for it.
Do you know how much it cost?
No, tell me.
-I'm going to show you.
My Dad bought it, in a shop, a furniture shop in Manchester...
-It's gone up 1,000 times.
The first one I bought about 15 years ago,
just from a local antiques fair,
and then the other one I bought about six or eight months later,
again just at a local antiques fair, so...
Are you an Art Deco collector?
Because these obviously do date from the 1930s.
I do like the Art Deco period.
-So you're a bit of a magpie, yeah?
Well, first of all, let's just look at the features,
cos the features immediately tell you that you're looking at something
-which is from that, sort of, inter-war period.
Because it's amazing, you can look at fashion plates
and ladies have got these elongated faces,
erm, and also it doesn't need much for me to know
that there's a mark behind there that's going to say Goldscheider,
although it's a little bit obscured.
So we know that they're made in Austria,
and this one, I notice, benefits actually from a label as well.
Yeah, I only noticed that last night when I took them off the wall.
-And you've been living with them for 15 years!
I mean, I love this particular one, I've seen this one before
-because look at that hair!
-Ringlets of jade green.
I mean, to be honest with you, it looks like a hairdresser's nightmare
-where a perm has gone badly wrong in the rinse, or whatever!
But this is the sort of object that collectors are very keen to have.
They made a whole range of wall masks, including THIS one.
Now, this one does set the pulse racing.
I've got to say it's a rare subject.
Anything to do with skiing these days is always at a premium.
You even find auctions in London
dedicated to skiing posters and skiing memorabilia,
so she would sit well in two distinct sales.
-Obviously an Art Deco sale and a skiing sale.
Well, let's just go back to this girl.
-How much did you pay for that?
-120 for that one.
-That was more expensive than the other one.
All right, well let's take this one.
the market for that is going to be nearer £300 or thereabouts. OK.
Now, when you say more expensive for our ski girl.
That was the cheaper one.
-Oh, that was the cheaper one?
-Oh, right, so how cheap is cheap?
-Well, it was £100 for that one.
Erm, I've not seen this before,
and I've seen a lot of Goldscheider masks,
so I wouldn't hesitate to quote you somewhere in the region of £800
to possibly, possibly £1,000.
Wow, that's amazing!
That is amazing.
So, the Crystal House or Crystal Palace
-was built for the Great Exhibition in 1851...
..and it was, you know, the most exciting thing
that had happened at that time.
Six million people -
-a third of the population of Great Britain - came to see it.
It was 990,000 square feet
and so there were a tremendous number of commemoratives
made for this event...
-and you've brought one.
-Where did you get it?
-I got it from my great aunt.
-And did she go? Do you know?
I'm not sure
but I think it must have been passed down through the family.
Well, it was such a spectacular event
and many, many things were produced...so they're quite common.
But I've never seen this one before.
-So, and I LOVE the verse.
-Yes, so do I.
-Because it's not very good, is it?
-It's very strange.
"These are the soldiers so gay and so bright
"Who like to play best but are willing to fight
"In defence of the Police, so active and bold
"Who mind not the heat and fear not the cold."
THEY CHUCKLE It's lovely.
So produced for this -
I haven't seen this one before, so rarer than most,
and I think you would have to pay about £500.
Wow! Just for this?
I can't believe that, I really can't.
So if you don't mind me asking you, sir,
this is meant to be hanging in Mottram Church,
what's it doing, today, at Manchester Town Hall?
Well, we, in 1980, bought a biscuit company in this cotton mill
and, within a year, we were clearing out store rooms
and were throwing out all the junk.
And some of the boys discovered this amongst the junk.
So, you bought your biscuit factory
-that happened to be an old cotton mill.
This was found there.
Yes, it was.
It's been hanging in reception in the biscuit factory ever since.
-And so its history is incredibly rich, isn't it?
-Yes, it is.
Because it says here,
"The South Side of Mottram Chancel is Repaired By and Belongs to
"the Earl of Warrington as Lord of the Manor of Stayly."
So, Mottram Church, where is that?
Well, Mottram church is in Stalybridge,
which is in the village of Mottram itself.
And it's between Stalybridge and Glossop,
about 15 miles east of Manchester.
This shield actually dates from 1694,
when the Earl of Warrington placed it in the church at Mottram.
Because this armorial, the sort of focal point of it,
-is incredibly detailed, isn't it?
-It goes back generations, really.
Explaining, you know, his blood line,
-it's a bit like a family tree, if you like.
So, presumably, it was hanging in the chancel or...
actually, looking at it,
one wonders whether it might even have formed part of the, sort of,
the panelling within that chancel.
-There's a curious square just here, isn't there?
-A good repair!
-Yes, a good repair, possibly even a door or something.
We're not sure whether it's a door or a panel
but it certainly hung in the chancel for about 150 years
and it was only moved by a guy called Chapman,
a wealthy mill owner from the area,
who bought the chancel from the church and decided, in his wisdom,
that he was wealthy enough to take out all the accoutrements
that were in the chancel, replacing them with his own.
So, at that time the armorial shield disappeared,
that was in 1854 or thereabouts,
and destroyed everything that was within it for his own goods.
And this of course disappeared at that time.
But interesting that it was never actually destroyed or thrown away,
and not hard to imagine why
because it STILL has that richness to it, doesn't it?
And so when you purchased the old cotton mill as your biscuit factory,
what did you pay for it?
Oh, we paid well over the odds, we paid £1.
A pound? SHE LAUGHS
-A whole pound.
-And that was for the factory, machinery and this.
-One whole pound?
-One whole pound, yes.
Well, we bought the debt as well, I have to say,
but, you know, not a bad deal.
Well, it is such a visually attractive object
and a very similar armorial panel to this
was sold a couple of years ago, at auction,
-and I think probably surprised everyone by fetching £12,500.
Now the question with this is, where does that sit alongside it?
I think its provenance is fantastic.
So, I would think, really, that it's got to be worth at least that much,
possibly as much as...
Sounds very nice, yes, I wouldn't argue with that, sounds very good.
Not for sale!
-My father used to work for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company...
..in the Abadan Oil Refinery.
And then planned to live out there but unfortunately,
along with other foreign residents, were thrown out
after some dispute over the oil company,
-and he came home and brought these Persian rugs with him.
Well, let's talk a bit about exactly where they come from.
We call them Kashan -
Kashan is a city in the Isfahan Province of Iran,
and rugs, traditionally, were made there
in the 17th and early 18th century, to this pattern,
and they were made in royal workshops. Very, very high quality.
Of course rugs from that period are extremely rare
and extremely valuable.
I use the term "rugs", as well,
because people seem to get a little confused -
often people say "carpets".
Carpets, in my mind, have to be something quite a lot bigger.
These are very definitely rugs.
The interesting thing about the business of making these rugs
is when the Afghans invaded Iran in 1722,
production of these rugs virtually ceased, and production didn't really
resume until around about the mid 19th century,
and there's a very interesting little idiosyncrasy
that ties these in with Manchester.
Would you have any idea what that might be?
I understand some of the carpets were made of Manchester wool.
Ah, well, that's good, because
actually you've pretty well hit the nail on the head!
Because, in fact, there was a shortage of good quality wool
in the late 19th century.
Between about 1890 and 1930
they couldn't get enough good quality wool
to manufacture these rugs in Iran,
so, effectively, what they did was,
they imported merino wool from Manchester,
which is quite incredible, isn't it?
So that's the connection.
But I think dating them is a LITTLE bit difficult.
They're 20th century.
When did he pick them up?
I reckon that my father probably left Iran,
Persia, about 1950, at the latest.
Right, OK, well, frankly I think
they date from pretty close to that period.
I can see that this one's got some new fringing on the bottom of it,
a replacement fringing,
but I think they date from around that period
or not long before that period,
so they're early 20th century, perhaps.
Price wise, a matching pair like this
are probably going to sell for about £2,000 at auction.
That is a surprise.
I mean, to me the value of the rugs is the sentimental value,
that my father worked there and brought them back here.
If there is a connection with Manchester,
well, that would be fantastic
thinking that the rugs have come home.
-Lars, how's it going?
-OK, thank you.
How many items do you think you've seen today, so far?
-Cos there've been SO many people here.
-Items? My goodness...
-Well, how many people then?
somewhere between 200 and 300 people on ceramics, just me, yeah.
Wow, wow. Anything stand out particularly?
Well, we've seen a HUGE variety of things
but the thing that, sort of, stands out is a recent report from outside,
that a gentleman, who has been seen in here,
with what he says was valued at £5,000,
has broken it outside.
Now, I don't recall seeing anything worth £5,000
so, it's a bit of a mystery.
Well, at least it broke outside, and not inside.
I'm hoping he's going to bring the bits in!
Here we are, standing in Alfred Waterhouse's, in my opinion,
his masterpiece, the great Town Hall.
And you might think it's a bit OTT
and then you look at your clock,
which is, again, a wonderful example of Victorian...decoration.
Is it something you have at home sitting in pride of place?
It is, yes. We, erm...
It's in the hall and people see it and remark on it when they,
when they visit and it's a conversation piece.
The clock isn't too accurate but we love it, you know, yeah.
You've exactly said the words = you "love it",
because some people might say this is something that is SO Victorian
and it's over-ornate.
I mean, just starting at this top and this sort of wonderful dome,
with the finials and the lion's head coming down to the spandrels -
and what are these strange ears at the side?
They are so over-the-top Victorian in many ways
and either you love it, or you hate it,
and, I have to say, I'm a bit of a 19th century fan, so I love it.
Now, as a clock, it was made in Germany.
-Probably around about 1900, somewhere about 1890.
So about 110 years old but as a long case clock, not terribly exciting,
not terribly valuable UNTIL you reveal what's in the front here.
And we open it up and what do we have? We have a disc musical box
and that makes it really desirable to a collector.
And what makes this interesting is that you can have endless discs.
How many have you got at home?
Six or seven, similar sort of things.
That's probably the favourite tune, I think, that we've got on for you.
Because so often with musical clocks, it has one tune, or maybe two,
and I should after ten years -
my goodness you'd be rather bored with those tunes!
-But you can change the discs and change the tune.
-Yes, of course, yes.
And the whole clock, musical movement, was made in Leipzig
by the company called Symphonion.
-There were two big companies,
Polyphon and Symphonion, great competitors.
But this is a Symphonion long case clock,
it was made for the home -
some were made for pubs, where you put a penny in the side,
but this is a home model.
And therefore, to a collector, a rare piece.
At auction today...
..we're probably thinking about a figure of between £7,000 and £9,000.
Really? As much as that? Gosh.
Well, for decades and decades the name Carlton Ware
has been synonymous with some fantastic ceramic creations,
from floral embossed wares, to teapots with legs.
But in the middle of it all, there is a period where they produced
some of the most opulent and extravagant wares,
like these in front of me.
So tell me, how come you are the lucky owner of two fabulous pieces?
Well, they've been in my family for as long as I can remember,
they originally were my grandma's and she's always had them.
I believe before that,
I think they were her dad's,
-possibly back to the 1920s, I think.
So give me a bit of a background of you and your family in the 1920s.
-Were you, shall I say, well-heeled?
-I can't say I was.
What about Grandma and Grandad?
I think yes, they were. My grandad started, with his father,
a building firm back in the 1920s and as far as I know did quite well.
They were quite wealthy.
So these would have been bought for Grandma then? Or Great Grandma?
-Great Grandma as far as I've been told by my dad.
-So both of them?
Both of them. There was a third piece.
There was another vase exactly like that one
and there was an accident a few years ago with it
-and I threw it away.
Well, everything you're saying
in terms of the time, the era, adds up perfectly
because this is Carlton Ware in the 1920s.
Specifically, this is Carlton Ware about 1929
under the artistic directorship of a chap called Enoch Boulton,
and he was a designer of some serious excellence.
I mean, he really was the boy.
He knew what he was doing and he was reacting to everything
that was coming out of Europe in 1925 at the big Paris Exhibition.
And in fact a lot of people today now say that this pattern,
these vases, these pieces actually epitomise
the British interpretation
-of the Art Deco Movement at this period.
These are seriously important design items of their time.
-So this period, there is good and there is great.
And is that the zigzag pattern? Am I right in...?
Well, the pattern is actually, for me, another name
that just perfectly epitomises the whole era.
This is known amongst all of us, and from the pattern books, as Jazz.
And what else is going on in the 1920s and '30s? It was the Jazz Age.
It was the music, the new creation, the new people.
These really daring, daring young people
who were doing everything different to their parents.
And how much more different could this be
from a load of Victorian chintz and florals?
-So with great, comes great interest.
With great interest, I have to tell you, comes great prices.
And you threw one of these away.
Well, if I tell you that you've thrown away
-somewhere in the region of £800 to £1,200.
Oh, gosh. Oh, dear.
And if we then move up to the bigger piece,
-and we actually call these the gondola.
If we actually go up to this,
you're looking somewhere more like £1,500 to £2,000 for it.
Wow. Oh, dear.
These epitomise everything
that was going on in that era at its absolute best.
The interpretation, the understanding, the idea
and, more importantly, the execution.
-They are an absolute joy, so continue to treasure them.
-I love them.
Yeah, fabulous. Thank you.
Last time the Antiques Roadshow team visited Manchester Town Hall
was back in 1989 - there were lots of great finds but it was also a
rather sobering day for a young man who met our art expert Philip Hook.
So this is just what we wanted to find in Manchester,
the familiar image of the industrial landscape
and the magic signature
at the bottom here, LS Lowry.
Can you tell me how you came by these two pictures?
Well, I've a classic car restoration company.
And about three years ago I was doing
a job for a chap in London on an E-type Jaguar and he was short of
the payment by about £250 and we was casually talking about antiques and
whatnot, old cars, and he asked me would I like to take this painting.
And I took the painting and that's how I acquired it.
Well, you brought these in earlier and I've had the chance
to consult with Sandra Martin from the Manchester City Art Gallery
and I'm afraid she tells us neither of these are actually by Lowry.
Which is not the best news, and apparently there are, even now,
fakers at work producing Lowrys - it's a big business when a Lowry...
I mean, had this been genuine it could have been £20,000 or £30,000.
Rupert Maas, you're on our art team today -
any fake Lowrys turned up so far?
Not as yet, but we're always on the QV for them.
The thing is that they were faked prodigiously
particularly by the Greenhalgh family, you know, local boys
from Bolton, Shaun Greenhalgh now doing time for faking Lowrys
and they're out there in their thousands, perhaps.
We don't really know but we do see a lot of fake Lowrys.
And people are increasingly turning to the internet
to buy paintings these days, aren't they?
Yes, well it seems easy but you're only looking at a photograph,
you can't see the actual thing
and it's a particularly dangerous thing to do.
What kind of things are being faked these days?
Well, Lowry has been faked - everyone knows now -
a lot of people do, that there are fake Lowrys out there,
so people - the fakers - they move on to pastures new
and I understand that Greek painting is being faked a bit now
and also progressive Indian painting.
They tend to target the areas which are in the sort of
£20,000 - £30,000 maximum range because that is the area
which is least researched and most remunerative.
Pays the most!
Thank you! Pays the most, but anything below that
is not worth doing and anything higher than that,
somebody's written a book about it and there's knowledge.
Knowledge is the faker's enemy.
Rupert, thanks very much.
You have been warned.
My goodness, it's dusty, so it must be old.
I don't know exactly, we've had it just over 20 years
but I don't know exactly how old it is.
And where did it come from?
My father bought it off somebody
and it's just been sitting in a warehouse ever since.
20 odd years ago, that would take us to around 1991?
-Which is exactly the date we've got on this lovely colourful sticker.
The year of the Ram, 1991.
But the thing that really interests me is this here.
Now, have you translated this?
I haven't, no, no.
You ought to have done, because that's going to help you date it.
In here, we've got a date.
Those two characters tell us that this was made
either in 1804 or in 1864.
-The Chinese cycle of years goes in 60-year chunks.
So we can say that this gong
almost certainly dates to either 1804 or 1864.
From the point of view of value, or importance,
it doesn't make any difference.
-We just say it's 19th century,
and as far as I'm concerned, that fits perfectly with the gong.
Now the stand could be anywhere in the 19th century,
it's a very, very traditional Chinese stand
-and it is indeed a stand for a gong such as this.
The only problem with it is,
you haven't got the little circular cushion
that usually sits just between the gong itself...
-Ah right, OK.
-..and the top of the stand.
And the reason to have a cushion on there
is when you actually strike the piece, it allows it to resonate.
So, I think this dates from the 19th century.
-Do you use it for anything?
-No, like I said,
it's just been sitting there for the past 20-odd years.
Not for bringing the children down for early morning breakfast?
No, no, not even that.
-You've been to China, I guess.
-Yes, I have, yes.
-And you've seen these in China?
-In temples, yes.
They're usually tucked away
-either in the corner of a room or right next to the door.
And they strike them and they usually bring people to prayer.
-Just as bells do all over the world.
-Now, without the cushion,
-I'm afraid we're not going to make a great noise, are we?
-Let's have a go, shall we?
THE GONG RESONATES
Huge resonance, it's still going.
Get a cushion and your children will have fun with this,
waking you up on a Sunday morning.
-It's a purely decorative object.
It has no collector's value.
-This is - the value of this lies in what it looks like.
To buy one of these,
I think you would spend...
-somewhere between £1,000 and maybe £2,000.
Yeah, interesting to know, yes.
When I saw this, this morning, the phrase that came to mind was
"hiding your light under a bushel".
Because out of this plain box, we have this rather magnificent plaque.
-And this is just the back side of it, isn't it?
Here it is here, and I don't need to tell you what it is.
You know what it is - what is it?
It's a Royal Lancastrian pottery plate.
It is indeed,
and this has been in your family or something you've bought?
It's from my great grandfather.
He was given it by a member of the Pilkington factory
who he was friendly with at the time.
Right, so was he in the pottery business as well?
No, he was a director of an engineering company in Swinton
and they became friends and this was given to him as a gift.
Well, what a gift it is. I mean, it's magnificent.
I think there's no...
I think highly appropriate, you know, in the Gothic surroundings
of Manchester Town Hall, we have here not a Gothic piece,
but an Arts and Crafts piece, which was a movement
which ran at the same time, and a little bit beyond
and, I mean, what a plate -
we've got St George and the dragon here,
dragons around the outside and you notice how this side is black,
this side is much more lustrous.
These lustre colours were fired at very high temperatures
to get the red and the lustre,
they almost had to burn the pattern off
and if they didn't control the kiln...
-These were coal-fired kilns - no switching a button on.
Coal-fired kiln, the whole of this design could be destroyed.
-It is, it's magnificent.
And look at the back, I mean the back is as beautiful as it is.
And I mean even the way that the colours have sort of run
and given this lovely sort of bloom to it.
Here we've got the mark, here, the P and the bees for Pilkington's,
the Royal Lancastrian Pottery.
And we've also got... Have you noticed here?
There's another mark there as well.
-Have you seen that before?
-I have, yes, I can't remember what it is.
Well that's the mark of Richard Joyce,
-who was one of the artists at the factory.
And whether it was a presentation piece
particularly for your great grandfather...
I'd like to think it was, because it is...
-It's not a run-of-the-mill piece, it's a special piece.
And, you know, as a consequence, it's worth a special price.
I think if this was to come to auction,
there would be no problem at it getting £10,000 to £12,000.
-So maybe it should go back in its box.
-And back to the bank for your great grandchildren.
We've had so many people here today.
Do you know, by lunchtime, we'd had 3,000 people come along
to Manchester Town Hall, all queuing, very patiently...
..and all with their own little boxes and bags and things.
Hello - pouncing on you - what have you got in there?
Beatles autographs? Oh, can I have a look?
Just a few.
And how did you come by these?
I used to work in the fan club in the '60s
and when I left school we used to just go up there,
just like for an hour, you know, just after school.
That is a great Scouse accent, I can tell you!
Yes, so we just ended up getting friendly
and we ended up working there
just like, you know, school holidays, we got a guinea a week.
What, and you - so you were working at the Beatles' fan club?
Yeah, just helping out, just cutting labels off the actual letters
and sending people photographs.
So show me these autographs, then.
Ringo Starr, George Harrison
and Paul McCartney.
-"This is from us Beatles."
-This is from us Beatles.
So who's written that then?
I think that looks like John Lennon's writing, that one.
Fantastic, and what else have you got in here?
Just a few - got a Christmas card
and actually similar type of things.
-And this is to you?
-So a Christmas card to you from the Beatles?
Hang on, hang on, let's have a look.
"To June, best wishes, Ringo Starr" with a little star.
"George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney".
Now, has anyone valued this for you yet?
No, no, I haven't had it valued yet. I'm just waiting.
Brilliant. Well, we might have to go and find someone to have a look.
When I was in Manchester back in the 1970s and an undergraduate,
certainly we didn't have anything like this
to get to university and back, it was the boring bus.
This is what's termed as an apprentice piece,
but I've seen lots of apprentice pieces but this is the real McCoy.
Yes, it is, we know that this is the actual model
that the apprentices at the factory and the works
where they actually made these trams,
the apprentices made this just to prove that they could do the job.
And then having proved that they could do it,
presumably they were then allowed to go on
and actually be part of building the full-size ones.
Yes, and we have the only remaining full-size one left
out of the 515 that they actually made.
You personally or...? No, you're the Chairman of the Tramway Museum.
Yes, the Tramway Museum have it, it took 25 years to restore it,
but it is in full operating condition,
we have occasionally run it in Heaton Park
and we take it to other places to actually operate it
but it costs a lot of money to hire suitable horses to run it.
-So we have one full-size.
-And one apprentice model and that's it.
And what makes this one so unusual?
I see it's got... On the front, it's called something patent.
It's an Eades patent -
instead of having two staircases and two driving points,
this only has one staircase and one driving point,
and when it got to the terminus,
the driver could lock the brakes onto the truck on it.
Unlock the body and then the tram would do this.
-The whole body was designed on a turntable,
so it could turn round
and set off back in the direction they'd just come from.
-So obviously horse-drawn.
-So one, or two horses.
Usually two horses side by side and when it came to a hilly area,
they'd keep extra horses at the bottom of the hill
and they'd put on a trace horse on the front to pull it up the hill.
That is amazing. I mean, what a lovely bit of engineering.
Rather than like a train, you had to build a turntable,
which would have been huge and very expensive.
Just a little cunning design like this got round the problem.
And they also didn't have to lay extra track to build turning circles
and it just saved an awful lot of money.
Now these, I understand, were introduced in, what, the 1870s?
It's mid 1870s and they ran through till the...
last ones operated early in 1903.
And that was because they were phased out
because no more horse-drawn?
Yes, the electric trams came in and they gradually replaced
the lighter-weight tracks that these ran on
with heavier-weight tracks for the electric trams
and all the overhead wiring that was required for the electric ones.
And I think you've brought along a picture showing Piccadilly.
Yes, this picture of Piccadilly shows lots and lots of trams in it,
and every single one of them is one of these trams.
And you see congestion, even back then.
Exactly, definitely, it was quite bad then.
-And the only one left?
You can't reproduce it, really historic,
such an ingenious way of turning it around.
I really love it and it's part of Manchester's history.
-Exactly, very much so.
-I would have thought...
well, if Manchester Corporation didn't buy it back,
any collector would pay £12,000 to £15,000 for it.
So a fantastic piece.
Well, we are delighted to own it and we're even more delighted
because we actually have the full-size version as well.
Don't ask me to value that!
This is really nice - I mean, I like wheel engraving,
it's one of the most delicate forms of glass decoration.
What you do is that the engraver holds the glass
against rotating copper discs,
which they put a kind of abrasive slimy stuff on,
and scratch the decoration onto the glass,
and I think that works well, don't you?
Well, it's come out beautifully,
I think the engraving is absolutely first class.
So it's Stourbridge, that's where it was made, the glass.
And it dates from about 1870-1880 so did you have it as a child?
No, my sister and I were clearing a friend's house out after she died,
and it was just lying in a box with some glasses
and it just caught my eye, I thought how beautiful it was.
So you said, "I'll have that".
I said, "Oh, can I have it?" and she said, "Yes".
-So how long ago's that?
-About 10 or 15 years ago.
So it's about 130 years old.
The downer on it is that this isn't silver.
-If it was silver, it would be worth pots of money,
but as it is, we're talking about Greek revival,
Stourbridge made, wheel-engraved claret jug.
Claret jug that's worth £500, which is not bad value, eh?
Very good, and how much would it be worth with the claret in it?
Oh, let's go and find out, shall we?
Right, we'll meet after the show.
Ah, here you are.
-Can I interrupt? I saw this lady earlier on.
Have you spoken about what this is worth yet?
Not quite, we were just about to do that.
Well, come on then, put me out of my misery,
and put you out of your misery, as well.
It's a wonderfully personal little collection,
very, very pertinent, I love it
and I think this is going to make between £3,000 to £5,000 at auction.
-Oh, that's wonderful.
-Is that a surprise?
-Very much so - didn't think...
Didn't think that much at all.
Thank you, John, Paul and Ringo.
It is, yeah, that's lovely.
It's years since I've seen any of these on a Roadshow.
They're really sweet little things. Where did you get them?
My mother left them to me.
And you know what they are, or...?
Very little, I think are they Royal Worcester?
Absolutely, they're Royal Worcester
and it'll say so on the bottoms.
Let's have a look.
This one here, yeah, we've got a Royal Worcester mark just there
and there's a date code and it will date them
to around about the end of the 19th century.
They'll be about 1898, somewhere around there,
but what's important about these ones is the decoration
and who they're painted by - have you had a look at this closely?
-Not really, no.
-Because if you look at either of them,
-you see there - the signature?
It says "Baldwin" - Charles Baldwin was the son of a piano tuner
but he went into painting
and he painted on Royal Worcester porcelain.
At the beginning of the 20th century he went into...
I think he gave up and went into watercolours,
he exhibited at the RA, but Royal Worcester collectors,
-when they see things by Baldwin, they get excited.
This particular shape of vase comes in two sizes
because I looked at them and I thought...
and then I remembered, it's only the large ones
-which should have covers.
These ones are almost exactly the same
but the large ones came with covers.
These small ones were made and sold without covers.
So, all is looking pretty sunny about them.
I don't suppose you know this one's cracked?
I thought there was a little hairline crack on one of them, yes.
Yeah, it looks little, but it runs all the way round the outside here.
-Round up there and up into the rim.
-Oh, what a shame.
So effectively you've got a couple of vases,
you've got one in really good order, one with a crack,
-almost invisible but it's still there.
And that makes a huge difference to the price.
But if you put them into auction they would make £3,500 or £4,000.
They're that sought after, even in that condition.
Fantastic, I'll make sure I get them insured now.
Earlier on, Fiona and Rupert were having a conversation about fakes,
and fake Lowrys, and here we have a wonderful Lowry
with a covering letter,
which gives really good provenance to the picture.
The picture really speaks for itself
because it is just typical Lowry
and beautifully painted.
So how come you have the painting and the letter?
Well, my father was an amateur artist in Manchester,
something of a junior contemporary of Lowry
and a very big fan of Lowry, and he collected several scrapbooks
of art gallery catalogues, newspaper cuttings,
anything he could lay his hands on, to do with Lowry
and he did use to meet up with Lowry occasionally
and at some point told Lowry about the scrapbooks.
Lowry was interested, wanted to borrow them,
ended up keeping them far too long, really,
and so when he returned them,
he was a bit embarrassed about how long he'd had them,
and he gave this little picture as a present.
It's explained in the covering letter.
And I've got a transcript of the letter here
and I think it's just absolutely fantastic.
"Dear Mr Kay, I have this day left your book in Bloom Street
"and offer you my sincerest apologies for the delay.
"I do hope you will forgive me.
"Do try and forgive me, please, yours sincerely, LS Lowry."
And then we have,
"PS - I have put inside the parcel a very tiny oil sketch
"which I hope you will like".
It's interesting that we have this letter,
because it's dated 1955 so we can actually put a date on the painting
and do you know - I have seen big Lowrys, I've seen a lot recently -
when I look at that, if I wanted a Lowry, that is what I would like.
Why? We've got here a street scene in Manchester,
Salford with the factory buildings,
we've got the smoke coming out of the chimney,
we've got these children -
and I do get annoyed when people start talking about
"matchstick men and matchstick dogs,"
because, in fact,
he was much more than that.
It was the way the flicks of paint - the legs, the boots
on the children walking up the street there - it's just fantastic.
And where are the albums, the scrapbooks?
The albums are now in the Lowry Centre
as part of the Lowry Collection.
They were donated after he died about ten years ago.
That is fantastic.
And did Lowry and your father have tea together or...?
-Well, they used to meet at parties.
And my father visited Lowry's house several times.
So they did know each other, although not well.
I think he must have really liked him,
to give something like that, it's so personal.
And, you know, it's a small picture.
What would something like that be worth today,
with this information as well?
Well, and I'm saying this conservatively,
I think that that would make
in the region of £30,000 to £50,000 at auction.
Quite amazing! Not that we've any intention of getting rid of it.
No, but I just think it's wonderful.
It's everything in a big picture, in a small picture,
and it ticks every box, absolutely beautiful.
What are the chances of that?
One minute I'm talking about fake Lowrys with Rupert Maas
and the next minute, the real deal comes along!
Mind you, Lowry was a local lad, so maybe we could have expected it.
Anyway, we've had a great day here at Manchester Town Hall.
I hope you've enjoyed it. Until next time, bye-bye.