A look at the stories behind antiques. Dr Lucy Worsley discovers how taking a holiday became something everyone aspires to do, while Mark Hill examines Wedgwood pottery.
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What do we really know about them?
Apart from being beautiful to look at, exquisitely made
and often hugely valuable.
It was the equivalent of the Rolex watch of its day, let's say.
'But why were they made in the first place?
'And who were they made for?'
This is totally brilliant. It's a folding bed in a suitcase.
Whether from a country house or a market stall,
they unlock a fascinating history of the way we lived then and now.
This is like taking your satnav on a journey today.
'I'm historian Doctor Lucy Worsley.
'And I'm going to uncover
'the stories behind some of these remarkable objects.'
'I'm antiques expert Mark Hill.
'And I'll be looking at why some items have become priceless,
'whilst others are the collectables of tomorrow.'
"Can I be a butler when I grow up, Mum?" We know exactly what he's seen.
We'll meet the people who preserve them.
Those who still make them.
Oh, my goodness!
And the passionate enthusiasts who collect them.
When's it going to end - when East Anglia is covered with your railway?
'We're going to put antiques in their historical and social context.
'In this programme, we're examining antiques from the world of travel.
'We'll discover who made them,
what they cost, how they changed our behaviour,
'and follow their journey through history into our homes.'
Quex House in Kent is a monument to travel.
It was home to a wealthy Victorian landowner
who explored Asia and Africa.
So it seems like the ideal place to start.
This house was owned by Major Powell-Cotton,
who was the most terrific Victorian explorer.
I've heard that it's stuffed with treasures from his travels.
Many former travel essentials are now just glorious relics of the past.
And nothing sums this up more than a globe.
Globes have been in existence since the ancient Greeks.
Here at Quex's house, we're looking at some mid-Victorian globes.
Why are you so obsessed with globes?
For me, they're a snapshot of history.
A snapshot of our social history and our exploration of the world.
So, at this particular point, Australia has been discovered.
There it is.
And we can tell that Captain Cook has done his stuff
because his route is marked.
Absolutely. There are two routes. Cook's voyages from 1768 to 1774
help us to date a globe.
I like to imagine your Victorian or your Georgian gentleman,
or particularly a merchant, sitting at home in his study,
caressing his globe and thinking, "My ships are over here
"and I've got good links with China."
It must've felt like being a master of the universe, to twizzle your own globe.
Absolutely. These were the playthings of very wealthy people.
Certainly during the Georgian period,
when globes really rose in popularity.
They're still the playthings of the wealthy.
Indeed, people still commission globes to be made.
If you wanted to buy antique globes, a set like this, quite a small size,
would probably set you back around £2,000-£3,000.
And they wouldn't be very useful
if you wanted to visit the South Pole because it's not marked.
We hadn't got there yet.
I'm heading over to the Isle of Wight
to meet a globe maker and collector.
Greaves & Thomas is one of only two places in the UK
that still handcrafts globes the traditional way.
Mark, do come in. Welcome to the Globe Works.
My goodness! Looking at all these globes hanging here,
I can almost imagine being in an 18th-century shop
selling scientific or navigational instruments. It's fantastic!
-Why globes? What kicked you off?
-I have a passion for globes.
And it's because it is man's image of the world he's on.
And because of that, there are such diverse, different
possibilities of what to make the globe of,
what the subject matter is and what the globe actually does.
These traditionally-made globes
take more than three weeks to produce.
The process starts with master globemaker David Gower
pouring plaster into a mould.
Once it has dried, David reinforces it with hessian sack
and then adds more plaster.
The globe is blown out using pressurised air
and then left to dry for two weeks.
The two semicircles are joined together.
The globe will then be hand-papered with segments of map, known as gores.
There's a special technique to pasting a gore onto the plaster ball,
which makes it appear three-dimensional.
But this process is a trade secret dating back over 500 years.
And here it is, the finished globe.
It's a reproduction of the earliest surviving known terrestrial globe,
and it was designed by Martin Behaim, a German,
around 1491 or 1492.
But what's really significant about it is the fact that
if you spin it around,...there's no America.
That was because it was produced before Columbus returned with his discovery.
Across the surface, you'll find all manner of inscriptions,
including ports and major cities.
But I think my favourite inscription is somewhere in Mongolia,
where it very clearly states,
"Here grows much rhubarb."
James specialises in making historical reproductions,
but he also has a collection of slightly more unusual globes.
So, what's the craziest version you've come across?
I think the most unusual globe I have is that cow,
which depicts a world map on it.
So you could call it a globe.
The landmasses are in black and the ocean is in white. You don't see it.
You think, "Why is this person showing me a cow?"
But it's actually a globe and it was made about 1921.
Now, this to me looks like a Phillips globe.
-They were a very prolific maker, weren't they?
-Yes, they were.
They were making globes from late Victorian times up until 1988.
The most wonderful thing for me about these Phillips globes
-is that they're much more affordable.
You can buy a Phillips globe on an Internet auction site
for as little as £50.
A good one will sell for a lot, lot more.
What's the oldest globe you have in your collection?
I've got here a pocket globe,
which was made about 1810, 1820.
Thank you very much.
What a gorgeous thing!
This is in a fish-skin covered case
and it has the map of the heavens, the celestial map, on the inside.
That's right. And hand coloured. Both aspects hand coloured here.
And then you have the globe here.
-These were popular items to have if you could afford it.
I think it was the equivalent of the Rolex watch of its day, let's say.
So something like this, very small, what would this be worth?
I would have said in auction, this would be worth £2000-£3000.
But you could pay a bit more if it was in fantastic condition.
-I notice that's a little bit damaged.
-A little bit scuffed.
To me, that is not detrimental to its appeal for me.
If you were to buy this from a good dealer in the West End,
it would probably be about £5,000 in very good condition.
That's incredible. And a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Until the middle of the 19th century,
travellers would have relied on a public stagecoach
or a private carriage for transport.
But private carriages were expensive.
Employing a coachman with a couple of horses
cost an annual £20,000 in today's money.
The coachman's uniform alone cost more than he earned in a year.
For the wealthy, there was an essential travel accessory,
a specially-made clock that could withstand bumpy carriage journeys
and still give accurate time.
This is called a carriage clock.
You often see these on people's mantelpieces.
Perhaps your dad got one as his retirement present.
But here, it's not in its natural environment.
You're supposed to take it with you on a journey.
It has its own little travelling case.
As the name suggests, you take it in your carriage.
Rich Georgian travellers depended on their carriage clocks
to be strong enough to survive the shock
of the 18th century's rugged roads.
The first carriage clocks were made in Paris in the 1790s.
Originally, they were status symbols.
A sure sign that their owner had the time and money to travel.
I'm going to test-drive the carriage clock
with the collector, Robert Wren.
It's like a big, enormous, expensive, fancy watch.
-That's its purpose.
If you've got a proper carriage clock,
it will have a handle on the top
-so you can lift it up and carry it around.
-And it will have a little travelling case.
And the key thing is that we can hold it like that,
-and like that, and it keeps going, right?
The advantage of the carriage clock for travelling
was they're reasonably small, they were portable,
but they were able to keep time on the move,
they didn't have to be stationary and very steady.
This clock was made in 1835 and it was made
by Howell & James of Regent Street, London.
And inside is going to have a mechanism.
-A balance with escapement,
which you can see running there.
That's enabling it to work while it's being bounced along and tilted.
That's your time keeper.
Before that, clocks had a pendulum in them
and obviously, if you juggle that about it gets...
It would stop and not keep time.
So, before the carriage clock, there wasn't such a thing
as Standard Time, was there?
No, you had local time, your sundial time.
and you would have had non-portable clocks at home.
It's really the Napoleonic wars, isn't it,
when people start needing
to know what the time is, because they've got to get to the battlefield on time.
Napoleon says all of his officers must have one of these.
-This is a super-luxury item, isn't it?
This is a very rare example and today,
the value of such a fine piece would be about £16,000.
Hold on tight! Hold on tight!
In the 18th century,
young aristocrats would travel across Europe
in carriages on journeys that would take up to two years at a time.
They were making what became known as the grand tour.
This is where the word tourist originates from.
The most popular destinations
were to the ancient ruins of Greece and Rome,
regarded then as the centres of civilisation.
The British in particular were fascinated by these ancient worlds.
A potter, Josiah Wedgwood, saw the opportunity and started to design
new products that looked like classical antiques.
Wedgwood studied illustrations and drawings
of objects which were being found in excavations at Pompeii
In 1769, he created four vases,
which were exact replicas of some of these finds.
Wedgwood called them First Day's Vases.
Today, they are priceless
and two of them sit in the Wedgwood Museum near Stoke-on-Trent.
So how much would that have cost in the 18th century?
That vase would have cost four guineas - four pounds and four shillings.
It doesn't sound very much in today's term,
but, in fact, that would be half the price
of an annual artisan's wage.
So, it was actually a huge amount of money.
You'd spend six months working just to own that vase,
should you want to?
Which is why it's remained very much the aristocracy
and that burgeoning class of industrialists,
who were the new money,
who were commissioning the great new houses.
And of course all this is driven by an absolute desire
to have the classical again? Things seen on the grand tour?
It's driven by what the public demanded,
what they wanted,
the most up-to-date fashion taste as you said.
But for Wedgwood to become the success he did,
he had to have more than just the aristocracy buying his work?
Absolutely. He made a wide range of tea bowls, teacups,
teawares... Even down to salt cellars for the tables.
Everybody could have something that was fashionable and up-to-date?
Yes. Everybody could aspire to acquiring a piece of blue-and-white Jasper.
Wedgwood's showrooms must have been fantastic.
I would have loved to have seen one.
He even had a bargain basement
where people could go
and rummage for that slightly damaged or slightly crooked vase,
so that they could actually have something
like their more aristocratic friends,
that probably was just slightly off!
The style that Wedgwood used is known as neo-classical,
which flourished in eighteenth-century Britain.
The word neo-classical is often used to describe
architecture, but neo-classicism
can also be applied to furniture, metalwork and ceramics.
Its approach to design drew its inspiration
from the classical art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome.
There are several ways to spot neo-classicism.
The design will refer back to the ancient world,
architectural details will include pillars or columns,
the decoration will be simple and symmetrical.
And any figures on it will be idealised.
Over 200 years later, the factory still handcrafts its pottery
and I'm going to discover how a classic piece is made.
This lump of clay will eventually become the Portland Vase.
It is made today in exactly the same way it was under Josiah.
The first step is what's called throwing the body.
The Portland Vase is a copy of a blue and white Roman glass vase,
made around the first century.
Josiah Wedgwood was obsessed with trying to recreate it, not in glass but in pottery.
It took him nearly four years to perfect
and was the crowning technical achievement of his life.
-The process now is... I'm going to start bringing the neck in.
It's probably the most complicated part of the vase.
'Chris trained for two years to master this technique.'
-Quite proud of that one!
-Absolutely. That's a good one.
-That's a good one.
'The pot is now the correct shape and size,
'but it needs to be smoothed down with a lathe.'
-So, Sue, your job is to create the decoration that's applied to the body.
-That's right, yes.
-I have to press the clay in...
-Make sure all the air's out.
And all the details put in.
-Because the moulds themselves are incredibly fine.
Considering what you produce with this bashing is so delicate,
I'm sort of surprised!
-So now you're removing the excess clay from the top.
When the clay's put through the mould, presumably,
it loses this buff pinky colour.
Yes. It will turn out white. It's only a vegetable dye.
It's just colouring in it so we can see the figures better.
-Ah, and that burns off in the kiln?
It's amazing to think you're using the same process that was used over two centuries ago.
-Yes. Exactly the same.
Now this is the bit I've always wondered. How do you get them out?
OK, here we go. Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!
-That's damp. It's just damp.
It's the suction between the tool and the water that fetches it out.
And because it's such a thin membrane of clay, it's very light
and it just starts to move.
Look at that! And it just lifts clean out.
The final stage is when decoration, known as sprigging, is attached.
Although everybody's role is equally important in the production process,
it strikes me that the pressure's on you.
You get this bit wrong... What happens if you do make a mistake?
I have about 15 minutes to take it off.
-And that's before it gets too dry.
-Before it starts to dry.
After that, it's not worth it.
-So what happens to the vase if it has a fault?
-It's no good. It's a reject.
-It would be smashed.
-After all that work?
I'd better keep quiet then and let you get on with the job.
'This vase is so exclusive that only perfect reproductions pass.
'There are no seconds sold of these.'
'Finally, the vase is fired in the kiln,
'one that was designed by Josiah himself.'
And here it is, the finished Portland Vase.
It's exactly the same as the first copies
that rolled off the production line in 1789.
I've come to London's Portobello Market
in search of some more modern pieces.
It's incredible to think that Wedgwood Jasperware
has somehow fallen out of fashion in Britain right now.
But that's brilliant because it means if you like the look, there's never been a better time to buy.
Look for the 20th century. This vase made during the 1950s,
so it's a 20th century piece, which is much more affordable.
You can get the look for a very low price.
Visiting the classical worlds of Greece and Rome
remained the privilege of the super rich until the early 1800s.
Then a revolutionary invention came along, the train.
Railways cut travel time by up to 90%.
Instead of crawling along in a carriage at 5mph,
people could now travel ten times as fast and it was much cheaper too.
I'm quite intrigued to learn more about how the grand tour turns into
mass tourism and 1825's a key year, the railway gets invented.
That's right. But this railway isn't all it seems.
It's one collector's dream -
a little railway, many carriages and a lot of memorabilia.
Extraordinary as it may seem, this isn't a real railway station.
It's more of a giant train set.
Every single object here, from the waiting room
to the locomotives to the coal, has been lovingly collected by one man.
Train enthusiast John Jolly has been building up his railwayana
collection over many years into his own private museum.
But it all started off as an empty field and a twinkle in his eye.
So when you bought your very first item,
did you have any idea where you were going to go with this?
None at all. I was only 16 at the time.
I had no imagination that it would develop into anything even approaching this.
When did you get your first proper big engine?
The first locomotive,
the first piece of rolling stock, came here in early 1987.
-Is that when you built these tracks?
We started to build seriously in the middle of 1987.
-We started to lay track.
And then, having got a locomotive and a bit of track,
we thought we'd need a wagon or two, as rolling stock.
And it's grown to something like 80-odd wagons
and various carriages and about 20 assorted locomotives.
I've got this vision of you personally putting down all the sleepers.
-Quite an estate!
It's a bit crazy, isn't it?
It's totally mad!
Well, it is.
But a lot of people do mad things, especially in the collecting world.
What's the joy of it for you?
That's a difficult question. There is a tremendous amount of joy.
It's a joy finding something that you probably never even knew
was going to be available.
Something that had a historic background
that you thought would never come your way.
Is it the thrill of the chase then?
-Is it the thrill of the hunt?
-When's it all going to stop then?
-You're going to grow and grow and grow?
-Not until I'm 6ft under.
It may carry on because I've got a son
and possibly a grandson who will be interested. So who knows!
I gather your wife was quite pleased
-when you got the collection out of the house.
-Indeed, she was.
She started it all off because when we had the opportunity
of buying the station building from the next village,
she suggested that.
The idea being was that we could have the station,
make it into a summer house and you can get your railway stuff out of the house.
I asked her if she was interested in trains
and she kind of went like this.
Well, I can't pretend that she's as interested in trains as I am.
But one of the reasons that she accepts it is it gives her
a chance to do things she enjoys,
meeting people and travelling. We've done a lot of that.
'Railwayana collecting doesn't have to be about greasy engines and miles of track.
'It is possible to collect on a much more accessible scale.'
This is all very Brief Encounter.
It is! None of these would have a brief encounter with collectors.
These are the things that form a backbone
and core of many railwayana collectors' collections.
People will think, railways, anoraks, nutters!
I'm not thinking that. You might be thinking that. I like them all!
They sum up the romance of the railways during the 1920s
and '30s and there's an immense amount of nostalgia
for anything that reflects that
and anything that might have been used during this period.
All of these things on the table
have been made for different railway companies,
like this very bossy cup here.
It says "Property of GWR, return to Paddington Station".
It doesn't even say please.
There were loads of these companies.
In 1846, there were 272 different railway companies started up.
Obviously, they didn't all survive. They got amalgamated or closed down.
That was the high point of railway mania.
A lot of this was actually stolen.
Little pieces could easily be slipped into a pocket,
as could a teaspoon or an eggcup.
More difficult to put that in.
But we're grateful that happened.
Otherwise, it wouldn't survive in such quantity.
-It's all stolen goods.
I prefer the word "Liberated" or "saved from destruction".
This silver teapot is from the Great Eastern Railway. That's marvellous!
Not just for first class either.
Standard-class passengers got to sip from silver.
And a fan, should the lady get hot.
The London and North Eastern Railway fan.
These are affordable things.
You don't need to spend tens of thousands on a locomotive plate.
You can start with around £20 or £30
to buy a rather nice little matchbox.
Or perhaps a plate. What railway enthusiast
wouldn't like to eat his dinner off a plate
that was on a railway in the 1920s or '30s?
Look out for rare items too.
This little eggcup, quite a scarce thing, for some reason.
That could fetch over £100.
What's nice about them is the idea people used to do things in style.
All of these things are quite luxurious, aren't they?
By 1900, railroads had revolutionised transportation and travel,
pulling whole continents together
and expanding the British Empire to every corner of the globe.
But it wasn't the only way Victorians travelled.
By 1833, the Atlantic could be crossed
in just over three weeks by steamship.
And travelling by steamer from England to New York
was regarded as the ultimate in luxury.
Nothing epitomised this more than the RMS Titanic, at the time,
the largest steamer in the world and believed to be invincible.
That is, until the fatal night of April 14th 1912,
when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people.
I've come to Wiltshire
to an auctioneers who specialise in Titanic memorabilia.
The market we see now started in 1998 with James Cameron's movie.
There was a groundswell of interest after this film.
We see ourselves with the market we have today.
What's the world record price someone's paid
for something related to it?
For a single item, just over £220,000.
And what did their £220,000 buy?
A quite unique piece, a 32ft plan from the British Titanic Inquiry.
Good Lord! That I can kind of understand.
It's a staggering price, but that's a great visual object.
Something that could easily be displayed,
but on the other hand,
something like this bunch of keys is more difficult to understand.
-How much do you expect these to fetch?
-Between £50,000 and £60,000.
-Do you feel confident they'll fetch that sum?
-They're from the Titanic.
That brings them into that select category.
we look at the little brass tag, they were owned by Samuel Hemming.
He was Titanic's lamptrimmer.
This was a man who lit the lamps on Titanic, but most importantly was given a direct order
from the captain as the Titanic was sinking
to make sure the lamps were ready on the lifeboats.
These are an integral part of the story.
As a consequence, they are very, very rare.
I find this rather fascinating. We have a first-class luncheon menu.
I'm presuming it's first class
because of the grandiosity of the food here.
Fillets of brill, chicken a la Maryland,
appealing to the American audience,
corned beef vegetables, dumplings, grilled mutton chops.
-It goes on. Opulence.
-Opulence in the extreme.
For lunch, you had over 40 different options.
It's nice to have the White Star flag.
Underlined, we have RMS Titanic, which really places it.
But what's significant for me is the date, April 14th 1912.
That's why this menu is so collectible, so valuable.
April 14th was when Titanic hit the iceberg.
You'd have had luncheon at 12 o'clock, midday,
and a little over 11 hours later, she hit an iceberg.
-This is, effectively, the last meal.
In the auction, what do you expect this to fetch?
Between £60,000 and £100,000.
My goodness gracious! My goodness gracious!
How did it survive? Water and paper don't normally go together.
They're not happy bedfellows.
This particular menu was owned by Washington Dodge.
He was a banker from America and it came off the Titanic,
came from the disaster, in his wife's handbag.
She presumably had a delicious lunch
-and decided to remember it by stealing the menu!
He was travelling with his young son as well, Washington Jr,
and 12 hours later, they were saved.
-So all three survived?
-That's quite unusual.
Not so much in first class.
The survival rate in first class was considerably higher
than those in second and third class.
As travel developed,
so did the types of luggage travellers took with them.
A need for more personal and lightweight baggage developed
with the increasing numbers travelling to far-flung lands.
Luggage became something of an art form.
-Look what I've brought you.
-What is this mystery box?
REW. It belongs to Mr REW.
I would never go on a journey without my wash bag
and if I were a well-to-do Victorian gentleman about town,
this would be my wash bag.
Oh! Look at the way the mirror works! Fancy and clever!
-Isn't that impressive?
-You could stand it in different positions
-or you could have it on the top like that.
When I was standing at my wash stand,
I can tweak my moustache, shave perhaps. It's fantastic.
Let's have a look at what's inside then.
We've got a little case full of tools.
Tools for shaving. Razor blades.
Each with nice bone handles. That's ivory.
That's a little button hook for doing up buttons.
A pair of scissors for trimming you whiskers.
-Look how everything fits in together.
-It's so dinky.
Here's his toothbrush. Look at that.
Now this is an age in which
the proper Victorian gentleman is very clean.
Unlike the Georgian gentleman who would be wearing, perhaps,
make-up, scented with perfume, a powdery old wig on his head.
The Victorian gentleman is supposed to have a daily bath
and not smell of anything apart from general cleanliness.
That takes a lot of time. This is all of his kit.
I really like it. How much would it cost me to get one?
A couple of hundred pounds. They can be very hard to sell.
Do you know what the least desirable part is?
-I'm guessing it's the brush.
-You're spot on.
Who wants to use somebody's old hairbrush?
-That contains the grease of dead people's hair.
-You put it so well!
And that is the reason why.
Even with beautiful handles, it can be difficult to sell such pieces,
which is why we often see them in car boot sales and jumble sales,
sat there as the sun goes down.
Do you think that Mr REW would have taken other matching items with him?
But of course! This would have been the smallest part of his luggage,
which would have consisted of trunks,
all manner of different items. Some of them can get incredibly complex.
You'd be surprised about what a lot of them contained.
On a quest to find out more about travelling in style,
I've left Quex House to visit an antique luggage shop in London.
One of the best known Victorian luggage brands was Louis Vuitton.
He stamped all of his trunks with the iconic LV monogram
to stop his competitors copying them.
Now this is very recognisable.
This pattern here, this says to me footballers' wives and handbags.
I think it does today, perhaps.
I think it is a classic piece of its time.
When does this company date from? People won't believe how old it is.
Louis Vuitton was founded in 1854
and without going out of production,
they've been producing items for that long.
The big innovation of this maker is he stops the old curved lids,
which were fine cos the water could trickle off,
but you couldn't stack them in railway carriages.
That is correct.
One of his key innovations was making the flat-top trunk.
Louis Vuitton became synonymous with making that style.
What's the date of this trunk? And what's inside it?
This dates from around 1935 and is, in fact,
if we open it up, you will see...
-..a wardrobe trunk.
-Do you know, I need one of these!
-Isn't it fabulous?
-It is wonderful.
-How does it work?
You could hang all you required along the rails here.
And then these straps would keep the clothes from flapping around
and getting creased.
And then, in the bottom, you could keep a few pairs of shoes.
Why was he so successful as a luggage designer?
He came from fairly humble beginnings.
-He started off as a packer.
-A trunk packer?
That's an actual profession? You can be employed as a trunk packer.
Yes, he actually packed other people's clothes to go travelling.
There was quite an art to fitting a whole wardrobe into a small space.
There was because you wanted the clothes to arrive
in pristine condition, not creased and not damaged.
He had a real insight into how to get everything in
and this helped him design state-of-the-art trunks.
That's exactly the way it worked.
-This is a big surprise. What's in here?
-Well, let's open it up...
..and have a look.
OK, it's not a croquet set.
It's a puzzle, is what it is.
It is, in fact, a bed trunk.
Vuitton also created this fold-out bed.
Intended for use in a tropical jungle,
it's lined with zinc to protect it from being eaten by insects.
Originally it was sold complete with a mosquito net
and its own mattress.
Look! He's branded it again.
Any opportunity to put an "LV" and he does!
-Look, the person lying in bed can read that!
He's very proud.
I think, understandably so. This is a very ingenious device.
The well-prepared, wealthy traveller
also required the Victorian equivalent of a laptop.
Well, this doesn't look very light or portable
but it's a travelling writing desk.
It all opens up and look what's inside.
There's places for the pens and the envelopes
and there's a little clock in here and there's a calendar
and goodness knows how many little filing cabinets.
And look at these - for pens and rubber bands.
What period is this from, is this from the early 20th century?
It is, it's about 1905. It's a fantastic piece.
-It even has beautiful little candlesticks...
..which clip up, very stylish.
There's something sort of Whitehall-y
and civil service-y about the thing -
a very particular way of doing things.
Letters in, letters out.
Here are receipts. Here are accounts.
But actually this one belonged to a lady who travelled to Ceylon
and wanted a piece of furniture to go with her.
She was part of the British Empire, wasn't she?
As it was then, yes, indeed.
I see this desk as a form of soft power, if you like.
This is the British saying, "This is the way we do things and we're
"not going to make any concession to the local climate or culture
"and we're going to go on pretending we're in Tunbridge Wells."
I think to some extent that was true.
We were very good at taking our home comforts with us when we travelled.
It's not travelling light, is it?
You'd need thousands to lug this along.
You did, you had either your own staff or perhaps porters,
but generally if you bought furniture like this,
you had people to carry it for you.
And is there a secret drawer?
There are secret drawers but in the base section.
-Let's have a look!
-Everyone wants to see secret drawers.
-So inside here...
-Oh! Look at that!
Several secret drawers.
This is what we like...this is the real McCoy.
Do you think that the lady has left her pearls behind in here?
Sadly not, not EVEN a sovereign.
This writing desk was bound for the subcontinent of India,
the most economically important part of the British Empire.
By the 19th century, India had also become
a popular British tourist destination,
with the grounds around the Taj Mahal
turning into a type of colonial pleasure resort.
Some tourists even chopped off chunks of the marble
to bring home as souvenirs.
Our Major Powell-Cotton of Quex,
he went off to India on a trip in 1890
and this is his souvenir from Agra.
It's a little stone model of the Taj Mahal.
It was a 17th century monument to a dead princess,
but by the 19th century it became a tourist attraction
where the traditional activity was to carve your name into it
-as nasty tourists used to.
-But this is carved from soap stone,
it's not carved from a piece of the Taj Mahal.
I've heard tourists often took home a souvenir by chipping a bit off.
Like people did with the Berlin Wall, I suppose.
It is quite nice the way it's translucent.
If you put a little light inside it'd probably glow like a lantern.
A little tea light, perhaps.
It's hard to imagine now,
but for 200 years Japan was closed to the outside world.
It was only towards the end of the 19th century
that the doors were opened to Western tourists,
unleashing an intense fascination with all things Japanese.
So what's the attraction of these little knick-knacks?
Well, just take a look at them,
they're INCREDIBLY intricately carved.
FULL of detail and there's a bit of humour in these.
They've lost the original purpose these funny little carvings.
Originally they were used to do up kimonos.
Absolutely. They're known as "Netske",
or NETSUKE when you write it out, and they were little toggles
that hung on a cord.
Can you these two holes here? That's where the cord would go through
because, of course, kimono have no pockets.
So if you wanted to carry around money or some herbs or medicines,
you had to carry them in pouches or boxes on a string
and this would stop them falling off.
But after people stopped wearing kimonos quite so much
they just became in their own right little souvenirs,
little portable artworks
that you could bring home as a memory of Japan.
You can see why Victorian travellers got excited about these
cos until the 1860s Japan had been this secret, closed country
for two centuries.
It had had military rulers that wouldn't let anyone in.
Then, in the 1860s, things begin to change.
There's an exhibition of Japanese stuff in London
and this gives Londoners, the British,
a chance to see this strange new world.
And you can see that these do look like the sort of figures that
you get in war games or Dungeons And Dragons or something like that,
or Lord Of The Rings.
-They're totally alien, aren't they?
-They are alien to OUR eyes
but a lot of them are connected to Japanese mythology
and in fact the one you're holding is a rat catcher and he's a demon.
You can see this rather fearsome look with his horns there
and his rather sharp, jagged teeth.
He's SO very well carved - look at the hairs on his legs.
That's just crazy.
And this little rat running over the top of him, clearly escaping.
This has to perhaps be my favourite.
This is Shoki who was a very well-known demon catcher.
And if you turn him around,
you can see this rather charming green face peeping out
from what looks like a sack
and that sack contains a demon.
But if you look a little closer,
look at the way the hair falls over his straps here.
It's just fantastic and this is carved out of a very hard
and tightly grained piece of fruit wood.
Where would you get one if you wanted to take one home?
They're not too difficult to find.
You can find them at antiques shops, fairs and auction across the country.
You don't have to spend a fortune to buy one.
You could buy an early 20th century piece for perhaps under £100.
But you could spend tens and tens of thousands of pounds.
Not only that, the Japanese market has not been
doing as well as it traditionally has been.
As a result, prices have fallen.
So keep your eyes out and buy the best you can afford.
The introduction of the railways had revolutionised travel.
It had also created a new breed of tourist -
the working-class pleasure-seeker.
But it all started out with very sober intentions indeed.
In 1841, 500 people got on a train to leave Leicester.
They were on Thomas Cook's first-ever package trip,
but it wasn't all that glamorous.
They were only travelling 11 miles to Loughborough
and their destination was a temperance meeting.
Thomas Cook charged each passenger five pence for the day's food,
ticket and trip.
He didn't realise it at the time
but he'd just founded the world's first package holiday company.
All that the teetotaller Thomas had really wanted to do
was keep his passengers out of the pub.
He had an idea to basically enable the masses to travel,
so how can we use these newfangled trains, essentially,
to promote temperance which to him
was encouraging people to get out of their normal routine,
to go and do things more exciting, something different with their life.
So spreading the word about the dangers of drink,
this is part of his motivation?
He's saying, "You should travel instead of sitting in the pub."
Absolutely. That was what drove him, really.
And what's the significance of this little book here?
Well, it's a handbook.
Essentially that is, 1845, his very first publication.
He devised a trip from Leicester to Liverpool which involved
three different railway companies - so very complicated.
It says, "The train will leave Leicester at five
-"in the morning of Monday August 4th."
Yes, lots of early starts.
Early starts. "Parties will have to be wide awake
"at an early hour or they will be disappointed."
You've to be there on time.
I suppose people going on the trips wouldn't necessarily know this.
-They weren't travelling by train, were they?
-No. It was to appeal
to a working-class population who never travelled.
And how any of these are floating around?
Well, as far as we know, this is the only surviving copy.
So if you find one of these at home, don't throw it away!
So this one's really important cos it's his first guidebook
that he publishes to Switzerland, his very first country,
and this is quite rare now.
It is. That's 1874, Thomas Cook's first guidebook.
The sort of people who were going with Thomas Cook at this point
tended to be what we would call the middle classes - school teachers,
clergyman, doctors, lawyers, lots of those as part of these groups.
This is really his manifesto. He says in the introduction here,
"Nowadays everybody may travel, everybody ought to travel -
"in fact everybody does travel."
Well, those sentiments really just echo what he's been saying
pretty much since 1841.
And he tells you exactly how to do it.
What to take, how to get through customs, passports...
Yep, there's details about customs, passports, money...
Postage of letters.
Here we've got - "How to prevent seasickness."
He says, "Don't be taking champagne or brandy, that will make you ill."
Yes, I think he would say that!
It's quite ironic, really, that his whole motivation is temperance
but today package holidays are synonymous with drinking too much!
No, I don't think you get many temperance supporters on holidays today.
Only 30 year after Thomas' trip from Leicester to Loughborough
holidays were beginning to be seen as a worker's right.
In 1871 the Bank Holidays Act made it the law
for all employees to have time off.
This developed into paid holidays by the 20th century
and where did everyone want to go?
The seaside, of course.
Seaside resorts were a British invention.
They started in the middle of the 18th century
and originated with the Georgian upper-class craze for sea bathing.
Blackpool was the biggest and brashest.
In a few years it developed from an empty beach
to the world's first working-class resort.
By the 1860s Blackpool was catering for up to 25,000 visitors,
all there to enjoy the town's unique offering of sensation,
variety and fun.
We're taking the opportunity to let our hair down in Blackpool,
but first a stop-off on the way in nearby Southport
and the Museum Of The Penny Slot Machine.
-Go, go, go, go!
This is a 1920s, 1930s machine called the Hand Grabber
and it was made by a man called Hawkins.
Mr Hawkins of Blackpool.
It's actually quite a scarce thing which makes it valuable.
These can fetch up to £8,000.
Now, I gather the USP is that he employed a surgeon
to help him get the hands very accurate with the tendons and all
and a surgeon's come in to fix that one!
Yes, absolutely, in need of a little repair there, I think.
It's a fantastic thing and also brings back that whole
Victorian idea of something being quite ghoulish, BUT it brings
it bang up-to-date with the 1920s and '30s with this robotic chromed effect.
-Yes, it looks very futuristic and fascist almost.
-Go on, grab the diamond watch then.
-Do you think it's real?
-Yeah, I do!
-You've got to time this.
Where's the watch? There it is.
-We're going for it.
-You touched it, you let it go! You let it go!
-You let it go at the last minute, you fool!
Penny slot machines were popular in every seaside resort.
They were cheap all-weather fun
and provided entertainment for the masses from the 1890s onwards.
-Now, this looks like fun.
-It's the Jolly Fireman Racer!
Who can get to the top of the burning building first?
I guess this is what people did
before they could race cars against each other.
It would have been terribly popular.
So you have to race these firemen up the ladder.
It's a seaside classic, isn't it?
Well, it is and it's that which makes it very popular with collectors
who'd pay up to £4,000 for the beast.
-Go on then, race you.
My fireman is clearly bigger and stronger than yours, up he goes!
No, no, no, you're cheating somehow.
Go, go, go, Freddy, go, go!
-I'm winning! I've won!
-Somehow you cheated.
One of the most popular machines of its day and still highly collectable
is an early motion picture device, now worth around £1,500.
Now, this brilliant machine is called a Mutoscope.
It's an American invention of the 1890s and the idea is that you see
a moving image as all these cards flick forward but most importantly
you get to see adult material - that's part of the attraction.
As it is the attraction of the whole seaside.
You take off your clothes, you lose your inhibitions, you have a good time.
Sometimes the machines were a disappointment
because the final card would be missing.
You'd never actually see the bathing beauty naked and that's because
it would've been stolen by the men who came and mended the machines.
# Every year when summer comes round
# Off to the sea I go... #
The seaside was all about doing things you wouldn't dare do at home.
And this is perfectly captured in the work of artist Donald McGill.
In 60 years McGill created a staggering 12,000 different
postcard designs and 350 million were sold.
But by the 1950s his work had fallen out of favour
and some of his postcards were banned for obscenity.
I'm going to meet one of the country's biggest collectors
of Donald McGill's work.
No trip to the seaside would be complete
without sending back a saucy seaside postcard to the relatives
and there's no name that sums those up better than Donald McGill.
-So what would a card like this cost?
A typical 1940s,'50s McGill card like these
you could pick up for anywhere between 50p and £2.
So these are really good items to collect?
They are and they're easy to store and they're very enjoyable.
And there are a lot of them.
Well, yes, I suppose once you start you can't stop,
I mean you should know about that!
If you look at this you've got a little scene of a lady and her son
peering into "What The Butler Saw" and they're both grinning away there.
"Can I be butler when I grow up, Mum?"
-You know exactly what he's seen.
A lot of these are slightly more risque...
"I should like a swim but I don't want to get my truncheon wet."
Obviously a policeman strolling along here,
but the innuendo is clear.
But on the back the Blackpool Post Card Censorship Board have stamped it, "Disapproved."
-By Mr Allen the chairman.
What's the most valuable card here?
Undoubtedly this one.
"Please, Lord, excuse me a minute while I kick Fido."
It is worth a huge amount more than those other cards
for a number of reasons.
The main reason being McGill himself has signed this card.
So that's what makes this worth...?
-Well, I got it for £50.
So compared to those it's a lot more.
-So without the signature this would be worth what? 10 or 20p?
What's interesting also about this card is that it was McGill's biggest seller.
It doesn't have any of that sort of McGill magic, that smutty humour.
No, you'd expect his biggest sellers
-to be the fat-ladies-on-the-beach genre.
But this sentimental card was the biggest seller.
He sold over three million copies of that card.
So what about the values for his earlier work,
for example this one which looks very, very early indeed.
It is, it comes from right in the beginning of his career,
1907 that was painted.
When he was still working part-time.
Working as an engineering draftsman.
Is that why it says Admiralty?
Yes, he's done it on the back of the office stationery.
A bit naughty of him, really, I suppose.
How much would that be worth?
McGill's artwork from that period comes up so rarely,
so I was very pleased to obtain that.
So as a scarce survivor what did you pay for this?
Yes, well, you'd expect a lot of money.
I expected to have to pay a lot.
I suppose I paid something like £150.
I have to ask you, what would you have gone to secure it?
Well, being a stupid collector,
I suppose I'd have gone towards £1,000.
Just goes to show how crazy collectors are.
Most impressed! You really are quite a keen collector.
Along with the growth in seaside holidays
came a boom in souvenir trade,
particularly for mementos bearing the name of the place visited.
The most popular was Goss china, known as the poor man's porcelain.
Until the 1920s, Goss produced souvenirs
for every town in Britain with a coat of arms.
So, a Victorian worker off on the razzle-dazzle in Blackpool
could spend fourpence and get one of these.
That was quite within their reach.
And there is a statistic that, at one time, over 90%
of British households had a bit of souvenir Goss china in them.
Now, here we've got the town crest of Blackpool,
and it says on it "Progress", which is their very forward-thinking
slogan that they have.
And if you were going on holiday,
you could visit various different towns
and you could show you'd been there.
That was a little bit of adventure.
We're not quite talking about the 18th-century aristocrat
on their grand tour, but it was a grand tour of your own.
This was the British equivalent.
Today, people might think, "That's a piece of junk, I'll chuck that out."
But actually, there's something quite nice about it.
This is the souvenir of somebody's happy holidays.
-If you turn them over you should find a mark on the bottom, of this bird with WH Goss.
Goss were one of the first and the best, perhaps.
They were certainly the biggest company producing crestedware
in the late 19th century.
Today they have fallen generally out of fashion,
but in their day they would have been incredibly affordable.
And they're affordable today as well.
Although there are rare shapes that cost hundreds,
you can pick a good piece up for a couple of pounds.
-And it won't rot your teeth like a stick of rock, either.
'Our time in Blackpool is soon coming to an end,
'but there's just one more thing to do before we go.'
-Time for holiday snaps.
What else would we bore the relatives with, I wonder?
And look what I've got here.
So, this is a replacement for a whole carriageload of equipment.
-This is what photographers had to take with them.
I mean, you would have had the tripod, the camera, all the equipment.
-All the chemicals.
-All the lenses, the chemicals, and something to cover yourself up
-while you were taking it.
-Then, in 1888 - is that right? - along comes the box camera.
That's right - the Kodak No.1
-And this is the Kodak Brownie, which superseded it and was even cheaper.
-It is beautiful.
-Look at the way it matches my coat, look at the colours of this.
I chose it just because of you, of course, thinking of exactly that!
But this is the very posh one.
The Box Brownie itself was incredibly inexpensive
and cost as little as 25p. But this would have cost an awful lot more.
So the slogan was "a holiday without a Kodak is a holiday wasted".
Absolutely. "You press the button we'll do the rest."
-0K, ready for a pose?
-Here we go. Strike your best...
Fantastic. Three, two, one, say "cheese".
We've come a long way on our journey.
From classical pottery...
to travelling trunks...
to an early box camera,
the history of travel reveals what we humans value most
when we venture outside our everyday lives.
This may be a priceless relic,
a mass-produced souvenir,
or even just a photo, but one thing will remain the same -
the need to mark our experiences with a memento of the trip.
Next time on Antiques Uncovered,
I'll be seeing how you make a diamond sparkle.
That's absolutely huge.
While I trace the history of royal memorabilia.
This will mean a lot to people who were alive in 1936.
And reveal the pinnacle of Victorian achievement...
It must have been the greatest show on Earth, really.
..as we look at ceremonial objects.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Dr Lucy Worsley discovers how taking a holiday became something everyone aspires to do, and she also meets a man with a life-size train set.
Antiques expert Mark Hill learns how intricate figures are put onto a piece of Wedgwood, and he gets a sneak preview of the Titanic auction.