Bletchley Park 53 Flog It!


Bletchley Park 53

Paul Martin presents from Bletchley Park. Experts Philip Serrel and Catherine Southon find intricately carved walnuts and a fabulous silver eperne.


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Transcript


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This is Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.

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During the Second World War, it had the mysterious codename of Station X.

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Later on in the programme, we'll be finding out how the secret work

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carried out here saved millions of lives, so don't go away.

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Welcome to "Flog It!".

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Bletchley Park sits tucked discretely in the suburbs of Milton Keynes.

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During the Second World War,

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this country estate was bought by the Government

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and given a very unique role.

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The mansion and the grounds were filled with thousands of people

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working day and night,

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working to decipher the secret coded messages of the enemy.

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Today it's a museum dedicated to telling the story of the incredible

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work that went on here and helped win the war.

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Wow, look at the size of this queue!

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And the rain hasn't dampened anybody's spirits.

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It's a fantastic turnout,

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and one secret our experts will be able to unlock is

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what's in all of these bags and boxes.

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And then they can answer that all-important question, which is...

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-ALL:

-What's it worth?

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And if you're happy with the valuation, what are you going to do?

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Flog it!

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And helping to put a value on those items,

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we've got two of our finest experts on hand.

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There's Philip Serrell,

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who can identify antiques from the smallest of clues.

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I would think this is probably from Paris.

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And it's probably French, I would have thought.

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The ability to read in this business is absolutely wonderful.

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-Ker-ching.

-Thank you.

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And Catherine Southon seems to have spotted an unwelcome visitor.

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I thought that was a spider in there.

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-No, no... No.

-That frightened the life out of me.

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That almost got broken.

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What a professional, putting our antiques above her own safety.

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Well, I tell you what, I can't wait to get started.

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Are you ready to get inside and get seated? Yes!

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If the rain clears,

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we'll be back outside to enjoy the grounds of Bletchley Park.

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Until then, we'll keep everybody dry inside.

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And while everyone's getting seated,

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here's a quick look at what we've got coming up later on in the show.

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Catherine is over the moon with her find.

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To me, this is one of the most

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beautiful things I have seen on "Flog It!" in a very long time.

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Philip is a little less impressed with his lot.

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Dear, dear, dear. I can't stand roll-top desks.

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Oh, right. That's good, then.

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And I discover the best-kept secret of the Second World War.

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So, you didn't know what you were letting yourself in for?

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No. No idea at all.

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Well, this area of the house we've dedicated as a research area.

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This is where the hard work is done.

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We're doing all we can to find out about the item before it hits the

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filming table. So we are now ready for our first item,

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so let's catch up with Philip Serrell.

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-Rosemary, how are you doing?

-Very well, thank you, Phil.

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I think these are fantastic. Where have these come from?

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My husband used to buy things and put them away,

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and we could sell them when we got older.

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And why did you decide to bring these today?

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I just thought they were something different, a talking point,

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and I'd like to know how old they are and...

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Because I don't know, apart from being maybe Oriental.

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-Why do you think they're Oriental?

-The little figures on there

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-have Oriental faces.

-OK. Because the thing is,

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from a distance they just look like old shrivelled-up

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-walnuts, don't they?

-I know, yes.

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And you're absolutely right, they're Oriental.

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I think they're Chinese. Now, these things go back in time,

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but I think these are probably somewhere between about 1880 and 1900.

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And they were a sign of wealth, they were a sign of good luck,

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good fortune. They're kernel carvings, effectively,

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kernel being the nut.

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And you have walnut shells, beech kernels...

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All sorts of different nuts were carved.

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And they were meant as a good-luck token.

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So, if I might have given you this, this would have been a good-luck

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token for you. The other thing is that...

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-Tactile.

-..when you held them like that, they were almost designed,

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because the natural thing to do is to do this with them.

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And you can feel that, and it's just really a lovely feeling.

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And if you look at them very, very... I'll take the glasses off.

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If you look at them really, really closely,

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you can see that there's all sorts of little Chinese faces carved all

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over them, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them.

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These things can be quite rare and quite early.

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I'm no expert on these things, but I take the view, I think they're 1880,

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1900, around that date.

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I don't think they're worth a huge sum of money.

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Probably somewhere between...

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..£50 and £80?

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If you have a result, they might go and fly away and greatly exceed that.

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But I think £50 to £80 is a sensible estimate,

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and I think probably reserve them at around £40 and see where we go.

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But I love them. I'd like to own them!

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-Would you?

-Yeah. But I can't.

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I'm sorry, Philip! Those walnuts have to be sold at auction.

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In another part of the mansion,

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Catherine's got help from one of the crew to show off her first find.

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Doesn't she look absolutely stunning, standing here?

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Everything about this dress - and our model, of course - is elegant.

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Where did you get this beautiful 1950s dress from?

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This dress belonged to my mother, who lived in Kenya, Nairobi.

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And she was a single lady in the '50s and went to plenty of balls.

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It looks in remarkably good condition.

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Is it something that you've preserved over the years,

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have you kept it in a suitcase or wrapped in tissue or something?

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Well, we've all admired it and loved it.

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It unfortunately hasn't fitted any of the girls in the family,

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because my mum was so tiny.

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So it's been on a hanger in a dust cover all these years,

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but no special care has been taken of it.

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But that's the thing - I mean, going back to the time in the 1940s,

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1950s, the ladies were so much more petite.

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Tiny little waists.

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But what's lovely about this is it really does tell us about the 1950s.

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If you think of Grace Kelly,

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everyone's going back to this sort of nipped waist.

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So you've got this lovely tight waist here.

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But what I love here is the colour. It's a wonderful...

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..I suppose almost aqua colour. Lovely aqua silk.

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And this silver thread.

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And they've complemented it with this beautiful lining at the back,

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a smoky pink,

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which I think complements the blue in the front so it just sort of

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pops out every now and then. Complements the dress beautifully.

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It really does.

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And also the shoulders there, these straps...

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I love the way you've got these sort of falls here

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and the bow at the front and also a similar bow there at the back.

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I think, really, the whole dress is a timeless classic

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and something that you could easily wear today.

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-How does it feel? Does it feel good?

-Feels good.

-Feels comfortable?

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-Feels very glamorous.

-It is very glamorous.

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And I think to have this matching stole, as well,

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with the wonderful pattern on the base of it, is really perfect.

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-Yeah.

-I think we should put an estimate on

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of £100 to £150

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with a £100 reserve, to protect it. How does that sound to you?

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-That sounds good.

-Are you happy with that?

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-Yes.

-So, I hope that we have lots of lovely slim ladies who come to

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the auction and they all want to go off to a wonderful ball.

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It looks stunning. Thank you very much.

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-Thank you.

-And thank you to our model.

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

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Walking around the Bletchley Park estate,

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it's hard to imagine what a hive of activity this place must have been

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during the war. Thousands of people were involved in the work here,

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some on this site and others dotted up and down the country.

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As well as the code breaking being done here,

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another group of men and women had the dangerous job of delivering

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these messages by hand on motorcycles.

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They were called dispatch riders,

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and it was their task to deliver and collect secret messages,

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exchanged between Bletchley and other listening stations dotted

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around the coastline and in the heart of London,

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and they rode bikes like this one,

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an extremely rare 1943 500cc Norton, which has been lovingly restored,

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and it's now on permanent display here at Bletchley.

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Every day, the garages just behind the mansion saw over 400 riders

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entering and leaving Bletchley Park,

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carrying important messages and information vital to the war effort.

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Although some were champion motorcycle racers, others were novices,

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men and women enlisted from all walks of life.

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There were no road lights or signs during the war,

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headlights were forbidden

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and time was of the utmost importance,

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so this was an extremely dangerous and skilful job.

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They operated day and night,

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each rider covering a distance of 150 to 200 miles a day

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in all weather conditions, even into the heart of London,

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regardless of any air raids.

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Motorcycles were considered a much safer way of sending a communication,

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as they couldn't be intercepted like a radio communication.

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And as well as carrying everything they needed to operate a motorcycle,

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the dispatch riders were also issued with a pistol and strict

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instructions to stop for no-one.

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One can only imagine what it must have been like seeing them tear up

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and down the roads of London at top speed

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in the dark of night, in all weathers. Brave men and women.

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Thankfully, our team at Bletchley today have the far less hazardous

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work of finding antiques to auction.

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And it looks like Philip's found himself a desk job.

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-How are you both?

-We're well, thank you.

-Fine, thank you, Mr Serrell.

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"Mr Serrell"! You don't work for the Inland Revenue, do you?

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-How long have you had this?

-A couple or three years.

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A couple or three years? I hoped it had been in your family

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-man and boy.

-No.

-Unfortunately not.

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We bought it at a little local auction.

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And what did you pay for it at the little local auction?

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It was about £30.

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-And what was your price limit to go to?

-I think that was about it.

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-Not overly generous, are you?

-No!

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Careful, you two, aren't you? Dear, dear, dear. It sort of brings

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a bit of a chord with me, and I'll tell you for why -

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I can't stand roll-top desks.

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-Oh, right. That's good, then!

-And there's a reason for that.

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My dad used to have a roll-top desk at home

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and he used to say to me, "One day, Son, that will be yours."

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It was mine, it was my grandfather's,

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it was my great-grandfather's and now I've got a roll-top desk

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that I don't want. No.

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But this is lovely, because you look at little bits of furniture like this

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and people say it's an apprentice piece.

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Now, I've got to tell you, if you were an apprentice and you'd made

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this, you'd get the sack, wouldn't you?

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Because in a way it's quite primitive, it's almost like it's folk art.

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I don't think it's good enough to be a traveller's sample.

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I think this is a labour of love, but I just absolutely love it.

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-Do you have a roll-top desk?

-No.

-Really?

-Nor any other desk.

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I've got one I could sell you!

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It's about time we shared the inside with everyone.

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-Yeah.

-Shall we just have a look? Isn't that just absolutely lovely?

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And the thing is, this just pulls out there like a little writing slide.

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Isn't that just the business?

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-It's fantastic.

-I love his pipe in there.

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Well, I love the pipe, the little calendar, the pens, the paper tray.

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They've even got the little...

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Hold on, incoming. I think this is a telephone bid.

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No, wrong number.

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I just think that's really, really sweet. In terms of value...

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..I think we put a 40 to 60 estimate on it...

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-Oh!

-..a fixed reserve of £35 and keep everything crossed.

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Well, I think that's good enough. We'd better go and sell it.

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-Oh, lovely.

-Thank you.

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There you are, we have been working flat out all morning and our experts

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have now found their first items to take off to the saleroom.

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This is where it gets exciting. Anything can happen. And I think

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there's one or two surprises there.

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What do you think? Let's put it to the test.

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Here's a quick reminder of everything that's going under the hammer.

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Will the exquisite detail of Rosemary's Chinese carved walnuts

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appeal to the collectors?

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Sharon's evening dress is sheer glamour,

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but can it find the right-size buyer?

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Or will it be Denise and Ian's miniature desk

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that gets the bidders calling in?

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To find out exactly what they're all worth,

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we're heading south to the pretty town of Watlington in Oxfordshire.

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Here at Jones and Jacobs we've got a duo on the rostrum today.

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Auctioneers Simon Jones and Francis Ogley are in charge of the proceedings

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and they're fast approaching our lots.

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And don't forget, there's always a commission to pay at auctions, and

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today the rate here for selling is 18% plus VAT.

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And first up from our lots is the miniature writing desk.

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Are you ready for this, Ian and Denise?

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-We are.

-Yeah, so am I and so's Philip.

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And I tell you what, your roll-top desk is going to fly out the room,

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because it's miniature. If it was the real thing it just might struggle,

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because furniture is on its knees at the moment,

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especially for roll-top desks like that one.

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But what a lovely little thing!

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Did you have this on the dressing table?

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We had it in the living room.

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-Yeah.

-And I'm just worried about damaging it.

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-And what did you put inside it? Anything?

-No, it's fitted.

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-It's fitted. But you didn't stick anything in?

-No.

-No, we didn't.

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I wondered if there was a sovereign in there or something.

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-No, I took that out.

-You took that out.

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Because that's the kind of little thing you hide a treasure in.

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You know, hide it from the kids, isn't it, really?

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-Yeah, yeah.

-Right, good luck. It's going under the hammer right now.

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182, the roll-top desk.

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£40. 55.

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55. Oh, punchy. Straight in.

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£55.

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All done at £55?

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Commission bid £55.

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All done? 60 anywhere?

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At £55 I'm selling.

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Well, it found its level straight away.

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-They don't mess around.

-No, they don't mess around.

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-Great, wasn't it?

-Yeah. Well estimated, Philip.

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Yeah, spot-on. Happy with that, aren't you?

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Over the moon. Over the moon.

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That's the kind of result we love - items sold and owners happy.

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Can the evening dress do the same?

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Right, our next lot. If you want to look like a movie star,

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you need a dress like Sharon's selling, and I think that's some dress.

0:14:450:14:49

It's a lovely 1950s dress. Your mum wore this a lot?

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She did, she did. To some balls and parties in Nairobi.

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It's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful.

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-And that took your eye, didn't it?

-The colour is stunning.

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Yeah. And the silver thread as well going right the way through,

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-and it's got a matching stole as well.

-It looks the business.

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-It's classy, isn't it? And elegant.

-It looks frighteningly expensive.

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In its day, it would have been, wouldn't it?

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-I'm sure it was.

-Well, good luck, both of you.

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Let's put it under the hammer and find out what the bidders think.

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It's selling under there. There we go.

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Right, lot 220, we've got the 1950s satin evening gown.

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100 for that. £100.

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80 to start me.

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At £80. 80. 85 anywhere?

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At £80.

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-Come on.

-All done?

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Finished at 80. I need a little more.

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At £80.

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Done at 80. All done at 80.

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Didn't get a bid.

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-Didn't get a bid.

-It's fine.

-Oh, I'm so sorry.

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-I'm happy...

-No other textiles here.

-You're actually happy.

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-I'm thrilled.

-You gave it an airing.

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So it goes back inside the wardrobe.

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It does. We'll keep it for another day.

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It's a shame that dress didn't sell, but hopefully finding a buyer for

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our final item won't be a tough nut to crack.

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Going under the hammer right now we have two carved Victorian walnuts of

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Chinese origin belonging to Rosemary.

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Who will "shell out" £50 to £80 for these?

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-Oh, very good!

-Did you like that, Phil?

-She's not nuts, is she?

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-Lovely things, though.

-Unusual.

-Yeah.

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-Very unusual.

-You've got to have great eyesight to notice all the

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-detail on there.

-Yes, absolutely.

-Because there's a lot there.

0:16:200:16:22

-Hundreds. Not thousands...

-Hundreds of little carvings and squiggles.

0:16:220:16:26

They are... And the thing with them is,

0:16:260:16:28

if you look at the work that is involved with those,

0:16:280:16:30

-whatever they make it'll be cheap.

-Of course it will.

-Really.

0:16:300:16:33

-You can't put a price on that sort of craftsmanship.

-No. Absolutely.

0:16:330:16:36

No, they're lovely. They're really lovely.

0:16:360:16:38

So fingers crossed we get that top end.

0:16:380:16:40

So, let's hand the proceedings over to our auctioneer.

0:16:400:16:43

The Chinese carved thousand-faces walnuts there.

0:16:430:16:47

£50 to £60 for them.

0:16:470:16:51

45 I'm bid.

0:16:510:16:52

80 I've got. 85. 90 online.

0:16:520:16:55

-The lady down the front is bidding.

-90. 95.

-The lady right at the front.

0:16:550:16:59

95, then. In the room at 95. 100 online if you want it.

0:16:590:17:02

110 I'm bid. 120. 120.

0:17:020:17:05

130 online. 130, 140, 150.

0:17:050:17:08

160. 160, 170 online.

0:17:110:17:14

170, 180, 190.

0:17:140:17:18

190, 200, 210.

0:17:180:17:20

They love their nuts!

0:17:200:17:22

220. 210, then. It's online at 220.

0:17:220:17:25

It's against you all in the room at £210.

0:17:250:17:28

£210!

0:17:280:17:29

210. All finished at 210?

0:17:290:17:32

-Online.

-Yes!

0:17:320:17:34

You could say they were going nuts over that.

0:17:340:17:37

In seriousness, I think they made that because of their age and because

0:17:370:17:40

they've got some patina and you can see that they weren't done yesterday.

0:17:400:17:44

-Yes.

-So I'm really pleased with that.

-Wonderful.

0:17:440:17:46

Thank you for bringing them in.

0:17:460:17:47

Small and precious but worth a lot of money.

0:17:470:17:49

A great little find. Well done, both of you.

0:17:490:17:52

Well, that's our first three items done and dusted under the hammer.

0:17:550:17:59

So far, so good, and we are coming back here later on in the show for

0:17:590:18:02

more auction excitement.

0:18:020:18:04

But right now we're returning to our valuation day at Bletchley Park,

0:18:040:18:07

where our experts will look for some more treasures to sell,

0:18:070:18:10

and I took the opportunity to explore some of the secrets of its history.

0:18:100:18:14

Pretty but somewhat quirky, Bletchley Park Mansion

0:18:220:18:26

in Buckinghamshire started out life in 1883

0:18:260:18:29

as a country retreat for a London stockbroker.

0:18:290:18:32

But in 1938 it was bought by the British secret services to house one

0:18:320:18:36

of their latest secret departments,

0:18:360:18:38

the Government Code and Cypher School.

0:18:380:18:41

Now, this was a team dedicated to listening to and unlocking

0:18:410:18:45

the secret messages of the enemy.

0:18:450:18:47

World War II was a new kind of war.

0:18:490:18:51

The Germans introduced a new kind of warfare, Blitzkrieg.

0:18:510:18:55

Lightning attacks by planes and tanks meant armies

0:18:550:18:58

advanced incredibly quickly.

0:18:580:19:01

This needed speedy communication, and wireless radio was the answer.

0:19:010:19:06

The skies were absolutely filled with radio signals.

0:19:060:19:09

But this solution also had big problems.

0:19:120:19:15

Anybody could tune in and listen to what was being transmitted,

0:19:150:19:18

so each side sent their messages as a series of complicated secret codes

0:19:180:19:23

to stop the enemy from eavesdropping.

0:19:230:19:25

All well and good,

0:19:250:19:27

but if you broke into the encoding system it could help you deliver

0:19:270:19:31

victory, and that was what Bletchley was built to do.

0:19:310:19:34

All the latest snooping technology was installed, and in 1939 Bletchley

0:19:360:19:40

Park became a small but secret army engaged in a shadowy struggle for

0:19:400:19:45

military intelligence.

0:19:450:19:46

Codenamed Station X, it didn't even appear on any map.

0:19:460:19:52

The mansion house was literally filled with the brightest brains in

0:19:520:19:55

the country. 110 people crammed into all of these rooms and it soon

0:19:550:20:00

became apparent more were needed, a lot more,

0:20:000:20:03

because the airwaves were filled with thousands of the enemy's secret

0:20:030:20:07

communications which had to be listened to,

0:20:070:20:10

deciphered and processed for use by our forces.

0:20:100:20:14

Wooden huts and then more substantial brick buildings were

0:20:150:20:18

quickly built, squeezing in all the new staff and equipment.

0:20:180:20:22

At its peak, around 9,000 people were working at Bletchley Park

0:20:220:20:26

24 hours a day, seven days a week in constantly rotating shifts...

0:20:260:20:31

..from professors of linguistics to genius mathematicians,

0:20:330:20:36

from telecom engineers to dispatch riders.

0:20:360:20:39

Today we've got the opportunity to talk to two women who were stationed

0:20:400:20:44

at Bletchley during the war.

0:20:440:20:46

Joanna Chorley and Joan Joslin were both part of the secret army

0:20:460:20:50

fighting a very secret battle.

0:20:500:20:52

It's also a chance for Joanna to revisit Bletchley Park.

0:20:520:20:56

So, how did you end up here at Bletchley?

0:20:570:21:00

Well, I joined the Wrens and I volunteered for anything...

0:21:000:21:05

..to do anything, because I hadn't got any good skills,

0:21:050:21:08

so I was just in the pool.

0:21:080:21:10

And I was one of the ones who were sent here.

0:21:100:21:12

So, you didn't know what you were letting yourself in for?

0:21:120:21:15

No idea at all.

0:21:150:21:16

I happened to be in the civil service and then one day I got

0:21:180:21:22

a letter to say I was to report immediately to Euston station,

0:21:220:21:27

catch the first train down to Bletchley.

0:21:270:21:31

"You can tell no-one where you're going, only your mother."

0:21:310:21:35

-And so I did.

-The teams at Bletchley were involved in all kinds of work,

0:21:350:21:40

searching for new ways to unravel the secret messages of the Germans.

0:21:400:21:44

This led to some amazing breakthroughs,

0:21:440:21:46

including the invention of Colossus,

0:21:460:21:49

the world's first electronic computer,

0:21:490:21:52

and Joanna was part of the team running it.

0:21:520:21:55

How did you end up working on Colossus?

0:21:550:21:58

I fell in love with it because it was such a magnificent bit of machinery,

0:21:580:22:02

and I loved machinery, and I ended up, actually, by asking if I could.

0:22:020:22:07

And rather grudgingly, I was allowed to be here!

0:22:070:22:11

My main job was to put the tapes on the wheels

0:22:130:22:17

and get them the right way round and all that sort of thing.

0:22:170:22:19

The other thing was to keep the eye,

0:22:190:22:22

the little thing which read the dots on the tape, clean and clear.

0:22:220:22:26

It was really a tidying-up job,

0:22:260:22:28

putting pegs in the right holes, and I wasn't one of the ones who did the

0:22:280:22:32

clever stuff.

0:22:320:22:34

Joan also found herself given a highly important role,

0:22:340:22:37

helping crack some of the most complicated codes.

0:22:370:22:40

I was in a little room on my own, entirely on my own.

0:22:410:22:45

I was the only one on the shift that used this machine, and it was called

0:22:450:22:49

the EINS machine.

0:22:490:22:52

And I would sit for hours watching eight wheels going round,

0:22:520:22:58

and I would have to start this one, then this one, then this one,

0:22:580:23:02

then this one, and at intervals I would look for a full stop,

0:23:020:23:07

because when I found a full stop...

0:23:070:23:10

..I knew the message could be encrypted.

0:23:110:23:14

Very important, that was. And you know, when I found a full stop,

0:23:140:23:19

I used to have to ring up to London

0:23:190:23:22

and Churchill would answer personally.

0:23:220:23:26

And he had a - what's the word? - a name.

0:23:270:23:29

His name was Wiggly. We used to have to ask for Wiggly!

0:23:300:23:34

Even though Bletchley Park ran 24/7, there was time to relax

0:23:370:23:41

and enjoy the surroundings of the estate,

0:23:410:23:43

and Joan even met her future husband, Ken, here.

0:23:430:23:46

We had leisure time. We had good times.

0:23:470:23:50

We went out, we went dancing.

0:23:500:23:52

And I played piano, so...

0:23:520:23:55

..we used to gather round a piano and sing and dance, sort of thing.

0:23:560:24:00

So we were...we were quite happy, really.

0:24:000:24:03

When the war finally came to an end, the teams at Bletchley were the

0:24:060:24:09

first to hear the amazing news but couldn't tell anyone else,

0:24:090:24:14

having been sworn to secrecy.

0:24:140:24:16

The best thing that ever happened to Ken and I was when Italy gave in,

0:24:160:24:22

because we were on evening duty again,

0:24:220:24:24

and about ten o'clock it came through that Italy had given in...

0:24:240:24:28

..so we knew the war was over.

0:24:290:24:31

We got the last train from Bletchley and we arrived on Euston station

0:24:310:24:36

round about half eleven, and it was packed with servicepeople,

0:24:360:24:42

everyone you can think of, and we wanted to shout, "The war's over,"

0:24:420:24:49

and we couldn't. And we couldn't.

0:24:490:24:51

I would love to have shouted it...

0:24:540:24:56

..and I thought, "All these people, and they don't know it's over."

0:24:570:25:03

Yeah, that was...that was a night.

0:25:030:25:05

We weren't the ones who knew first. We were fooling round.

0:25:090:25:13

Actually, we were throwing lavatory rolls over the tree which used to

0:25:130:25:16

-grow there.

-As you do!

0:25:160:25:18

As you do. And we were hauled in and somebody came rushing up from down

0:25:180:25:23

below and said, "The war's over, the war's over."

0:25:230:25:25

-And that was a most astonishing feeling.

-Oh, it must have been.

0:25:250:25:31

Even after the war, everyone had to

0:25:310:25:33

keep a tight lid on the work done at Bletchley Park.

0:25:330:25:36

I knew that I shouldn't talk about it...

0:25:360:25:40

..and I didn't.

0:25:410:25:44

How did you feel about not being able to tell your parents what you

0:25:440:25:47

-were doing?

-Well, I only had one parent,

0:25:470:25:50

and that was a father who was very autocratic.

0:25:500:25:53

He was in the RAF and he was fairly high up and he thought he knew

0:25:530:25:56

everything that happened, and I was really rather glad that I actually

0:25:560:25:59

knew something that he didn't!

0:25:590:26:01

Whenever we've met up, up at Bletchley,

0:26:040:26:07

everybody's so proud that they were there...

0:26:070:26:12

..and that they helped.

0:26:130:26:15

They genuinely feel they helped end the war sooner because of the work

0:26:150:26:22

we did there. And I think we did.

0:26:220:26:25

-How does it feel, coming back?

-It's so good that something is going

0:26:260:26:31

-on here.

-Mm.

-And also, the most important thing of the lot

0:26:310:26:35

is that the young are being told what happened,

0:26:350:26:37

because they wouldn't be here today if it hadn't happened.

0:26:370:26:40

-Yeah, that's a good thing, isn't it?

-Mm.

0:26:400:26:43

It was wonderful listening to Joan and Joanna's story,

0:26:470:26:50

history from living memory.

0:26:500:26:52

They played their part, and for years they couldn't talk about it,

0:26:520:26:55

not even to their loved ones.

0:26:550:26:57

Well, now they can, and thankfully it's going to be talked about and

0:26:570:27:00

remembered for ever.

0:27:000:27:02

Now the rain has stopped,

0:27:070:27:08

we can all enjoy the Bletchley Park gardens as our experts look for

0:27:080:27:12

antiques to take off to auction.

0:27:120:27:14

And Catherine's rather pleased with

0:27:140:27:16

a little group of rings that she's discovered.

0:27:160:27:19

Sarah, welcome to "Flog It!" and thank you very much for bringing

0:27:190:27:23

your gems along for us to see. Where did you get these rings from?

0:27:230:27:27

Well, these came from my late father-in-law.

0:27:270:27:31

And at a family function about 15 years ago he brought a box of

0:27:310:27:35

stuff that was probably his late wife's, and he offered the ladies in

0:27:350:27:41

the family a pick of the pieces.

0:27:410:27:44

So I picked a few rings - a pendant, actually this bangle -

0:27:440:27:50

and I've kept them since then.

0:27:500:27:53

But my late mother-in-law was a very tiny lady and so these are

0:27:530:27:57

very tiny rings and barely fit on my little finger.

0:27:570:28:01

-Really?

-So I haven't been able to wear them,

0:28:010:28:04

so I thought I'd bring them along and find out a bit more about them.

0:28:040:28:06

Let's take a little close look,

0:28:060:28:08

because we've got a really nice assortment, and as you say,

0:28:080:28:11

they are all very pretty rings.

0:28:110:28:13

This first one here, we've got a little emerald and diamond cluster.

0:28:130:28:19

This one here, we've got a nice amethyst,

0:28:190:28:22

and that's surrounded by very, very tiny diamonds.

0:28:220:28:25

I have tested them, so I know they're diamonds,

0:28:250:28:27

but they are really tiny chips. And then this one here,

0:28:270:28:31

this is a nice five-stone ring. We've got sapphires and diamonds,

0:28:310:28:35

but again very small diamond chips.

0:28:350:28:37

But perhaps the nicest ring of all of them -

0:28:370:28:40

I don't know if this is one of your favourites -

0:28:400:28:42

is this lovely three-stone diamond ring.

0:28:420:28:45

Date-wise, I would say that that is probably round the 1930s.

0:28:450:28:49

So, is this something that particularly appealed to you?

0:28:490:28:52

Yes, yes, I liked them all because they were traditional, but that one

0:28:520:28:56

-because it was plain.

-Mm-hm.

0:28:560:28:58

Now, the quality of the diamonds are OK.

0:28:580:29:00

We haven't got particularly big diamonds, and the clarity is OK.

0:29:000:29:04

They are a little bit cloudy,

0:29:040:29:06

but nevertheless it is a really nice setting.

0:29:060:29:08

The sad thing about this is unfortunately it's not marked.

0:29:080:29:11

The ring itself isn't marked, but I would think it's probably going to

0:29:110:29:15

be 18-carat, looking at the colour of the gold.

0:29:150:29:19

So, prices, that's really what it comes down to.

0:29:190:29:22

My suggestion on these is that they're really only worth round

0:29:220:29:26

about £50 each. I would suggest for these putting them together in

0:29:260:29:30

a little lot as £150 to £200 for the three

0:29:300:29:33

perhaps with a reserve of about 120. How does that sound to you?

0:29:330:29:38

-Yes. Yes.

-That one, which is a nicer ring,

0:29:380:29:41

I would put that by itself and put that with an estimate of 150 to 250

0:29:410:29:46

and protect that with a 140 reserve.

0:29:460:29:49

-OK.

-Well, hopefully we'll find some people at the auction with little,

0:29:490:29:52

-tiny fingers.

-They would have to have tiny fingers, yes.

0:29:520:29:55

And hopefully they will sell very well.

0:29:550:29:57

But thank you, Sarah, for coming along and for bringing your treasure

0:29:570:30:00

-to Bletchley.

-Thank you very much.

0:30:000:30:03

Next up, Philip's in the driving seat with a glittering collection.

0:30:030:30:07

There's one question I want to ask before we start. You got a car?

0:30:100:30:13

-Yes.

-Does it break down a lot?

0:30:130:30:15

-No!

-So you don't need all these badges, then?

0:30:160:30:19

-No, I do not.

-How did you come into possession of them?

0:30:190:30:22

My father used to work in the warehouse when he was alive,

0:30:220:30:27

at Croydon for the RAC.

0:30:270:30:29

He was a stores man. He collected everything - nuts, bolts...

0:30:290:30:32

-..fittings, badges...

-Good man!

-..all through the years.

0:30:330:30:37

-So, he was a "Flog It!" collector, was he?

-Oh, he was, yes.

0:30:370:30:40

And what about you? What do you collect?

0:30:400:30:42

-00-gauge model railways.

-So you're into your trains now.

0:30:420:30:45

-Yes.

-I think these are lovely,

0:30:450:30:48

because you've almost got the RAC through the years.

0:30:480:30:52

-Which is your favourite?

-Er...that one.

0:30:520:30:55

-Why?

-They were much better made, and I like the style of that one.

0:30:550:31:01

And I think that has more class than all the other plastic ones they came

0:31:010:31:05

-out with afterwards.

-Do you know which is my favourite?

0:31:050:31:08

Well, it'll tell you anyway. This one here,

0:31:080:31:10

and that's because this is motorsport.

0:31:100:31:12

And I'm a real car fan, I love my cars, and the RAC...

0:31:120:31:18

..they did a motorsports badge, which I believe is this one here.

0:31:180:31:22

And it's quite collectible.

0:31:220:31:23

So I think you've got a really good collection here.

0:31:230:31:26

The earliest one is this one here, and this is dated 1907.

0:31:260:31:30

And they go through the years.

0:31:300:31:32

The one key thing to this, these early ones are enamelled,

0:31:320:31:36

and if you can look at that enamelling there, you can just see,

0:31:360:31:39

just in the middle of the Union Jack,

0:31:390:31:42

I should think a stone's probably come up off the road,

0:31:420:31:45

hit it and damaged it.

0:31:450:31:46

And that's... For a collector, that seriously devalues it.

0:31:460:31:51

Why have you decided to sell these now?

0:31:510:31:53

Well, they were in the garage for many years, I had totally forgotten them...

0:31:530:31:57

..and I decided that I need some cash, to be honest with you,

0:31:580:32:02

-for my railway.

-Right.

0:32:020:32:04

-You any idea what they might make?

-I'll be honest with you, I don't.

0:32:040:32:08

It's something I didn't think anyone would be interested in, full stop.

0:32:080:32:11

Let's turn it round another way - how much is an 00-gauge loco?

0:32:110:32:14

I pay about £200.

0:32:150:32:17

Aaaagh! No pressure here, then, is there?!

0:32:170:32:19

I think we should put these into auction...

0:32:200:32:23

..with an estimate of 150 to 250 and we'll put a reserve on them of 120.

0:32:230:32:30

And who knows, we might keep you on tracks.

0:32:300:32:33

Libby and Rachel, good to see you.

0:32:390:32:42

Now, when you were standing out in the queue,

0:32:420:32:44

I pounced on you because I saw this wooden box,

0:32:440:32:47

and it's not just an ordinary wooden box.

0:32:470:32:50

When I see something like this,

0:32:500:32:52

I think that it's going to contain something a little bit special,

0:32:520:32:55

perhaps a piece of silver. And, boy, did it contain a piece of silver!

0:32:550:33:01

So... But this isn't it. This isn't all the piece.

0:33:020:33:06

-No.

-It does turn into a bit of theatre, doesn't it?

0:33:060:33:08

-Yes.

-So, shall we start building it up?

0:33:080:33:11

-We need a few hands for this.

-We do.

0:33:130:33:16

So, I'll have a little boat, as well. Wonderful.

0:33:160:33:21

And as we build it up, it does transform...

0:33:210:33:25

..into this wonderful silver epergne...

0:33:270:33:31

-Yes.

-..or centrepiece.

0:33:310:33:33

Where did you get this from?

0:33:330:33:35

Well, I bought it many years ago, nearly 40 years, I think,

0:33:350:33:39

in Norfolk at a sale.

0:33:390:33:42

And can you remember how much you paid for it?

0:33:420:33:46

-I think it was about £200, but I can't...

-Such a long time ago!

0:33:470:33:51

-A long time ago.

-She can't remember.

-And this is your daughter. Hi.

0:33:510:33:55

So, I just would love to tell you a little bit about it, because to me,

0:33:550:33:59

this is one of the most beautiful

0:33:590:34:02

things I have seen on "Flog It!" in a very long time.

0:34:020:34:06

This is made by a silversmith's called Thomas Pitts,

0:34:060:34:10

and we know that because we've got his initials round here.

0:34:100:34:13

It's really clearly marked TP. It's Georgian. Did you know that?

0:34:130:34:18

-Did you know it was Georgian?

-Well, I think I might have done

0:34:180:34:20

when I bought it, but it's been shut away for so long.

0:34:200:34:24

-Has it always been in this box?

-Yes.

-So you bought it...

0:34:240:34:27

-Yes.

-..and you've never displayed it.

0:34:270:34:29

-No.

-And you just put it in this box, purely for investment.

0:34:290:34:32

-Yes.

-That's incredible.

0:34:320:34:35

So, what we have, we have this centrepiece by Thomas Pitts.

0:34:350:34:39

Now, Thomas Pitts was one of the better silversmiths working at that

0:34:390:34:42

time, in the late 18th century,

0:34:420:34:45

and he is known for producing these magnificent epergnes.

0:34:450:34:50

And if you wanted to get an epergne at the time...

0:34:500:34:53

-..this is the man who you wanted to make it.

-Yes.

0:34:530:34:56

And I think if you look at each piece, it's so beautifully made.

0:34:560:35:01

Look at this piercing here, look at the scrolls,

0:35:010:35:04

look at the leafwork and look at the way also that we have these

0:35:040:35:07

roundels. We have these roundels which are left blank,

0:35:070:35:10

and that's where once upon a time you would have had the initials of

0:35:100:35:14

-your family...

-Crest.

-..or perhaps your family crest, yeah.

0:35:140:35:18

Everything is done with the most meticulous detail.

0:35:180:35:22

But I think the real thing about this is the theatre, is the drama,

0:35:220:35:26

and we need to think about the epergne in its setting,

0:35:260:35:30

in its original setting in the late 18th century.

0:35:300:35:33

This is something that would have been on a very grand table.

0:35:330:35:37

You would have probably had some nice Corinthian candlesticks around

0:35:370:35:41

it, it would have had some fruit on the top there,

0:35:410:35:43

perhaps some little berries and

0:35:430:35:45

little toothpicks in these other baskets.

0:35:450:35:47

And it is such a dramatic piece and it shouldn't have been hidden away

0:35:470:35:51

all this time! It does upset me to see that.

0:35:510:35:54

So, how do you feel now that it's displayed in front of you, Rachel?

0:35:540:35:58

I'm glad she's going to sell it,

0:35:580:36:00

because I need the money for my drive!

0:36:000:36:01

-Oh, do you?

-She's going to pay for my driveway,

0:36:010:36:04

so we're trying to get the money together.

0:36:040:36:07

It depends how much it would make.

0:36:070:36:10

I would suggest putting this into auction with

0:36:100:36:13

-an estimate of £3,000 to 5,000...

-Really?

-..at auction. Yeah.

0:36:130:36:17

-Fantastic.

-Wow.

-And a reserve of 2,500.

0:36:170:36:20

-Fantastic.

-How does that sound?

0:36:200:36:22

It sounds like a good investment.

0:36:220:36:23

I think that does sound like a good investment!

0:36:230:36:25

Well, it started off life as a show stopper,

0:36:250:36:28

and I think it's ended today as a show stopper.

0:36:280:36:31

It's really made my day, so thank you so much,

0:36:310:36:33

-both of you, for coming along.

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you.

0:36:330:36:37

Wow, I love that last item. Fingers crossed for that.

0:36:390:36:43

We have now found all three items to take to auction for the very last

0:36:430:36:46

time, so our work is done.

0:36:460:36:48

It's time to say goodbye to our magnificent host location,

0:36:480:36:51

Bletchley Park. We've found some wonderful items,

0:36:510:36:53

we've met some wonderful owners.

0:36:530:36:55

Hopefully we'll get some wonderful prices.

0:36:550:36:57

Here's a quick recap of all the items that are going under the hammer.

0:36:570:37:00

Sarah's rings may have been made for dainty digits,

0:37:000:37:04

but are they big enough in appeal to reach Catherine's estimate?

0:37:040:37:07

Hopefully Phil's estimate will steer

0:37:100:37:12

the bidders to a great price for the RAC badges.

0:37:120:37:15

Or will it be Libby's epergne that takes centre stage and becomes

0:37:150:37:19

the star of the saleroom?

0:37:190:37:21

Hold on to your seat, because we're going to be finding out very soon.

0:37:240:37:27

The auction is still running at full

0:37:270:37:29

speed, and the lots are flying through.

0:37:290:37:31

We've got four rings we split into two lots,

0:37:330:37:35

as you did at the valuation day.

0:37:350:37:36

The first lot has three rings, the second one ring standing alone.

0:37:360:37:39

-But all precious stones, beautifully mounted.

-Very pretty rings.

0:37:390:37:43

Very pretty rings, and a nice little collection, the first ones.

0:37:430:37:46

So we're going to find out what the bidders think.

0:37:460:37:48

Will they sparkle? We're going to put them to the test now.

0:37:480:37:50

Here we go. Good luck. This is it.

0:37:500:37:52

Three altogether, lot 306.

0:37:530:37:55

150 for them?

0:37:550:37:56

100 to start me.

0:37:560:37:59

At £100.

0:37:590:38:00

At 100. 110 anywhere?

0:38:000:38:02

110. 120 anywhere?

0:38:020:38:04

At 110. Done at 110.

0:38:040:38:06

All done. We need a bit more. At 110, if you want it.

0:38:060:38:10

Done at 110. All done?

0:38:100:38:12

Done.

0:38:140:38:15

Unfortunately, the three rings didn't quite make the £120 reserve.

0:38:150:38:20

Here's the second lot now. We need the top end of £250 to

0:38:210:38:24

-sort of get us on the way, don't we?

-Bump us up.

-Bump us up. Here we go.

0:38:240:38:28

-Good luck.

-150. 160 anywhere?

0:38:280:38:31

160.

0:38:310:38:33

I'll take this one. 160. 170. 180.

0:38:330:38:37

190. 200. 210.

0:38:370:38:39

-This is good.

-220.

-We're looking for 250 at the top end on this one.

0:38:390:38:42

250. At 240. 250?

0:38:420:38:46

At 240, front row at 240.

0:38:460:38:48

All done. Finish at £240.

0:38:480:38:50

-£240, short and sweet on that one.

-Lovely, lovely.

-Well done, spot-on.

0:38:520:38:55

-We got there.

-You got there, didn't you?

0:38:550:38:57

Well, the diamond ring more than made up for the other three.

0:38:570:39:01

Can John's car badges keep the good news coming?

0:39:010:39:04

If you love badges, you will love our next lot.

0:39:040:39:06

They're going under the hammer now,

0:39:060:39:08

a collection of RAC badges belonging to John. It's great to see you.

0:39:080:39:11

-These were Dad's, weren't they?

-Yes, my father's.

0:39:110:39:14

He worked for the RAC for many years.

0:39:140:39:16

I was just about to say that - he wasn't just a member,

0:39:160:39:18

he worked for them, because that is some collection,

0:39:180:39:21

-a comprehensive collection.

-There's a great motorsport one.

-Good luck.

0:39:210:39:24

They're going under the hammer now.

0:39:240:39:26

-Two phone bids. Two phone bids.

-Here we go.

0:39:260:39:29

Lot 130, then, is the RAC badges. 150 for these?

0:39:290:39:33

130 I'm bid to start me.

0:39:330:39:34

130. 140 online if you want it.

0:39:340:39:37

140. 150. 160.

0:39:370:39:40

-Come on, come on!

-160. 170. 180.

0:39:400:39:44

180. 190. 200.

0:39:450:39:49

-200. 210.

-This is brilliant!

-At £200, then. It's online at £200.

0:39:490:39:52

Against you all in the room at £200 online.

0:39:520:39:54

At £200. All done?

0:39:540:39:56

210 now. 220. 230, then?

0:39:560:39:59

220, still online at 220.

0:40:010:40:03

All done at £220.

0:40:030:40:05

Against you all in the room still at 220.

0:40:050:40:09

Yes, I'm pleased with that. You've got to be pleased with that.

0:40:090:40:11

-Yes.

-I hope they go to a collector and I hope some of them get put on

0:40:110:40:15

a nice old chrome bumper.

0:40:150:40:17

And finally for our grand finale, that fabulous epergne.

0:40:180:40:22

Well, if you want a stunning centrepiece, look no further.

0:40:230:40:25

It doesn't get much better than this.

0:40:250:40:27

We've got a wonderful silver epergne just about to go under the hammer

0:40:270:40:30

-belonging to Rachel here and... Elizabeth.

-Yes.

0:40:300:40:33

Wow, I mean, how showy is this? And you put a value of...

0:40:330:40:39

I put a value of £3,000 to £5,000 on.

0:40:390:40:41

Since the valuation at Bletchley Park,

0:40:410:40:42

the auctioneer's been in touch with you.

0:40:420:40:44

He's now upped that reserve to 4,000 to 6,000.

0:40:440:40:46

-So it's only £1,000 different.

-But I think it's amazing.

0:40:460:40:49

It's one of the most exciting things I've ever seen on "Flog It!".

0:40:490:40:52

And you didn't put it on a table?

0:40:520:40:54

-No.

-You didn't put it anywhere. Why did you buy it?

0:40:540:40:56

-Why did you buy it?

-I liked the look of it and it's an investment.

0:40:560:40:59

And then put it in a box. Oh, I see, purely as an investment. You boxed it up.

0:40:590:41:02

-Yes.

-OK, that's quite clever, but you could have enjoyed it, you know.

0:41:020:41:06

You could have shown it off to the neighbours.

0:41:060:41:08

-We're going to enjoy it now.

-It's going under the hammer. Good luck.

0:41:080:41:11

The George III silver table centre, the epergne there.

0:41:110:41:17

4,000 for it?

0:41:170:41:18

I have 4,000 online. At 4,000. 4,100 anyone?

0:41:190:41:23

4,100, anybody in the room?

0:41:230:41:25

4,100? 4,100. 4,200.

0:41:250:41:30

Come on, we need lots of stately homes on the phone now, don't we?

0:41:300:41:33

4,200?

0:41:330:41:35

4,250?

0:41:350:41:37

4,250. 4,300.

0:41:370:41:41

4,350? 4,350. 4,400.

0:41:410:41:44

4,450.

0:41:440:41:47

4,500.

0:41:470:41:49

4,550.

0:41:490:41:52

4,600.

0:41:520:41:54

4,650.

0:41:540:41:56

4,700.

0:41:560:41:59

4,750.

0:41:590:42:01

-It's so amazing.

-4,800.

0:42:010:42:03

It's all gone quiet in the room, hasn't it?

0:42:030:42:05

-It's slowly climbing.

-4,900. 4,950.

0:42:050:42:08

-The tension is just immense.

-It is.

-5,000.

0:42:080:42:12

It's the increments of 50. It's very slow, isn't it?

0:42:120:42:14

5,100.

0:42:140:42:17

5,200 now, come on. 5,200.

0:42:170:42:19

I have 5,000. 5,100 if you want it online.

0:42:190:42:22

In the room, then, at 5,000. Selling at 5,000.

0:42:230:42:27

All done at 5,000. All done, finished.

0:42:270:42:29

Well done, £5,000.

0:42:310:42:32

-So you were spot-on.

-I think it was a good investment.

0:42:320:42:35

-I think it was a good investment.

-Very good.

-Well done, you.

0:42:350:42:38

Well done! And you hung on to it for such a long time!

0:42:380:42:40

-Yes.

-And you chose Bletchley Park to liberate it,

0:42:400:42:43

to bring it out onto our show, so thank you very much.

0:42:430:42:46

-Enjoy your new drive, won't you?

-Thank you, I will.

0:42:460:42:48

Well, there you are, that's it, it's all over for our owners.

0:42:510:42:53

As you can see, the sale is still going on,

0:42:530:42:55

but what a day we have had here. Everybody's gone home happy.

0:42:550:42:58

All credit goes to our experts and to the men on the rostrum,

0:42:580:43:02

they've done us proud, and I hope you've enjoyed the show.

0:43:020:43:04

Join us again for many more surprises.

0:43:040:43:06

But until then, from Oxfordshire, it's goodbye.

0:43:060:43:09

Paul Martin presents from Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Experts Philip Serrel and Catherine Southon find intricately carved walnuts and a fabulous silver eperne. Paul also meets veteran codebreakers who worked there during World War II.


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