Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap. Eric Knowles and his select band of expert restorers save more treasures in Stonyhurst College, Lancashire.
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Hello, I'm Eric Knowles, asking you to dig out your dusty treasures.
Can they be restored? Should they be restored?
Find out on Restoration Roadshow.
Welcome to Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. This is one of the country's top boarding schools
with a roll call of famous former pupils like Sherlock Holmes' author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
And, talking of classics, we've got a host of timeless pieces today.
Everyone wants to know if their possessions are of value.
Enough for a chateau in France?
-Should they be restored?
-I'd like to hand it to my family.
And will they make any money at auction?
Who will start me at £2,000?
'Coming up: can we save this late-Victorian desk from being written off?'
You've worn the thing out!
-'Our ceramic restorer's worst nightmare - a self-exploding Royal Crown Derby vase.'
I went into the lounge one morning and there it was, all in pieces.
'And has this rare Edwardian rocking horse been raced into the ground?'
I don't want to be unkind, but your rocking horse is one step away from the knacker's yard.
'It's always a pleasure to be back in my native Lancashire.
'We've stirred up a huge amount of interest and everywhere I look there are injured objects.'
See what it's like underneath.
'One item that could use a restorer's healing hand is this Davenport desk,
'passed down the generations to owner Katie Hindle.'
-This is quite well-travelled.
Scotland, from about 1907, I think.
1907. I think it might have been just a few years more. I think this is very late Victorian.
-You do a lot of writing because you've worn it out!
-I don't do any!
'The desk owes its name to Captain Davenport who commissioned a similar small desk.'
So have you got any ideas as to its value?
-Well, maybe £100?
-It's worth a bit more than that.
I know it's in a bit of a state, but in this condition I reckon it's worth £300, £400, possibly £500.
Certainly worth spending money on.
'A job for furniture restorer Tim Akers.
'He's passionate about woodwork, be it early oak of Charles I or walnut from William and Mary.'
Obviously, leather comes to mind. That's completely shot to pieces, so we'll replace that.
The other thing that lets it down is that this is quite a nice warm colour on the top.
-On the front here, it's slightly green.
It's where the sun has bleached out some of the warmth from it.
I can warm that up a little bit.
-And this is rather loose here.
-I think that's meant to come off.
-It is. It's never had any glue.
I might tighten the holes up so that it fits more snugly.
That way it won't wobble around or fall off.
I think I could do that for £250. There's quite a lot of work there.
-That includes the leather.
-Well, I think that sounds all right.
'Good decision, Katie.
'In its current condition, the desk is worth £300-£400.
'Tim will replace the writing leather and tidy up the veneer for £250,
'which could see it reach £1,000 at auction.
'But Katie's not looking to sell it. Once restored, it will take pride of place in her home,
'assuming Tim can bring it up to scratch.
'We've got wounded personal treasures aplenty here today.
'Some are seeing the light of day for the first time in years, bringing back wonderful memories.'
I used to have one of these. 'Others have lasted generations, but need some tender, loving care,
'like this miniature Edwardian rocking horse in the Campbell family for four generations.'
-He's been a family friend for some time?
-Yes, a considerable time.
We believe my father played on it and, prior to that, my grandfather and even my great-grandfather.
Were you allowed to play on him or was he in a bit of a state?
No, we played on him. Quite a lot. He's called Neddy.
-That's his name?
-Something you're thinking of selling?
-Er, yeah, we would do.
We're aware that it's relatively unsafe in this condition.
So we would spend some money and potentially put it to auction or sell it.
Date-wise, it's early 20th century. He's more likely to be Edwardian than Victorian
because he's on a safety rocker.
The early rocking horses literally had rockers,
but many a Victorian child went right over the top,
so this was a safety improvement.
I have to admit that I don't think I've come across one quite as small as this.
He's obviously been designed for somebody no more than four or five to play on him.
Any suggestion of who made it?
We believe it's G&J Lyons.
'George and Joseph Lyons were amongst Britain's largest toy makers and were in top department stores.'
He's a quality horse. You can see it. But, having said that,
he needs some serious surgery.
It begs the question, how much money would you have to spend to bring him back to his former grandeur?
'Fixing Neddy's many racing injuries could cost hundreds
'and I'm not convinced they'd get much of their money back at auction.'
It's really a case of trying to make sure he's still roadworthy.
'The man to get this old nag back on track is Malcolm Green.
'He started out as an archaeologist and is passionate about bringing unusual pieces back to life.'
I hope you're a horse whisperer! We really do need your recommendations
-as to what you consider to be absolutely essential.
First of all, it's got woodworm here. That needs to be done.
It's not a lot of restoration, but these areas that are broken here, the hooves that are broken,
they're relevant to have repaired.
-Did you know about the woodworm?
-No, to be honest, I used to keep it next to my dartboard
and I thought that was where the darts bounced out the board!
I don't think this has been anywhere near Eric Bristow.
I think you have got a little bit of a problem there.
'But Malcolm thinks he can solve it, along with the broken hooves and hind leg, for £100.'
-If you are going to back any horse in your life, it might as well be Neddy. Right? We're all agreed?
'In its lame condition, this tired pony is worth under £200.
'Malcolm will do the essentials for £100.
'It could raise his odds to £300 plus.
'But this once-sprightly horse is in a bad way and will need careful handling
'if he's to win the day at auction.
'A lot of the objects that end up on our operating tables have been well loved,
'but most of our ceramic casualties weren't always handled with care.'
-Somebody, cleaning, dropped it.
-Somebody who will forever remain nameless.
'Our next customer is Millicent Barron. She's brought a valuable pair of Royal Crown Derby vases,
'but one of them is in bits. Looks like a job for our ceramics maestro.
'Roger Hawkins is one of the best in the business.
'Fixing fragile porcelain is just one of his many specialities.'
-Do you recognise what it is?
-I do. A Crown Derby vase.
-How long has this been in your family?
-About 31 years. One of a pair.
-Is this one perfect?
-It looks like it to me.
'Originally based on an Oriental design, this pattern is known as Old Imari.
'This vase was a gift to Millicent from her late husband.'
This looks post-war. It's probably 1940s, 1950s period.
They would have made these patterns over a span of years, so they would be within that period.
Shall we look at the bad news?
'Pot lovers, look away now.'
-Oh, bad news.
-I went into the lounge one morning
and, em, there it was, all in pieces.
This type of porcelain is very fragile
and this type of break is common.
Probably what might have happened to this is it might have had a very slight knock,
it might have developed a little crack in it,
and then you have a change in temperature where it just pops.
'So this vase simply exploded into pieces. The question is can roger save it from the bin?'
All I can do on this is glue it together
as best I can. There will be some very obvious gaps.
What I try and do is put it back together so that some of those cracks are less obvious.
-Have you any idea of their value?
This one, on its own, as it's in perfect condition,
will probably be worth now about £500, £600, £700.
If they were a pair,
perfect, in auction, you'd expect them to be around £1,200,
but there's only one of them.
Like this, it's worth nothing.
After you've paid me £150 to put it back together... it will be worth nothing.
-'Ceramics that undergo repair rarely regain their former value,
'but it's a sentimental piece and Millicent wants to fix it.'
-I'd be able to display them and I'd be quite happy with that.
-You're happy for me to restore it?
-I think that's a good idea. Like this, it can only go back in the shoe box.
-Yes, it will.
But repaired you have a nice pair.
'In this condition, the pair of vases are worth £500-£700,
'with the broken one bringing a big, fat zero to the party.
'Roger is charging £150 to put it back together,
'but they won't be worth much more.
'This is a consolidation job for sentimental reasons
'and, judging by all those pieces, it might be one of Roger's toughest yet.
'Coming up, Tim faces a delicate task replacing the Davenport desk's worn-out leather.'
That is incredibly thin.
'And has Malcolm done enough to give our rocking horse a run at auction?'
At 100. 110. 120.
'Our restorers are an experienced bunch, so there's nothing they like more than the unexpected.
'We've had more than our fair share of unusual items today.'
It's a rare piece.
'You never know what will turn up. Take this beautiful Victorian inlaid chest hiding a lovely secret,
-'brought in by Wendy Talbot.'
-Wow. It's a wonderful music box. Have you tried it before?
It's always made a ghastly sound.
We can see if we can get some noise out of it.
VERY SLOW TUNE
I think it would sound absolutely wonderful if it was working properly.
All sounds a bit clunky now.
Oh, dear. That's possibly because there's a problem with the butterfly, this thing going round.
-Quite simply, somebody has taped it up.
-Yes, not me! It was always like that.
The market for these is really strong. It really is.
It has everything going for it. The bells, the bees, the hammers, the drum. Absolutely everything.
As it stands, it's probably worth around £3,000, which is a lot.
-As it stands?
-As it stands.
-To fix the butterfly here would cost in the region of £300.
It could make up to maybe £4,000, £4,500. That sort of figure.
-So for £300...
-You're making an extra £1,500.
'This wonderful Victorian music box is worth £3,000 as it is.
'Malcolm thinks he can mend that butterfly for £300,
'which could see it hit the high notes at auction.
'Another sound investment, but it's going to take some expert tinkering to get it back in tune.
'With the rocking horse too, it's a race against time for Malcolm.
'Our experts are all singing from the same hymn sheet today
'in Stonyhurst's hallowed halls.
'Over at his workstation, Tim's hard at work on the Davenport desk.
'He's detached the threadbare writing surface and is painstakingly removing the old leather,
-'every last shred of it.'
-The leather was completely perished.
It's a lot thinner than leather you get now. I mean, that is incredibly thin.
No wonder it perished.
'To fit the new leather, he has to deepen the recess. One slip of the chisel and it's game over.'
Getting as close as I can to the edge of the veneer
and I'm using my left hand as a guide, pushing the blade away from the edge of the veneer.
That's a nice clean edge now, which the leather will fit into.
'Sometimes antiques arrive at our roadshow looking, well, pretty beaten up.
'A quick diagnosis often reveals that they need more than our first aid kit.
'This little Edwardian pony has limped back to Malcolm's workshop
'where he has the right tools and glue.'
It really needs to get into the joint. You want it to squeeze out of the joint.
That's a lot of glue in there now.
When you squeeze a joint together, you get glue creeping out and it has to be removed.
Better to remove it at this stage.
-'And every break needs plastering or, in this case, strapping.'
-These things are jolly good.
These are things that you get from car shops
for tying items on the roof of your car, luggage and that sort of thing.
-'Very resourceful, Malcolm.'
-That's brought that joint up to the position it needs to be in.
'But the treatment isn't over yet. Remember those bandaged hooves?'
This is a race that fell at the last hurdle
and this is the result.
-'Someone's had a go at fixing this before.'
-There's remnants of some PVA there. It hasn't gone far in.
-It needs to be removed.
-'The old glue could prevent Malcolm from creating a seamless joint,
'so he uses a steam gun to soften it before applying his own glue.
'He's sure his hard work will give little Neddy a sporting chance of being sold.'
We're doing these minor breaks to make that person looking at it think it doesn't need too much.
'Let's hope the bidders at auction agree, Malcolm.
'One item that won't be going to auction is that much-loved, but shattered Royal Crown Derby vase
'brought in by Millicent Barron.
'Roger couldn't join it onsite, so ambulanced it back to his workshop
'to figure out what goes where.'
I'm sitting here looking at the next piece to glue. It is a jigsaw.
-Let's look at this one.
-'But gluing the pieces together is only half of the problem.
'This vase has warped, making alignment tricky.'
If I hold this in position,
so that it's in alignment there, it's not going to be in alignment there. There's going to be a gap.
So I think all I can do on this piece is try and glue half of it.
I've got to decide which half. Maybe from there to there.
Glue that and when that glue has set
maybe put a clamp across the join here,
run some glue in it and force that back into position.
Easier said than done. I'll never get it perfect.
It's almost a lost cause, but we try for as good an alignment as we can.
'It's a real brainteaser and no two bits are the same.'
They really are very difficult to do.
We'll just do one piece at a time, very slowly but surely.
'Too much pressure and Roger could have more pieces to play with!'
The danger would be that I crack this piece or any piece,
so I have to be very careful how much force I use on that.
-There's no substitute for experience.
-'Roger has plenty.'
This piece here, you need a PhD in Clampology
to actually work out where to place the clamp.
It's damaged enough as it is. We don't want to cause any more damage.
'At Malcolm's workshop, he's examining his second casualty - that out-of-tune music box.'
-'He took the mechanism out to repair the butterfly,
'a governor that controls the speed of the wind-up release. First, he has a spot of cleaning to do.'
It's got glue and all sorts on it here.
One of the biggest problems of working on things
is when you have to undo repairs that were undertaken by people in the '20s, '30s and '40s.
Maybe the '50s, even. These were undertaken when the item was worth very little, I suppose,
and they used the materials at hand. Chewing gum, old sticks, all sorts.
'Thankfully, this repair job can be reversed with some elbow grease.'
I think I'll be able to use these. I thought I might have to replace them, but they'll clean up OK.
They're not too badly bent, so I'm just straightening these out.
Hopefully, we'll re-use them. Looks like a baby elephant.
'Having rescued the butterfly from its botched repair, Malcolm can turn to the real problem.'
I can see why, basically, they were...
When the screw is in fully, there's no resistance to the butterfly.
They're flopping down like so. Normally, they should be held at a resistance like that.
Obviously up to get least resistance, down to get more.
That governs the speed of the motion work here.
We've got to put a washer or a bush in there to stop that happening.
'So this tuneless music box has a screw loose - easily fixed when you know what you're doing,
'which is why our restorers are in demand.
'They really have worked wonders today, breathing new life into your tired and broken treasures.
'And it's crunch time now as we reveal their handiwork.
'Katie Hindle brought in a well-travelled Davenport desk, passed down the generations.
'Tim's been slaving away on it all afternoon, reversing the ravages of time
'in preparation for its new writing surface. What will Katie think?'
Oh, my goodness! What a difference! It's like new.
'Before, this sickly-looking desk was ready to write its own obituary,
'its veneer chipped and faded, its writing leather in tatters.
'Now the chips are gone, the wood's been warmed up, there's new leather and it's positively gleaming.
-'And Tim has more good news.'
-Any idea of value now?
Well, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see one at anywhere between £900 and £1,000 in an antiques shop.
-So the money was extremely well spent, wasn't it?
-Yes, it was.
'That's a tidy sum, given it was only worth £300-£400 this morning, but Katie loves this heirloom
'and won't be selling. Neither will Millicent, who is looking forward to seeing her Crown Derby vases.
'When we first saw them, one was in pieces.'
-It was in a state, wasn't it?
-A sorry state?
'Putting it back together again has been a real labour of love.
'Time to find out if all Roger's hard work has been worthwhile.' Here we go. Nice and gentle, Eric.
Oh! Oh, I can't believe...!
Oh, yes. That's beautiful.
It's lovely. He's done very, very well. It was a mess.
Thank you, Roger.
'Before, this Royal Crown Derby vase was friendless, it's partner had gone to pieces.
'Now our shattered friend can proudly stand tall again and they are a pair once more.'
As far as the repair goes, it's not what you'd call an invisible repair,
but at least you've got... From where I'm looking, they look as good as new.
-Both of them, don't they?
-Nobody will know from a distance.
-I won't tell. Will you?
-Then our secret's safe.
-Yes, it is.
'A gift from her late husband, Millicent's hugely attached to these vases.
'Now they have a second chance.'
I've got to give you Brownie points. A lot of people would have been tempted to put it in the dustbin.
-It was just looking pretty desperate.
-Yes, it was.
I couldn't throw it away. It held so many memories.
-I think that morning when I found it, there were a few tears.
Yes, because it reminded us of a lovely day when we bought them and we were together.
-Do you think he'd approve?
-Yes, I think he would be very thrilled.
'And I can't tell you how pleased I am to see these vases together again.
'Well, we've had a wonderful time and thanks to the good folk of Lancashire,
'our restorers have been kept busy.
'Some of today's patients are going home, like Katie's writing desk
'and Millicent's Royal Crown Derby vases, to take pride of place.
'And there's that charming Victorian music box. It's struck a new chord with Wendy, who decided to keep it.
'But others are off to auction, like that Edwardian rocking horse,
'which will hopefully gee up the bidders when it's under the hammer.'
-Come on, let's have three.
'It's auction day here at Salter's Auction House and there are plenty of eager bidders eyeing up the lots.
'We're hoping they fall head over heels for Neddy, the rocking horse.
'Malcolm's spent hours operating on his broken hind leg and hooves
'and it's time to reunite him with his owners for a farewell.'
Have you been to an auction before?
-So how are we feeling?
-Excited, as well, but nervous.
Shall we see the current state of Neddy?
-Oh, his feet are better,
-A lot more secure. Sturdier.
Yeah, that's great.
'Before, poor old Neddy was in no fit state for auction, riddled with woodworm and his feet taped up.
'Now Malcolm's banished the woodworm, glued his leg and feet and put Neddy back in the race.'
The work that he's done has been structural.
There was no way on Earth you could have put this into an auction in the state that it was.
So he's rescued it from that point of view. It does now need somebody to spend serious money
on giving him back his former splendour.
Do you think he has a better chance than he had before of making it to the finishing post?
-I think he'll get a bit further.
-You think so?
-Yes. No hurdles now.
No, well, time will tell!
'When we first saw this charming Edwardian rocking horse, it was worth less than £200.
'They spent £100 grooming him for auction
'which could see them run away with £300.
'Fingers crossed for horse lovers.
'Remember, if you buy or sell at auction, you will have commission and other charges to pay.
'Check with the auction house. Everything that's been restored should be noted in the catalogue.'
We're on. He's under starter's orders.
A G&J Lyons painted rocking horse.
A nice little example there. Quite unusual. Lot 1181.
100 I'm bid. At 100. 110.
-180. 190. 200.
260. 280. I have a commission bid at £280.
280. We're at the top end. Come on, let's have three.
-Still on commission. I'm selling.
-320! What do we think?
'What a result! Remember, they paid £100 to have it restored
'and with a selling price of £320, even allowing for commission, they've picked up serious winnings.'
-It kept going up.
A bit more than we expected.
It covered the restoration expenses.
-I think the term "quids in"...
We definitely backed a winner.
'At their first ever auction, I'll wager that they'll be back.'
It just goes to prove that our restorers' skills are worth every penny.
They were certainly on the money! So join us again on Restoration Roadshow.
Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2010
Email [email protected]
Series devoted to saving treasured heirlooms from the scrapheap, restoring them to their former glory and maybe even making some money at auction.
In their never-ending campaign to save antique pots, paintings, vases and more from the scrapheap, Eric Knowles and his select band of expert restorers head for Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.
As members of the public start arriving with all sorts of items, Eric and his team swing into action. While wood wizard Malcolm Green tends to a tired old rocking horse that's looking very lame, furniture restorer Tim Akers faces the delicate challenge of saving an elegant Davenport desk. And if that's a tough one, imagine what ceramics guru Roger Hawkins feels when he comes up against his worst nightmare - an exploding Crown Derby vase.
As the team members struggle to revive their patients, the big questions remain to be answered. Will the owners like what they see? And if the items go to auction, will they attract the bidders and make any money?