The team takes on a precious hand mirror, a very special clock that may have had a supernatural accident, and a much-loved, but much-damaged, painting.
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Welcome to The Repair Shop,
where cherished family heirlooms are brought back to life...
This is the workshop of dreams.
..home to furniture restorer Jay Blades.
Nowadays, everybody spends a fortune on stuff that, once it's broken,
they just bin it. But everybody has something that means too much to be
thrown away, and that's where we come in.
Working alongside Jay will be some of the country's leading
Every piece has its own story.
It's amazing to think that some of my work becomes part of that story.
I've always played with things, I've always repaired things,
-and I just love it.
-There is a real pleasure in bringing people's pieces
back to life again.
..each with their own unique set of skills.
-Right tool for the right job.
-They will resurrect,
-I'm warm, man!
treasured possessions and irreplaceable pieces of family
-Wow, she's fantastic!
..bringing both the objects...
-This is what I remember.
-..and the memories that they hold...
-..back to life.
Oh, my God!
In The Repair Shop today,
an antique clock that's had a mysterious accident...
This is either an earthquake or a poltergeist.
Right, well, it must have been a really angry one, because this looks
-..and a badly damaged painting tests Lucia to the
-This is a big job,
and I've got a lot of work cut out with this one.
It's quite a big tear.
First into The Repair Shop today are Cherith and Simon Hathenthwait.
They're here with a fragile heirloom in need of some serious
attention from silversmith and metals expert, Brenton West.
-Hello, how are we doing? I'm Jay.
-Fine, thanks. Cherith.
-So, what have we got in the bag?
-This is a mirror that was given to me when I was eight
by my nana, who gave me it, saying that her auntie
-was a nurse, and she knew I wanted to be a nurse at eight...
..so I got the mirror. But then, when I was ten,
I broke the mirror and I daren't tell her.
-And unfortunately, when I qualified as a nurse...
..which is the whole reason I got it, my nan died,
so she never knew it was broken, so in a way I'm glad she didn't know...
-..but now's my chance to get it repaired.
So you kept it secret that it was broken?
-I never told anybody that it was broken.
-So how did you feel when you broke it?
It's not something you can just nip out and get another one
-from the shop, is it?
So the painting on the back, is that anything to do with the family or is
-I've no idea. I did try to research the name on the...
-And what did you learn from that?
-I couldn't even read it, to be honest.
-Oh, right. OK.
-That is someone's signature on there, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
So, once we've repaired this, what's going to happen with the mirror?
My daughter is a nurse,
-so it'd be really lovely to pass it on to her as a nurse.
-So you've kept the nursing in the family, then.
All right. You can do it?
-I think so.
-So, leave it with us and we'll get it sorted.
-Is that all right?
-Wonderful. Thank you.
Thank you for bringing it in.
Before he can start to repair the handle,
Brenton needs to establish what kind of metal he's dealing with.
If this is white metal, which is a sort of cast zinc,
if you heat it up, it just melts and...
just disappears, so this would have to be glued.
I'm hoping it's brass, because it'll make it a much better repair.
If it's gold underneath, then we know it's brass.
If it's white underneath, then we have to start to worry.
And it certainly looks gold-coloured to me.
I'm quite happy that is a piece of brass.
The difficult bit is going to be
getting the painting out and the mirror out,
because I cannot heat this up with those in there,
cos they'll just break.
Next to arrive at The Repair Shop is Joanna Edwards from Hampshire.
-Hello, I'm Steve.
-It's a bit heavy, I'm afraid.
-OK, that's all right.
-She's hoping that horologist Steve Fletcher can
repair a treasured timepiece that's had a rather puzzling mishap.
-Gosh, this really is falling apart, isn't it?
Right, this is, um,
a very nice clock.
-Why is it in this condition now?
I woke up one morning at six o'clock to the most horrendous crash,
and it was going, "Bing, bing, bing, bing!"
And I thought, "Oh, my God," I jumped out of bed, rushed down,
and there was my clock on a tile floor...
-..smashed to pieces.
Right, OK. How did it fall down?
Well, it was on this chest,
and my husband came rushing down and he saw this little wiggly line going
across the dust that the feet had made.
-And we looked at it and thought, "There must have been an earth tremor."
The other alternative...
-is that we have a family poltergeist.
It must be the first poltergeist-damaged clock that I've
I mean, this dates back to around about the, sort of,
late 18th century.
Made by this very important maker, Josiah Emery...
So it is a very nice clock.
What's the history of this clock?
Well, I know it belonged to my grandmother,
because I remember it in their dining room
when I was a small child, and then my mother inherited it,
and for years it was in their house.
She loved the tick of it,
and I feel a bit the same.
I feel the tick of a clock is the heartbeat of a house.
-And I would like to hear it again.
Right, OK, well, if you'd like to leave it with me,
we'll get it all working as it should be and then we'll give you
-your heartbeat back.
-That would be just so wonderful.
-Thank you very much. Thank you. OK, bye-bye.
-Right. Bye-bye now.
When I woke up that morning and heard the crash and found the clock
on the floor, I was devastated.
I was the custodian of this clock, and I felt I'd let the family down.
So I shall be very happy when it ticks again.
That should just come out now.
There we go.
Oh, we've got this nice verge escapement here.
This is what gives it the characteristic tick,
the heartbeat that Joanna was talking about.
The dial might not be original, but the mechanism is all original.
It is a genuine Josiah Emery.
I'll know more once I take it apart.
Josiah Emery was a renowned clockmaker in the 18th century.
His visionary work was widely admired.
He even made timepieces for King George III.
On prestigious clocks such as this,
it was common for preceding horologists to document their work.
I can see on here some repair marks.
There's May 1976.
And November 17.
So that's either 100 years or 200 years ago.
So the next step is to start stripping the mechanism down.
Many of the items that arrive through the doors of The Repair Shop
are examples of outstanding
craftsmanship in need of an expert eye.
Next to arrive is a work of art that might stretch painting conservator
Lucia's highly honed talents.
-Hello. Mr Guthrie, Mrs Guthrie.
-I'm Lucia, hi, paintings conservator.
-You have a painting for us today.
-I do indeed.
-And there we have it.
Wow, it's damaged, very damaged.
-A very large tear.
What happened to this?
-Dare you tell me?
-I do dare tell you.
It hangs on a wall very close to where I sit.
I have a modified chair, because I'm quite arthritic,
and it has a latch that makes it
recline, and the latch keeps slipping.
The chair goes into the lampshade,
the shade goes into the picture, and I'm sitting there, going...
What can you tell me about the painting?
-Fog on the Thames, I can see it's called.
Yeah, it's Edwin Fletcher.
We think about 1900.
Well, it's quite beautiful.
1900, yeah, that sort of figures, from the technique.
And, obviously, it's a pea-souper.
Where did you get the painting from?
My dad bought it. We saw it in a shop in Folkestone in about 1960.
It would have been in my parents' house from the '60s,
-right through until my mum had to go into an old folk's home...
..and she gave it to me then, so I've had it for, what, 20 years,
-something like that?
-So there's a long family history there.
-And it means a lot to you.
-It certainly does.
-Yeah. It's quite a big tear.
-It's going to be quite difficult to repair that.
This flaking was obviously going on before the tear.
Do you know why that happened?
I suspect because my dad will have put an electric heater in...
-..underneath where it was.
-So that causes the canvas to expand and
contract, and this is why you get the flaking.
In terms of progress on what we need to do,
I will start by protecting this damaged paint,
and then I'll treat the tear.
If you're happy to leave it with me, I'll get on with it.
-I certainly am. Thank you.
-Thank you, thank you.
I've got a lot of work cut out with this one.
It's quite a big tear.
This is heat damage.
There's a lot of little tiny blisters of paint.
Most damage is done by humans.
The best thing you can do if you've got a painting, hang it on the wall.
Keep it away from heat, so over no radiators or fires,
no lights anywhere near them.
No direct sunlight.
This is a big job.
We'll see. We'll see if I can get it
back into play and fixed.
Clockmaker Steve has taken on an 18th-century clock with an
impressive pedigree. It took a tumble,
and as a result needs extensive
repairs to its mechanism, casing and dial.
This is most certainly not a solo project.
-Are you bringing me a gift, Steve?
-I am, yes.
Oh, wow! Goodness!
First port of call is ceramic restorer Kirsten...
I would suggest, actually, a coloured fill on that.
-OK, that would be great.
-Yeah, I could do that.
...while woodworker Will is going to attend to the clock's damaged case.
-I've got a little job here for you.
-What on earth has happened there?
Yeah, so it's either an earthquake or a poltergeist.
Right, well, it must have been a really angry one,
because this looks absolutely battered.
It is in such poor condition.
-Leave it with me.
This is a huge job.
There are massive cracks going inside the structure there.
Scratches to the veneer.
Missing veneer, loose veneer.
And that's it.
He says! There's lots of work to be doing, though.
Lots of work needing to be done.
Now Steve can address the area that took the majority of the impact -
the frame that held the clock's glass, known as the bezel.
So, at the moment, I'm just trying
to figure out the best way of straightening the dents in
this bezel. I need to get a glass fitted into this bezel,
and the glass will be circular.
So I've got to make a perfect circle.
Not sure how I'm going to do that at the moment.
I'm just scoring a circle, so that will give me something to work on.
It's a long way out.
Metals expert Brenton is working on
an old hand mirror with a broken handle.
But before he can piece it back together, he needs to take it all
-Now I've established this is brass and I need to get this lovely
porcelain thing out of here, because I cannot heat this up.
It is quite loose now, so I think I'm going to give it a little go and
see if that will pop out of there.
There we go, look at that.
Oh, it's even got some nice writing on there.
It's got, in script,
"Madame de Crequy," which is obviously a French name.
Some extra digging reveals that the name on the porcelain is also the
subject of the portrait.
The Marquise de Crequy was an 18th-century aristocrat and woman of
letters who wrote about court life from the reign of Louis XIV
through to Napoleon.
Now that the Marquise is safely out of harm's way,
Brenton can reattach the broken handle.
I've got to get this lined up, so that when I solder this,
this is at the right angle, it's not moved that way or that way.
So what I'm going to do, I've put my
solder paste on the joint.
I'm just going to heat it up till the solder paste melts.
It's important to heat it evenly so that you don't heat one bit up more
than the rest of it and make it
twist or go out of shape.
Fingers crossed, that's done.
Right, I've soldered this back on here now. It's nice and strong.
And this bit here is brass.
This bit was gold-leafed, so I'm now going to apply some size
to this and then some gold leaf to it.
Size is a type of adhesive used to attach gold leaf to a surface.
Once the liquid is applied, it has to be left until it becomes tacky.
I've got a sheet of gold leaf there. I'm going to put this
mirror down on the gold leaf and pick it up,
Then I'm going to turn it over...
and then, with a brush,
I'm going to very gently work this into the mirror.
So we're just really gently dabbing it on, and it will stick to the
size, where the size is, and wherever there isn't any size,
the gold leaf just falls away.
Across the workshop, Lucia is having to delve deep into her conservator's
box of tricks to tackle the heat-damaged and badly ripped
I'm securing the paint along the edges of the very long tear that we
saw. I'm using isinglass.
It looks like plastic. It's actually fish glue.
It's very compatible with the
adhesive that's been used to prepare the canvas originally.
I'm using a heated spatula at quite a low temperature.
The idea is, the warmness of the glue starts to soften with that
lifting paint. And hopefully,
the lifting paint will flatten and reattach itself to the canvas.
The adhesive also softens the threads that have been stretched,
so I'll be able to push those back through to the back of the tear.
This is a piece of nylon gossamer,
so the patch goes over the tear.
It's a very light patch, but actually very strong.
For the next stage of the painting's revival,
Lucia turns to another of her own talents.
She must now paint her own repairs to blend in seamlessly with the
original artist's work.
I'm just doing the first stage of retouching,
and what I'm doing is knocking out the white filler
that I've put in. So I'm putting in, basically, a base coat,
and I'm actually using watercolour.
The artist's palette is actually a fairly narrow palette of colours.
So the colour mix for this palette will be earth colours.
There's a lot of yellow ochre in here, a lot of lead white.
This bluey-greeny colour down here
will be Prussian blue and yellow ochre.
There's actually no green in here.
So what I'm actually doing with the base coat is very basic,
mixing up a yellow ochre with a
little bit of titanium white just to make it a shade lighter.
You really are working with the painter,
and working out how they've worked.
It's really fantastic to be able to do that.
Steve is using a three-pronged attack to get a beloved but badly
damaged clock back in business.
I'm very happy with the way that has worked out, actually.
That would be good for a good number of years,
until the next poltergeist comes along.
This is an almighty task,
and with the 200-year-old mechanism completely dismantled,
there's no turning back now.
This clock's come up really well.
I've put it in the clock-cleaning fluid and taken it out,
and then I've scrubbed up every individual piece.
I do like to see a clock like this looking bright and shiny,
the way that it would have been when it was brand-new.
I've popped a new main spring into the barrel...
and I've got a new line to pop on as well.
The new line is a steel cord which transfers power from the main spring
to the clock's wheels.
So I've now got Joanna's clock
After hours of painstaking fine brushwork,
a repaired and revived painting of a Thames pea-souper is beginning to
emerge from the fog.
So, how are you getting on with Neil's painting?
-You all right?
-Yeah, good. It's a long process.
It's a very bad tear.
-But you've fixed that. Look at that!
-I've actually just patched it.
-You've put a patch on the back.
-Yeah, you can see it, it's sealed on to that tear to hold it together.
And then this bit, what's going on here then? There's quite a lot of damage, though, isn't there?
A lot of damage. Somebody has had a go at retouching.
And, in actual fact, this white here, it's a bit difficult to see in
this light, but this white here is
actually the sun coming through this murkiness,
-this smog of the pea-souper.
-And that was actually covered up.
-So it's a lot more, sort of, there's a lot more going on in that area.
-I get it. That's quite cool, man. You've got a fair bit to do, haven't you?
-Yeah, quite a bit to do.
So you're going to get rid of all of this, blend it all in, like you do?
This is a daylight light.
You can see it casts a light across the surface of the painting.
So that's why this is all really pronounced,
-because this light is picking it up.
-So you're seeing it in a very...
So when you take that away, I won't see all of that?
-Well, you'll probably see some of it!
-Right, well I'm going to leave you.
-I'm not a wizardess.
At the metalwork bench, Brenton is returning the ceramic portrait to
the delicate brass hand mirror.
So that's Madame de Crequy sealed back into her frame.
I'm really happy. This has come out really well,
and it's back to its original self again.
The mirror had been hidden away, unused for decades.
Restored to its former glory,
it's now ready to be reunited with its owner, Cherith, and her husband,
-Hi. All right? So, remind me what you brought me.
I brought you a porcelain mirror with a handle that I broke when I
-Well, we've had a little go at it,
and we're pretty pleased with what's happened. I hope you are as well.
-Oh, my Lord!
Gosh, it looks so different!
I'm frightened of picking it up now, with the handle.
It's like bringing back memories of when I was ten.
It's absolutely beautiful.
You forget what it looks like whole,
because I've looked at it for so many years in pieces.
So, what would your grandmother think now?
-Aww! I looked after it really well!
It's gorgeous. You've done such a wonderful job.
-I'm glad she never knew that it was broken.
-She knows now.
-She does know now, yeah.
-I think she'll be pleased, though, that we got it fixed.
-She knows it's fixed.
-We like to put smiles on people's faces.
-Well, you certainly did that.
-Thank you ever so much.
-No problem at all.
OK, there you go. Thank you.
Absolutely thrilled with the mirror.
It's been in that box, broken, for 40 years...
well, more than 40 years.
It's also nice, as well, knowing that it's repaired and that it'll go
to the next nurse in our family.
Lucia's giving a final once-over to her restoration of the damaged
painting, but before it can be
returned, there's still one piece missing.
-Right, frame's all done.
-Great, let's have a look.
And I've lined it as well.
Oh, fantastic, brilliant!
-Yeah, that's saved me a job. That's great.
Let's see if it fits.
-Look at that.
-You see how tight a fit it is now?
-Hardly any space.
With the painting now back snug in its frame,
it's ready to take pride of place in the home of its owners,
Neil and Viv.
-Lucia, you've got some visitors here.
-Hi, Viv, lovely to see you again.
-Nice to see you again.
-Hello, Neil, nice to see you. OK, are you ready?
Oh, my goodness! O-o-oh! Oh!
-I am absolutely stunned at how that has repaired.
-I just can't see it. I mean...
I was expecting to see some sort of a dent there or something.
Well, in actual fact,
when I'd done the moisture treatment and pulled all the threads of the
canvas together, they all kind of went back together again, really...
-Well, it's had a surface clean.
-I like the rowing boat now.
-It's just so much clearer.
-It is so much clearer,
and the oar and the little waves that come in there.
So where's it going to sit in the house when it goes back?
We're arguing about that, because if I put it back in the same place,
-there's a possibility that it might get the same rip again.
-So, who won the argument then? Where's it going?
-Oh, you... Say no more! So where is it going, then?
It's going back in its original spot.
The painting is on the wall and there should be no problem
-OK. Well, it's a great painting.
-Hope you enjoy it for years to come.
-I've missed it.
-I can't say "thank you" enough.
-Yeah, I've really missed it.
-You've done a wonderful job.
-Well, thank you. Well, I'll wrap
-this up for you, and then you can take it away.
Lucia's done a brilliant job, you know, really has.
I'm really thrilled, I really am.
It's better than I hoped it would be,
and I can't wait to get it home.
The Repair Shop squad has joined
forces to rescue a notable timepiece.
The beloved clock is nearing the end of its long road to recovery.
-Hey! Oh! Doesn't that look good?
-It's very good, isn't it?
-Are you pleased with it?
-I'm really pleased with it.
So your task now is to get that in there,
and then another happy customer.
Just one final push to get this
distinguished piece ready for collection.
I'm now going to fit the bezel on,
and hopefully it'll be...
-all OK now. If I can find the right hole.
Someone was just looking down on me right then.
Good. OK, let's pop it into the case.
There we are.
The Repair Shop's work is complete,
and not a moment too soon.
Joanna is back, ready for the familiar tick of her dear old clock.
-Nice to see you again.
-It's lovely to see you.
-I'm really looking forward to seeing that.
-Right, OK, I won't keep you in suspense any longer.
-Right, there we go.
That's incredible! Look at that.
Oh, my friend.
Thank you so, so much.
You're very, very welcome.
It's been a real pleasure to do.
Sounds wonderful. That's, that's the sound I want.
Thank you very much.
It is just a lovely-sounding tick.
-I think so.
-And Will's done an awful lot to this case.
-Somebody's done an awful lot to it!
Will, can you come over?
It is amazing.
More than delighted!
I almost want Steve to take it all apart again on the inside so you can
see the amazing job that he's done. It looks beautiful inside.
-Can I have a look?
-Yes. Let me just swivel it round for you.
Oh, gosh, wow!
Goodness me. That's fantastic.
Thank you so much. Thank you both very much.
-Thank you very much.
I don't think it's ever looked so good. Certainly not in my lifetime.
It's an old friend being given a really, really good face-lift.
I feel my house has got its heartbeat back now.
Join us in The Repair Shop next time,
as the team tackles more extraordinary items that have seen
and gives them a new lease of life.
Silversmith Brenton West tackles a broken hand mirror containing the portrait of a mysterious French lady. Painting conservator Lucia Scalisi repairs, cleans and brings some much-needed light to a murky painting of fog on the River Thames. And resident horologist Steve Fletcher joins forces with ceramics expert Kirsten Ramsay and wood specialist Will Kirk to work on a prestigious eighteenth-century timepiece that has suffered a supernatural accident.