Hundreds of Antiques Roadshow fans flock to Kirby Hall

Fiona Bruce, presenter of Antiques Roadshow
Fiona Bruce, presenter of Antiques Roadshow

Hundreds of people flocked to Kirby Hall near Corby on Thursday (June 5) clutching their precious heirlooms and treasures to be part of BBC One’s Antiques Roadshow.

The first person arrived at 6am and by 9.30am queues were forming as visitors waited to be directed to one of 25 experts from the programme who were seated in the gardens and ready to reveal more about the prize possessions, from paintings and furniture to jewellery and toys.

Geoffrey Corken from Corby was there with a figurine of a potter and a vase he wanted to hear more about.

He said: “They have been passed down through the family. I don’t know anything about them or their value. It’s exciting waiting to find out more.”

Corby musician Ray Brett was there with a guitar he believed was about 100 years old.

Expert George Archdale was unable to tell him more about it or give a valuation because it had no markings.

Ray said: “I’m not disappointed but it would have been nice to find out more.”

The sun shone as visitors arrived at the English Heritage property, said to be one of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th century houses.

Among the team of well-known experts on hand were Bunny Campione, Eric Knowles, Paul Atterbury, Hilary Kay and David Battie, along with a 100-strong production team and around 30 local volunteers who acted as stewards.

Presenter Fiona Bruce, now into her seventh year on Antiques Roadshow, said she still enjoys the excitement of never knowing what will turn up to be valued.

She said: “The only thing I knew I would be seeing today is a carved chair based on the MPs’ expenses scandal. We never know what will come through the doors.”

Fiona, who collects samplers, added: “I’ve always enjoyed antiques, although I didn’t have many, but I’m by no means an expert.”

She recently spotted what she thought was a fine painting which turned out to be a portrait by Van Dyck, bought for £400 and later valued at around £400,000.

Fiona said: “That will never happen again on the Antiques Roadshow.”