It’s time to dust off your treasures for a great, free day out as BBC One’s ever-popular Sunday evening programme, Antiques Roadshow, comes to the West Somerset Railway at Minehead Railway Station on Wednesday 17 May.
Antiques Roadshow celebrates a special anniversary this year and its visit to the West Somerset Railway at Minehead Railway Station will take place exactly 40 years to the day since the very first recording. On 17 May 1977, the cameras rolled at Hereford Town Hall, as presenter Bruce Parker and expert Arthur Negus welcomed the first visitors.
Many of Britain’s leading antiques and fine arts specialists will be on hand to offer free advice and valuations to visitors, who are invited to raid their attics and bring along their family heirlooms, household treasures and car-boot-sale bargains for inspection by the experts.
Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, who marks her tenth year presenting the programme, said: “The best part of working on Antiques Roadshow is that we never know who or what is going to turn up on the day. The visitors, the objects they bring, their stories and the location all combine to make a fabulous experience that we aim to capture for the viewers. If you are a fan of Antiques Roadshow, curious to see behind the scenes, or just fancy a day out, I would urge you to dig out your treasures and come along – we’d love to see you.”
It is not the first time the Antiques Roadshow has visited the local area and it was during a visit to Barnstable in 1986 that one of the most exciting discoveries in the programme’s history was made was made – a lost painting by nineteenth-century artist Richard Dadd.
‘Halt in the Desert’ had been missing since 1857 and was valued by expert Peter Nahum at £100,000 – the highest valuation given on the show to that point.
Owned by a local couple, the painting had languished in the loft of their family home for years before they took it to the Antiques Roadshow on the off-chance. The watercolour was later sold to the British Museum.
Antiques Roadshow has filmed in Somerset over the past 40 years and this will be the second time the event has visited Minehead Railway Station.
In 1997 they discovered an eclectic mix of treasures and collectables. Among some of the items brought along were a pair of stuffed and mounted fish from the 1920s, estimated to be worth around £1,500; a tiny, rare Beatrix Potter pottery figure of the ‘Duchess of Flowers’ which ceramics expert John Sandon thought was worth £1,600; a Tunbridge Ware workbox bought for £125 which turned out to be worth between £6-8,000; and a ‘drawing’ of the Mask of Cupid by Sir Edward Burne-Jones which art expert Rupert Maas revealed to be a “brilliantly done” copy of the original which was still worth around £1,200.
Antiques Roadshow Executive Editor, Simon Shaw, said: “Our Antiques Roadshow at Minehead Railway Station on Wednesday 17 May marks the start of our 40th anniversary filming, and we feel the locations this year are some of our most beautiful and historic yet.
“Our team of experts and Fiona love nothing better than hearing people’s stories and seeing what items they bring, so we hope as many people as possible come to Minehead Railway Station and enjoy what our visitors consistently tell us is a fantastic day out. Even after 40 years, the magic formula of surprising some lucky guests with exciting news about their treasures is still a thrill for us, the visitors and the viewers.”
The doors open at 9.30am and close at 4.30pm. Entry to the show is free, everyone is welcome, and no tickets or pre-registration are required.
For visitors coming from the Taunton / Bridgwater area, West Somerset Railway is running a very special train service from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead Railway Station. Visit the Antiques Roadshow website to book a free ticket.
Visitors who are driving are asked to use a temporary Park & Ride service which will be operating to and from the fields just off Seaward Way and Coach Park next to Minehead Railway Station. A vintage bus will run to the venue every 15-20 minutes.
Visitors are welcome to just turn up on the day, but if they have an item with a particularly unusual story attached, or perhaps an interesting collection, or large items of furniture, they can let the team know in advance via the Share Your Story link on www.bbc.co.uk/antiquesroadshow
Alternatively, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Antiques Roadshow, BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR.
Please note this is an outdoor event, so all visitors are advised to dress appropriately and protect their objects accordingly. More information on planning your visit, frequently asked questions, and parking information, can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/antiquesroadshow
Highlights of our 2016 Roadshows included a ‘lost’ masterpiece by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, worth £200,000-£300,000, an eighteenth-century doll’s house of national importance worth £150,000-£200,000, and the moment the team reunited the belongings of a World War Two air ace with members of his family.