Gallery: Hundreds visit Antiques Roadshow at Layer Marney

THEY came in their hundreds carrying family heirlooms, forgotten antiques found at the back of the attic, pieces of furniture and paintings so big they needed two people to carry them.

Many of the people who arrived at the Antiques Roadshow in Layer Marney Tower yesterday had come for a day out, but most were hoping that one of the show’s experts would reveal that their antique was worth a small fortune.

Mary, from a village near Colchester, did not want to give her full name or address because she had just been told her clock was worth a minimum of �15,000 by expert Richard Price.

“I was completely shocked by that price because I had been told by other people that clocks were not that valuable,” she said.

“It had been left to me by my aunt who died in 1947 and I really didn’t know anything about its history. I knew it was a demonstration clock, but I hadn’t realised it had been made for the Great Exhibition in 1881.”

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Judy and Jeremy Dixon from Saffron Walden had brought in a collection of letters and tickets connected to the engineer George Stephenson who was known as the father of railways.

“One of my ancestors, John Dixon, was an engineer for Stephenson on the Stockton and Darlington railway and these items have been passed down through my family,” said Mr Dixon.

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“They are not worth very much money, but they are valuable to history.”

Expert Paul Atterbury said that one of the items brought in by the couple – a package of letters and maps with instructions not to be opened until 2025 – was one of the most exciting things he had seen all day.

Mr Atterbury added: “A day like this is very hard work for all the experts because there are a lot of people here wanting to know about the items they have brought in and we have to give it to them.

“It’s also very exciting because you never know what you are going to get. Quite often the people who bring things in are telling you about them which is fascinating.

“I’m a railway fan so I was particularly pleased to see some items connected to the Stockton and Darlington.”

Roger Lunn of Stock, near Chelmsford, who brought a large colourful painting to the show, said: “We arrived at 9.30am and there was already a long queue to get in. I had heard that some people had got here at 3am!

“I think most people have come here with an idea that an expert is going to tell them what they’ve got and how much it’s worth. I’ve come because I want to tell the expert about the painting.

“As a piece of art it’s not great, but it’s one of my favourite possessions. It’s like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.”

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