tv Eyewitness News at 4 CBS December 20, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
each man has left me a struggle. all i have is their sweet words ringing in my ears, promises. i have had enough of believing men, but not this time. you might not admit it, but you are so angry. a whole history of men, and now you have someone to point your anger at. daniel parish, a charmer, handsome, a man life has been kind to-- the injustice of it in your mind makes you blind to what is true. and you know what is true, do you? robert timmins, almighty. i know reason. when i met daniel parish, i doubted him, but as i got to know him, i believe him. let me ask you this-- did your emma ever doubt you, the very man you are? why? in't a true man always a true man? in't there a reason we have doubts? suppose you let go of your own fixed ideas.
suppose you took in the possibility. i'll tell you why you are so determined to prove me wrong-- because if you stand still for long enough, you will have to admit it. you doubt. alfie, i'll tell you what i know. emily mullins ain't no more than a foolish, feather-haired girl. ( patience crying ) let me tell you what i know. she was waiting. gentlemen. emily, you might think you have to protect him, but you don't. whoever the man is, you owe it to yourself, you owe it to your ma
to speak out. you're young. your whole life hangs on this moment. you must find the courage to speak. you think it will help, you all think it will mend everything if i say. it won't. i know what this means. i know what i'm doing to my ma, the pain i've caused. emily, you were seen waiting up by the spinney. who were you waiting for? i will never say who the pa is, do you hear me? i cannot. and if you want me to leave, i will. i will go. no, my darling, no. this is your home.
what are you doing out here at this time, queenie? i might ask you the same question. oh, robert is turning in his bed like a 2-year-old. i know i did the right thing, selling that chair. i had no choice. but still i doubt myself. when that tallyman comes by again, i shall buy it back from him. what about the rent? what is she up to now? i shall her ma she's skulking about at night. i shall go after her. no, emma. emily is beyond reaching. only she herself can undo this business. leave her be.
( emily crying softly ) money? i saw him give it emily. mum, i asked daniel, and he promised me it weren't him, and i believed him. seems we have no choice but to accept that daniel has a charge to answer. i ain't never gonna believe no one ever again. but it still doesn't make sense to me. it isn't quite clear. mum, if i may, it can't be much clearer than money, in the night, in secret, from him to her, in secret!
i think it could be clearer. something is missing, still. ( door opens; footsteps ) laura, what are you doing up? i can't seem to sleep, ma'am. thought i might take a walk. there is such a chill in the air, i will not permit you to go out. sit with us and have some toast with lashings of hot butter, hm? why are you two up at this hour? the money! i mean my money! it's been keeping me awake what i should do about it, so i'm gonna keep it until i'm more wise. is it the shovel that's vexed you, or is it the earth? i'd as well be on my own today, twister. i've been thinking, a person betrays you,
the reason it hurts so bad is because you love them, perhaps. twister, i in't in the mood for you to stand there and tell me every little twitch of a thought you might have about feelings or love or... i in't in the mood. it isn't the shovel or the earth that's nettled you, is it? a kindness. a simple, well-meant kindness from a kind person. i snapped and i snarled. why is that? so much emotion, and i have no notion where it come from. ( chuckles ) what? would it be... a girl? daniel. i have always considered myself a good judge of character. mostly. where my daughter is concerned,
i am so protective, my wife says i am impossible to please. is that the reason for your visit, mr. timmins? emily mullins was seen, waiting in a quiet spot until she was disturbed. seems like she was... waiting for someone. then you came along. i can understand how people might make something of a coincidence like that, under the circumstances. you're saying you were not there to meet with her? if i were meeting emily, would i arrange a spot where we could be so easily found by twister and alf? that sounds to me like the answer of a man who can turn a button into a shilling. i'm asking you to accept that i'm honorable in this, mr. timmins. interesting word, "honorable." not quite the same as "innocent." if you were the father of emily mullins' child,
you would not sit before me now without every bone in your body shaking in fear. you would not dare look me in the eye, as you do now. but you do hold a secret about you, so i decided, there must be something else. am i right? i cannot say. you must. i cannot say. let me warn you-- i know my daughter. if you lose her trust, you will not get it back. i realize how this must feel, our laura. no matter how much you believe in daniel, it creeps in, that fear and doubt. ma, i have no doubts about daniel.
i know. i know that. but still. it can haunt the best of us. it can be so disturbing. i can see it in your face. ma, please, stop. stop talking. stop saying "daniel daniel daniel." i cannot bear it. this is not about daniel! this is not what you think. you all suppose you know me. you do not know me. i am more than daniel's girl. i am more than your daughter. i am more than miss lane's assistant. i have my own life, my own emotions. i cannot abide one more day with you supposing that-- ( sniffles ) well! where did that come from? i received a letter... from fisher. fisher bloom. i know which fisher. aren't many fishers out there. what did he say? oh, lordy.
ah. lord and lady strumpshaw have received a telegram. shall i fetch laura, mum? i believe i will deliver it myself, minnie. laura, your pa seems to think i'm in danger of losing your trust in me. i would never do anything. i'd hope that you see that. i don't know what your pa might have said to you. has he said anything to you? because there is nothing i can't explain. laura, you have no reason to doubt me. i don't doubt you, daniel. i can feel something. you're not the same.
has your pa spoken to you about this? it might be that you're concerned that-- why must it be? why must everything i feel be about you? i am only trying to impress upon you that whatever you might hear, i am true to you in this. do you see? in all of this, i am always true to you. i... i must get back. please, tell me what is troubling you, and i promise you, whatever it is, i can answer it. you're wrong, daniel. you cannot answer it. ( seething breath ) master raymond is gone, emily.
his parents have sent him abroad. the carriage has taken him to london. he boards a ship tomorrow. raymond is hardly more than a boy. he must do as his parents say. it is him, isn't it? i do not know why you cannot tell your mother, but it is not for anyone else, certainly not for me, to tell her. can't you speak to her about it? what is daniel's part in this, emily? why would you go to see him in the night? child... the only way to mend this is to talk. let those around you help. ( door opens ) mrs. mullins. excuse me intruding, but i wanted to see how emily was faring.
is that so? well, you in't never called in before to see how we was faring, has you? it occurred to me if there was anything i could do to help. why do you suppose we would want your help? sitting here in my cottage, like you own the place! mrs. mullins-- bessie-- it's all very well for the likes of dorcas lane, the life you live, and you sit in judgment on us. you have no idea what it means. my wish to help is genuine. but i cannot tell you what is the truth of all this. only your daughter can do that. you know something, don't you? you know it is him. is that why you're here? did he send you? no one sent me. you know, i can see it! ma, stop this, please! oh, i hope your conscience torments you. i can only repeat,
my wish to help is genuine. how many years have i done right by you? now i make one mistake. i am human. i have failings. i never intended to hurt you. the tallyman will come back this way, and we will get your chair returned to you. then perhaps i can have your head where it ought to be, next to mine. emily! what are you doing there, emily? show me. you show me, girl.
( gasps ) i know that this is. so-called help. ( coins jangling ) what is it, mum? a savings book, and it is yours. and is my money in it? it is. mum, a savings book is more exciting than a petticoat, innit? i wouldn't go that far, minnie. and i kept a little aside so you might buy yourself some toffee. savings and toffees! ( brass bell rings ) we don't want your money. i don't quite follow.
this is not my money. it in't for the likes of you to meddle in my business. it isn't money that we want-- it is a bit of justice. believe me, much as it might make me feel a little better to use my own good fortune to try to ease your burden, giving money is not what i meant by help. it in't from you? i promise you, it is not. but this money might tell us something. how many people could afford to do this? not daniel parish. consider. who could afford this kind of money? someone who has been in contact with emily these past months. ( pained gasp )
ohh. twister, it's the tallyman. not gone once, but twice. but you know i'd have bought it back for you. you do know that now. twister is hurting so much because i didn't tell him what i was planning. i kept him in the dark till it was too late for him to do anything. i felt i had to, or he would stop me from doing what was needed because of how he is.
i was right. he would. ( door opens ) then we'd have no money to pay the rent. and i was wrong because if you can't be true to the one you live with and the one you love, your ma, if you keep this hid from her, she will be tormented, and, how she is... she will never let it be. you could give her some peace by telling her, whoever the boy is. there's no shame in this, emily. how could i say it were master raymond?
my ma would charge up to the big house, rail at the gates, cussing. jz about this? there was such fear in his eyes when i told him. truly terrified. he said he would come meet with me the next day. but he didn't come. i had to tell someone. i asked where raymond was. i knew daniel was a friend of his. he said he would speak with him, but the message he came back with-- ( weeping softly ) it wasn't possible. his family... insisted... on denying everything. so... i realized
if i said that master raymond were the pa and no one believed me, what would that be like for this child, to live their whole life with that? i couldn't let you do that to the child, ma. if everyone knew, i'd have had to run away. i had to hide it from you in order to stay here, to be with you. oh, my petal. look what i have done to you, with my need to take on the whole world. mr. parish.
i want to apologize to you for saying the things that i said, accusing you, here on the street. i know better now. all you ever wanted to do was help my daughter, and i caused you nothing but woe and trouble. and other folks too. robert: so, daniel, seems master raymond has gone away. abroad, on a boat, i hear. quite... sudden-like. i believe it is considered good for his education. you gave that money to emily from the strumpshaws, didn't you? the family wanted to help. without admitting responsibility. that is usually the way.
it is something. yes, i can see that. daniel, come for a meal at the end house. our children are keen to learn that trick with the button and the shilling. for once in my life, i have come to ask advice before i do what my temper is telling me to do. and what is your temper telling you to do? to take this money up to the big house and throw it through those gates. and why would you do such a thing? because i feel bought. my whole family bought. nothing more than slop to be disposed of. and you'd be right. you are being bought. that's the way of things, no denying it. come here.
sit. listen. if you decide to throw that money back at them, i will stand beside you and i will shout louder than you do of all the wrongs in this. then what? you've had your moment's glory. what about emily? what about that child, that little one's life? their needs? what about that? you keep the money, or you throw it back, it won't make any difference to them up in the big house. it might... stir their conscience for a while... but their actions will remain the same. swallow your pride, bessie. hold your tongue.
you in't still angry with me, is you, alfie? i only meant to interfere. i mean, not to interfere! i mean... to interfere, but not mean to interfere. minnie... i'm sorry... for saying what i said. what i want to say is, why did i speak so to you? it was like... my feelings... was more than my reason. am i making sense? no. because... looking at you... minnie...
dorcas: minnie! ( knock on door ) laura! laura! minnie, are you in there? ( knock on door ) goodness. laura, aren't you supposed to be going over to lark rise for lunch? i thought that i could do it, but i can't. daniel is knocking at the door for you. i cannot face it. to walk over there with him, to sit with him and my family. i feel dishonest. i'm in such a confusion of feelings. and am i right to imagine it has nothing to do with emily mullins?
"it seems inglestone have lived too long in the shadow of candleford. they've decided they want a town clock." ohh. oh, dear. "they so admire the candleford clock that they insist on employing the same clockmaker." fisher bloom? when? he is on his way. ( indistinct chatter ) ( low ) you know something about this, don't you? ( sighs ) i wish i didn't.
laura: hamlet folk often said that you could see gossip coming out of mrs. mullins' mouth like steam. her own troubles weren't to stop her from doing what she did best. and she only went and sold his easy chair without so much as asking him. i know it for a fact! ( both chuckle softly ) candleford was a small town. in a small town, the slightest of disturbances does not go unnoticed. and this little world of ours had surely been disturbed. hello, fisher. laura. she the reason you came back? nothing matters more to fisher than the road. some things matter more. a challenge. the railway? on our doorstep? i've seen what happens to a town when it gets a railway, miss lane. i've seen post offices die. and miss lane says mischief night is when we should cast off all our cares and enjoy some naughty pleasures. is that so? show the world laura timmins ain't bottled up. can you not see, laura, what fisher coming here has done to us?
hertford is one of the oldest colleges in oxford, dating back to the 13th century, and it was one of the first to welcome women students. good thing, too. i spent three very happy years here. fiona: it was like suddenly being transported onto the set of brideshead revisited. i was continually struck by the sheer beauty of the place. in the grandeur of the bodleian library, i could read any book i wanted, from dickens to dante. i could stroll through the sheldonian, where i finally graduated. and my student essays might've been thrown together at the last minute, but i could scribble them in the splendor of the radcliffe camera, right next to my college, before seeking vital refreshment in the pub, of course. one of my abiding memories of my time here is being asleep in my room, usually till about mid-day, and then being woken up by hordes of tourists right under my window. they'd all come to see the room of the famous author evelyn waugh-- just here.
and he wasn't the only well-known alumnus. there's been a bit of a rash of news readers here-- natasha kaplinsky, christian guru murphy-- i've been known to do a bit of that myself. must be something in the water. and yes, here i am, looking proud as punch with fellow students at the end of my first term. okay, bad hair. but it was the '80s. all in all, this has the promise of a nostalgic day as we welcome visitors to the quad at my old college, hertford. with the help of the people of oxford, it should bring back a few memories. a dear aunt always had it on her sideboard, and in all my years of growing up, we called it "auntie's beetle vase." she came by it in about 1937. she took in lodgers from oxford university, and some of them, i believe, were quite well-to-do, titled gentlemen, and as a means of thanking her when they left and went home from the university, they gave her gifts,
and i'm thinking that perhaps that was one such gift. that certainly fits in, because this has never, ever, been a cheap piece of glass. this has always been, frankly, an outstanding piece. it's art glass, made by the daum factory in france. we know that. it's no secret because the name of the factory-- daum-- right. was the name of two brothers who founded the factory. yes. nancy is the town where they worked. yes. and this was made in about 1910 in art nouveau style. it's a complex piece of glass. a series of layers of glass were formed-- blown together with successive layers. one color, dipped into a furnace, to pick up another color... right. and then repeated to kind of get a gobstopper effect of concentric colors. it was taken out of the mold, and whilst it was still hot, these molded forms of beetles were placed onto the hot glass.
so, the beetles were heated up. a little bit of foil has been placed on the glass, and then a second piece of glass laid on top, and all of these differently-colored beasties were laid onto the hot glass... right. and then the whole lot was cooled. all together, a pretty swanky piece of glass. nice. and a very nice present. daum is a highly sought-after factory, and its value today would be in the realms of... you selling at auction, this is £5,000. good heavens. how 'bout that, then? well, she'd be very pleased, if she were alive, to know that today. she had no idea, i think, that it was valuable. we just loved it as children. best thing. i'd like to imagine... that i've invited you to afternoon tea. and i want to impress you. and this is the ultimate tea caddy on a stand, called a teapoy.
it's such a beautiful looking object. very ornate, isn't it? very. ultra. ( laughs ) and as you were sitting on one side of each other, i open up the lid, and what you notice immediately is the colors inside are even more vibrant, because of course, it hasn't had any exposure. yeah. four tea caddies, each for a different tea. right, do they do english breakfast, then? i don't think so, but we'll have a try. earl grey, or-- earl grey. well, we could've had chinese tea, black tea, green tea. a mixture of the leaves into the mixing bowls, and then, on another table, we would've had the hot water, and all the drinking cups and everything to make a wonderful afternoon cup of tea. but the ceremony and the display was what's important.
you must love this. i do. i've always loved it. from when i was very small, being able to open it up and the-- the lily of the valley inside has always been one of my favorite things. yes. it belonged to my father's great aunt minney, who must have been born in the 1870s or so, and it's been in my family ever since. so, you've known it all your life. all my life, yes. we can date this around 1845 to 1850. right. i'm just going to tell you a little bit about its construction. yes. it's made of papier-mache, and if we take-- this is my favorite canister-- out-- and i'm just going to shut the lid, because i just want to tell you a little bit about how it's made. now, the box, or the top, and the caddies, are made of papier-mache. right. and because, obviously, it needed support, the stem will be wood. right. all coated with a black japan ink and then decorated.
and the firm that one normally thinks of with its very high quality papier-mache items is a firm called jennens and bettridge. and they were the firm, in the 1840s, '50s, really popularized the inlay of mother of pearl abalone. and what you can see here, where the color hasn't faded at all-- you've got all the bright, the vibrancy coming up from the shell which is underneath, but here on the lid... of course, with a bit of ardent polishing, all the detailing of the petals has been lost. right, yes. so, this is how it would've originally looked. stunning. absolutely fantastic. yeah. have you got it in a safe place at home? it's in a very dark corner of my bedroom. all right. because we were always told not really to get the light to it. well, that was very good advice, and of course, the problem here-- it's got a caddy top. you can't use it as a flat surface. no, no. it's a beautiful but useless piece of furniture, really.
( laughs ) well, thereby hangs the rub-- not very useful in this teabag-friendly world. and of course, that has an effect on its value, but i think if you went out to replace this retail, if something happened to this, you'd have to spend somewhere around £1,500. right. i'm not allowed to sell it. ( laughs ) my sister would kill me before i sold it. so, it will stay in the dark corner of my bedroom. now, i spend quite a lot of my time going around charity shops, because you never know what you might find. i know you work in a charity shop. don't tell me this is from the charity shop. it is. it is. where did it come from? i actually went to buy a few bits of china to sell in the charity shop, right. and i went to a local little auction, and bought a box of miscellaneous china for £3.
including this? for £3? that was in the bottom of it, yeah. when was this? 1940-something? oh, no, no, it was about march this year. right. afterwards, can you tell me the name of this little auction place? ( laughs ) um, well, i'm amazed. it's a lovely piece of wemyss pottery, which i think you know. it's clearly marked on the back, "wemyss ware, r.h. & s." which is robert heron and sons. and it's just really a super piece. what made you think this shouldn't go in the charity shop at £3.50, say? we didn't. somebody took an instant dislike to it, and came up to me with a broken heart and said, "i'm sorry, i can't fit it in the bin." and i said, "well, you can't just do that." i said, "we actually need to research and see who's-- where it's come from." so, i went on the internet and found out who wemyss are. thank goodness you did. this could've gone in the bin. what a tragedy. it wouldn't fit. ( laughs ) too small a bin. thank goodness for small bins in oxford. that's exactly what i said. well, it-- it's a gorgeous piece. it isn't signed, but i'm pretty confident
it was painted by somebody called karel nekola, i thought so. who was the main artist at the factory. yeah. the way he's painted the bird and the leaves in this very free style he's done is typical of him. it was made for a "nellie." nellie could be anybody. and it's something which is gonna be worth a little bit more than £3. we thought it might be. so, i am quite confident, in a specialist wemyss sale, this would be making somewhere in the region of £800 to 1,200. what? wow. that's great. so, now you know it's worth a little bit more than £3, what are you gonna do with it? well, maybe enter an auction. and then, all money-- and the money, helen & douglas house. every penny. so, that's a good profit on £3. and what does helen & douglas house do? it's children's hospice. well, that's a very good cause. i'd better give it back to you in that case. and don't put it back in the bin. try not to drop it. thank you. it's a pleasure. as a dedicated railway enthusiast, of course, i've come across references to the george bennie railplane, but... i've never really thought about it.
why have you got all this stuff? because george bennie was my uncle. he was my late mother's favorite brother. but sadly, i never knew him. oh. now, unfortunately, because he spent a tremendous amount of the family money, he rather fell from grace from being mother's favorite brother to a less-favorite brother. well, let's have a look at what he was trying to do. what he was proposing was a system of railway transport whereby passengers travel in... yes. a sort of dynamic, streamlined car, suspended from an overhead track... correct. on gantries. yes. now... it wasn't his idea alone, was it? oh, no, he was just developing an idea that other people had brought up. the system was propeller-driven. yes. uh-- it was a cross between an airplane and a ca-- and a train. yes, it could be powered either by internal combustion engine or by electric motors. yes. we're talking 1929, i think, aren't we?
that's when the test track was built. well, this was really the peak of exploring new ideas. high-speed travel, with... over the horizon, the train was seen as practical but rather old-fashioned. right. so, here's the interior, which looks like a deluxe passenger car of any transport system at that time. there were, obviously, different interior designs. yes. there would be the more utilitarian design, but that being a test car, it was kitted out in pullman style to create a maximum effect. so, a test track was built. at milguy, north glasgow, yes. and actual trains were run. well, the one car shuttled up and down on this test track. so, there we see sort of the principle, don't we? yes. these very smart, sort of art deco stations, a bit like cinemas. lovely, aren't they? lovely. and so these would zoom in and out, and slower trains would go along the track below. yes, that's right. so, he is offering us-- or, offering the world-- high-speed travel in 1929. he was. and what happened?
unfortunately, it hit the depression. and money wasn't available, he failed to get backers. he could not get it built, other than this test track, upon which he spent masses of the family money, and unfortunately, in the process probably lost a lot of investors, really, as well. and he produced all these very lavish brochures. oh, he produced some wonderful brochures-- promotional brochures, yes. had he succeeded, it could have been the answer to the future. we could have now had wonderful high-speed elevated railways over all the main-line tracks. yeah. how the world would've been different. the country would've looked very different, wouldn't it? we'd have been traveling at 2 or 300 miles an hour as a matter of course. yes. i think a sort of reflection of how it might have been is this wonderful evocative image on mecano magazine. 1930. that's it. mecano magazine, very much looking to the future. they're actually saying, "look, this is how it might be." they say that in the end, when the system was-- the test track was demolished in 1956, that he died of a broken heart, because he had never-- it'd never been fulfilled. no.
well, as i say, it's a "might-have-been." indeed. the value is the fact that we've lost, potentially, something that could have changed all our lives. particularly mine. and-- well, yours. you'd have been a very wealthy man. i could well have been. i'd have got here much quicker. yes, that's right. yes. these are obviously very collectible. you know, we're looking at £50, 100 per document. yeah, i'm not interested in the actual value-- that's neither here nor there. it's family history. but i think the most important thing is how it would have changed our lives. exactly. these are two pieces of jewelry-- they're both broaches-- yes. but they are so extraordinarily colorful. they're so vivid. tell me a little bit about them. well, um, i think i was given that one from my mother. she had it first, but she didn't wear it, actually, and i've worn it a great deal. uh, this one i haven't worn so much, because it's very heavy. it's rather bad for the clothes, as well. makes a hole, you see. let's just have a look at it and discuss what it's made of. the immediate response when you see it is that it's a painting,
but it isn't, it's a prime example of 19th-century mosaic. yes. it's florentine mosaic, and we have a name for it. it's called pietra dura. dura, yeah. and what they're made of-- all these little colored stones are individual hard stones. chalsedony, sard, lapis lazzuli-- that's the blue ones there. now, they've inset them, artfully, skillfully, in black belgian slate. oh, really? how interesting. and then they've taken the plaque, and they've mounted it in a bright yellow gold frame. 1865 to 1870. right. can i just turn it 'round and you can see that the gold is a solid gold plate at the back in a dish-shaped frame. i see. so, this is a good piece of jewelry. yes. can i move on to the next piece? yes, please. tell me a little bit about that. tell me about this broach. well, i wear that...
quite often when i have something it looks right on. mm-hmm. which i haven't for a little while. well, in about 1825 to 1830, this was the era of very gushy jewelry, where you would have these wonderful expressions of sentiment and love. yes. so, for instance, things like hearts, keys, padlocks... oh. even little cupids with bows and this sort of thing. and they're supposed to convey the great love and sentiment that i feel towards you. yes. each gem has its own particular resonance. um, turquoise for forget-me-nots, rubies for passion, marigolds for jealousy. the language of flowers, you see. now, if you take the first letter of each of these little gem-set drops, starting off with "ruby"-- "r"-- e-g-a-r-d. so, a ruby. there's a diamond at the end. there's a sort of smattering of colorful gems, all with their own significance, so, you know,
a lovely message of love and sentiment. "regard." or, it could be "dearest." yes. or it could be your name spelled out in gemstones. really? i've not seen that. turn it over. there... there's a tiny little locket-back compartment there to put a little tiny plume of hair. so, it's got all the ingredients. yes, yes. have they been valued before? no. i think that the mosaic broach today, in its-- in that condition, £1,500 to 2,000. whoa. yes. now, that's good, but then you look at this piece here, yes. and this is so charming, and so delicate, and so sensitive. i think if this were sold, you're looking at about £2,500. right. yes. so, you know, you say that you wear it all the time. yes. take care of it. oh, yes. it's a beauty. i'm very careful with it. thank you very much, indeed. thank you very much. fiona: this was fast turning out to be a day of surprises for visitors to hertford college, and for me, too.
it's years since i was a student here, but across a crowded quad, i spotted my french teacher, anne, chatting to one of our specialists. yes, i think i'll-- sorry to interrupt, but here is a face i recognize. it's you, anne. oh, hello, fiona. i know, how nice to see you. fancy seeing you. goodness me. wonderful to see you. i'm amazed you remember me, actually. i was a deeply unremarkable student. no, no, that is just not at all true. don't have to rewrite history. i can remember the papers you took and how well you did. oh, that's very nice of you. i always guessed that you were going places. well, well, that's very sweet of you to say to me. for it not with french, actually, as it turns out, i mean, i thought-- italian. do you use italian more? no? well, i used it when i was a reporter on, you know, news programs and newsnight and things, but no, not that much. not that much. i'm sure it's helpful to have it, though, wasn't it? it was helpful to have it. it was helpful to have it. a wide culture, and all that. how amazing to see you. oxford provides. it does. i've got a little confession, actually, which just comes to mind now that i've seen you. i remember once-- 'cause you were so kind when i was a student, and i remember in my first term, i hadn't done my essay, and i was really upset about it,
and i went in and i was a bit tearful, and you said-- you were so nice-- you said, "is it problems at home?" and i remember thinking, that sounds better than "i haven't done my essay", so i said, "yes, it is." i see. and i felt guilty about it ever since. well, i-- i remember that you suggested the college should have a woman's tutor who looked after the women. oh, yes, i did. and now the college does. two, in fact. for undergraduates and graduates. it's become a great industry. i mean, a great thing. those were my rad fun days, as they say. you felt that, you know, the person's tutor shouldn't be the person you went to with your troubles. i know you did, but those were minor troubles. when you have big troubles, you would have someone quite different. and so, we instituted that, and i remember you asked me if i would be that. i did? yes. oh, that's right, yes. and now it's in the whole-- you know-- it's online and everywhere. so, i started something. you started something, absolutely. so you see, you were a remarkable student. no, i certainly wasn't, but it's very lovely to see you. well, it's lovely to see you. absolutely lovely. i can't believe that somebody who owns a lovely table like this
doesn't know what the wood is. do you know what it is? it's laburnum. do you know where it comes from? no, i know nothing more about it than that. laburnum grows mainly in the colder climes, i.e., in the british isles in scotland. it's a very, very slow-growing wood, and you see it in chairs, and it's pretty unusual-- or i can say rare-- to see it in veneered furniture. and you can see quite clearly the way it's veneered here. if you look at this, what's called quarter veneer here, the way that these stripes all point into the center. which is taken from french 18th-century veneering techniques. but what's so extraordinary... at first glance, you might think these are separate pieces of wood. the yellow and the greeny, stripey wood. yes, yes. but it's actually-- if i do it like that-- that's actually one piece of wood between my thumbs. oh, how wonderful. so, what they've done-- this is the heartwood, the dark. and the yellow is the sapwood. normally, sapwood is chopped away because it's not very strong. but here they've kept it to give this wonderful, wonderful stripey effect. i mean, that really is an art in itself.
and it's created something, to me, which is almost like a modern piece of furniture. what date do you think it is? would it be georgian? well, yes. 1740, 1750, something like that. but let's look at one of the reasons for giving it a date is this type of leg. this rather nice, very thin leg here. and this beautiful little thing called a lappet. just a little knee. it's just a knee joint. simple english or british piece of furniture-- 'cause i don't know if it was made in england or scotland, and i don't think we'll ever know. shall we show everybody how it works? yes. so, this is classic. if we just turn it 'round. yes. i'll go around this way. there we go. we've got a catch here. let's have a look at that. this beautiful, beautiful little catch. brass catch, pierced and decorated, so that was meant to be seen and enjoyed by somebody, not just hidden away. so, does it need to be...? let's... see if it can do it here on the grass. here we go. and under here, we should have-- yes-- we've got that. lovely. ah, it's lovely.
oh, i've never had that out before. i'd noticed it there but didn't realize that it came out. but it keeps it solid when it's open. yes. now, open it up... hey, presto, a card table. but the point of it is... now on all four sides, you've got this laburnum veneer. it's a beautiful square, rectangular, complete object in the round now. that's what's so clever about it, and that action is called a concertina action. you see it in walnut. i haven't seen many pieces of laburnum, apart from chairs, in my career at all. did you buy it a long time ago, or is it something you just inherited? about 25 years ago, i think. and i-- i can't be sure what i paid for it, but i should think it was under £7,000. i think, you know, if you bought this from a good, high-street antique dealer today, i think you'd have to certainly expect to pay at least £15,000 for it. gosh, i'm jolly glad i bought it when i did. well done, you. ( laughs ) thank you. i'll treasure it.
well, he's wearing a crown, but when you look at him, he's hardly the king of bears. he's the tiniest, sweetest bear, which sits very comfortably in the palm of my hand. now, do you love him? well, i-- i love him, and i have known him for a long time, but i've never owned him, and he's not mine now, actually. oh. he's in my care. now, tell me who owns him, then. well, my sister, who's older than i am, and, um, the story is-- and i know it's true 'cause i was very young at the time-- she actually found him, and, um.. in what circumstance? well, she was in-- walking along, i think it was about broadstairs, or ramsgate, along the coastline, and he was in a kilner jar. no! a message in a bottle? well... sort of. there was a piece of paper, evidently, but the writing had gone, so that wasn't... and in the family, he's been known as "kilner." ( laughs ) and so... he's got a bit of a checkered history we don't know, but-- it's interesting, because looking at him,
first of all, you know, he's wearing this crown. but he's also wearing something else, which is a sort of faded green and yellow striped braid, and on it is something that looks remarkably like a bp logo-- british petroleum. now, i'm not sure whether bp ever made a sort of promotional bear. maybe they did. well, my sister assumed it was bp petrol, and it gets better, because she actually took that to a bp petrol station and went in and asked if anybody knows about bp bears, and in doing so, she actually met her husband. no. it was absolutely incredible. and the bear brought them together, and they were together for 43 years. that's the most remarkable story. well, in a way, he shouldn't be called "kilner." i think he should be called "cupid." so, this must have been in the '50s that she found him. it was, i mean, yes, about. well, he would've been new then. he's-- he's a bear dating from the 1950s.
he's made by a company called shuko, a german company who made all kinds of toys, and may be part of a little-known bp publicity or advertising campaign. i would have said that the value's going to be around £200. really. perhaps between £200 and 250. how lovely. and who knows? if there's a soft-hearted somebody out there who loves the story, it could go for even more. incredible. but a dear little bear-shaped cupid with a wonderful story to tell. how lovely. it's a big autograph album. it's a heavy one. and roughly how many autographs are there in there? there must be at least 500. really? and where did it come from? my father collected them for the whole of his life, um, from the 1920-- early 1920s in calcutta where he was born-- he was indian-- and then he moved on to new york... right. uh, and then south america, and then finally london. so, he traveled all over the world, and this never seemed to go far from him.
if we open it up to some of the people that are in here, we have mahatma gandhi. right. can you tell me, do you know how he got gandhi's signature? yes, i do. this-- this was one of his favorite stories. i gather he spent three whole days outside of a hall where gandhi was in a conference, and failed for the first two days, and i think a security guard took pity on him the third day, and let him stand by the door where gandhi was coming out, and gandhi then said he didn't sign autographs, so, uh, my father... rather rashly... pointed out he had the earl of lytton, who i think was the viceroy of india, yes. and the governor general. two earls. and gandhi's reply, apparently, was "then you don't want a scavenger like me in this book." ( laughs ) and signed in sanskrit, which did disappoint dad a bit, and he asked him if he'd sign in english, but he said, "i'm not english. why should i?" absolutely. but he compromised on the date. with the date. the date was in english. yes.
fifth of november 1924. and if we just go on a few more further, we have here a collection of british prime ministers. well-known ones. jim callahan on the left. winston churchill, obviously, from 1932, above edward heath. and then, if we look over the page, here we have margaret thatcher. dad wasn't well by then. this was his very last autograph. my brother went to downing street to do this. right. but the story is that he had given firm instructions to my brother to get margaret thatcher to sign here. four british prime ministers. right. and when it came back, he thought it was something to do with not signing by a labor politician. a labor prime minister. yes. i think-- my hunch always was that she didn't want to sign opposite edward heath. yes. nothing to do with him. that's my feeling. so anyway, opposite-- she could sign opposite fdr instead. yes. which she might've-- she might've preferred. and from here, we go forward to one of your father's great disappointments, i understand. this was. he, um, asked--
he took it to the embassy to get john kennedy to sign, and jackie, and jackie signed, and he did meet her, and she said that she was really sorry. the president had heard about the book, thought it was wonderful, was going to sign it, and then-- some crisis, and couldn't. but that when they next came to london, which was due quite soon, to contact her at the embassy rather than the secretary. she would make sure he signed it. and of course, in the meantime, he was assassinated. yes. so, um... so, it's dated 1961. yeah. yeah. what a shame. one of the few he missed out. but you've still got 500-odd signatures here. uh, musicians, politicians, historical figures, literary figures, as well. there are some very important and some valuable signatures in here. churchill's signature on its own, for example, is worth £300, 400, or £500. just on its own. i didn't realize that. a gandhi signature, likewise, can be worth £400, £500, 600 on its own. but overall, what you're looking at, probably,
is somewhere of the region of £4,000 to 6,000 if you were to sell it at auction. a beautiful piece of carved wood. where did you get it from? what's the history behind it? it's my father's and it was my grandfather's before that, but i don't know how he got it. you know what it is? no. that's why i'm here. excellent. glad to be of service. well, as soon as you pulled this out of the bag, i thought, "that's a wonderful bit of carving." and it comes from a culture that's perhaps one of the most warlike of cultures. and we're looking towards the polynesian peoples. new zealand. right. the maori. so, how did it get over here? well, i was hoping you were going to tell me that, but of course, you don't know. no, i don't. and that's the wonderful sort of speculative quality of many things we see on the roadshow. where do you keep it? i keep it by my front door. ah. to ward off unwanted visitors. fair comment.