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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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TV's Fiona Bruce finds den of antiquity at north Cumbrian castle

Historic items once belonging to nobility made their way home to be valued in front of more than 1,000 people as the Antiques Roadshow rolled into Cumbria.

The imposing grounds of Lowther Castle, near Penrith, played host to antiques experts and those hoping to unearth a treasure as filming for the programme’s 37th series got underway.

One of the most hyped items on that will appear on the popular Sunday evening BBC show was a stunning yellow robe from a Lowther nobleman, castle door knockers and a painting of Hugh Cecil Lowther, the fifth Earl of Lonsdale. It was brought to yesterday’s roadshow by descendant Charles Lowther, now owner of Askham Hall, near Penrith, whose father was James Lowther, the seventh Earl of Lonsdale.

Speaking to The Cumberland News during the filming, broadcaster Fiona Bruce, who is presenting her seventh series, described the grand setting as “like something out of a film set”.

“It’s not very often we come to film somewhere that doesn’t have a roof,” she added.

“It remains so popular because everybody likes to think they have something valuable stuck on their mantelpiece. People like to come and say tell us something interesting about our piece.

“There was a great fixtures and fittings sale here many years ago so we were looking forward to things coming back to the house. That’s what we were hoping for, but who knows?

“However, what I like to see is an item that has a fascinating story, that’s what really captivates me.”

Among the hundreds of items on show was a rare miniature Atco petrol car from the 1930s, brought along by Vanessa Graham, from Cockermouth.

Believed to have been manufactured in 1939 by the lawnmower-making company to teach children how to drive, the car has a fully working engine and gear stick.

“My dad bought it in the early 1960s from somewhere in Cumbria and it was left to me,” she said.

“My mum and dad used to go gliding at Kirkbride airfield and my brother and sister and I used to take it there and ride around in it.”

Being filmed for the show was Steve Mossop, 49, from Penrith with his 1960s Action Man collection.

Self-employed builder Steve has more than 200 figures in total and brought along some of his rarest items. Among them are extremely rare judo and spaceman figures that were valued at around £500.

“Me and my brothers used to play with them when we were kids,” he said. “I found one a while ago when I was clearing out a house and that just started my collection. They crop up quite often at toy fairs and second-hand sales if you know what you are looking for.”

Viewers will be able to find out what the items were valued at when the episode is broadcast later this year.

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