Haslar Heritage Group

When Antiques Roadshow came to visit

BBC Antiques Road show visits Haslar – 10 years on and memories of a wonderful day.
2003 – Royal Hospital Haslar’s 250th Anniversary of opening its doors to the sick and injured of the Royal navy. On the 19th June 2003 the BBC Antiques Road Show visited Haslar to record an episode of the very popular programme as part of Royal Hospital Haslar’s year of celebrations, the programme being aired in February 2004.
It was a beautiful June day and a busy one, with many people of the Gosport and Portsmouth area in attendance and in true BBC fashion all who arrived with treasured processions were seen, advised and treasures valued by the road show experts. The experts were masters at letting expectant owners down gently in that they did not have a million pound treasure.
The programme was 6 months in the planning, with meetings being held on a regular basis between the Haslar Heritage Group and the BBC production team from Bristol. The meetings discussed all aspects of programme prouction, from arranging access, setting of tables for use by the experts, which way the queue would trail around the grounds and many other aspects of the day required planning in detail.
Even the weather was taken into account regarding angles and position of camera shots and the angle of the sun at various times of day, should it shine, down to what would happen should it rain on the day. Every aspect of planning and events for the day was taken into account, including the camera positions and the recording of the programme, which was itself an education. The day before filming lorry’s and trailers arrived at the front of the hospital carrying all the cameras, cables and electronics to set up a recording studio in the Haslar library conference room, where the director and crew recorded and laid down the overall programme. Visiting the temporary studio was very interesting and gave a full insight into how the programme was made.
On the day a long queue formed early in the morning with many eager to be the first. Henry Sandon (Ceramics) worked the queue chatting with all, adding a welcome and spotting various items of interest, including pots and plates. Visitors in their orderly queue filed through the Arcade of the hospital to the reception desk to be advised as to which line to join for valuation. Large items such as furniture were delivered by a removal company the day before.
Michael Aspel, the presenter at the time was charming, as were all the experts and he enjoyed pulling a pint of Haslar celebration ale brewed by Oakleaf brewery especially for the celebration year  
The overall day was a memorable one for all and even 10 years on is fondly recalled and indeed the programme is still being watched by all when repeated on various TV Channels around the world.
Do take time to view the selection of pictures, who knows who you might spot?
Eric C Birbeck MVO

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