Antiques Roadshow: Expert values Florence Nightingale items
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Antiques Roadshow was being filmed from Stonor Park in Oxfordshire when one guest brought in the toolkit, which dated back to the 1800s. Antique specialist Hilary was delighted with the item, which she analysed on the BBC show. She confirmed the age of the toolkit, which would normally be worth hundreds of pounds. But she explained that if the guest could manage to find a paper trail leading to the famous Victorian nurse, the price would increase into the thousands.
Studying the toolkit, Hilary said: “It’s not a professional one – I’d have said it’s a good amateur toolkit, used by a hobby carpenter.
“And is that your link with them?” The owner of the toolkit replied: “No,” before explaining: “My grandfather inherited this toolkit from Florence Nightingale, who was his great aunt.”
She pointed out her grandfather in a photo that accompanied the toolkit, along with the face of the famous nurse Florence Nightingale.
Also pictured in the centuries-old photograph was a group of other nurses.
“These are a group of her Nightingale nurses,” she added. “And their matron from St Thomas’ Hospital.”
“So let’s just think about Florence Nightingale herself,” said Hilary. “She was born in 1820 she was named Florence because she was born in Florence.
“Girls at that time were not expected to have an education – Florence’s father was very forward-looking wasn’t he?
“She persuaded her father to allow her to go to Germany to study nursing, which she did.
“And then of course the Crimean War broke out in 1853 and Florence went up and gathered together a group of nurses.
“So we know Florence went to the Crimea in 1854. Does this is any way fit in with that date? The answer is yes.”
Hilary explained that the company which produced the toolkit was in its prime during the 1850s.
The toolkit alone, without the family connection to the nurse, would still be worth some value, but Hilary gave the owner some advice.
She said: “I’ve got this image in my mind of Florence as she sets to in the hospital.
“She’s restoring this, gouging that, chiselling that with the equivalent of a 19th century toolkit.”
But when it came to the valuation, the expert urged the owner of the toolkit to do some digging for written evidence of being related to Florence.
“But the family link is good,” she explained. “And the date is good. As it is, it’s going to be worth about £200.
“If we can make a paper trail to Florence Nightingale, then we’re going to be talking about £5,000, £6,000 or £7,000 – who knows?”
The significant jump in valuation meant the owner of the toolkit would need solid proof of a Florence link.
Hilary commented: “It would be a major find – if you can find that bit of paper. So I would encourage you to go through those family records.”
The Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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