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St Andrews treasure hunt in the quad

History came to life at the University of St Andrews today with the arrival of the BBC Antiques Roadshow and its team of professional antiques appraisers.

Over 3,000 people turned out in St Salvator’s Quadrangle, bringing their treasures and heirlooms for evaluation in the hope of finding out more about their histories and values.

The event comes as the University celebrates its 600th anniversary and the value of its own inheritance.

Graham Wynd of the St Andrews Preservation Trust was among the crowds. He said:

“I think it’s terrific publicity for St Andrews and terrific publicity for the University. It is entirely right that it should be here in the 600th year. There seems to be lots of enthusiasm. I have brought along a couple of items including what I think is a Royal Derby cake dish.”

Jane Watkinson of St Andrews, a graduate of the University, said:

“It’s marvellous to have the opportunity to come. I was about eighth in the queue this morning and watched the crowds building up. I think someone should have warned the experts that St Andrews is cold and that they would need extra clothes on – they were sitting looking a bit blue. But there has been a fantastic atmosphere; it’s just marvellous to see the people you have watched on television in the flesh and chatting to people.”

Jane was pleasantly surprised when she had a painting she had brought evaluated by Rupert Maas:

“I brought a picture for evaluation and it turned out it was actually a very good one by a noted artist – John Phillip. I knew the name but hadn’t thought it could possibly be by him until Rupert Maas confirmed it. It’s one of his early ones; a picture of a young girl who I thought was family but probably isn’t so I have further research to do.”

Susie Dunston, Medieval History graduate 2009, said:

“Today has been a fantastic chance to see lots of curious wee things. I work in a charity shop so have brought a variety of things including a teapot, record player and a collection of smoking cards. I’m looking forward to trying to work out more about them. It’s been a great day so far and lots of people have turned up – including a man with a very funky moustache.”

Susan Black travelled all the way from Aberdeen to be a part of the day. She said:

“I decided to travel down today because this will be the only Antiques Roadshow in Scotland this year. I think it’s great for the town. I’ve brought a golfing picture and a score card from the 1984 Golf Open with Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer. It’s been a great day so far.”

Student ambassador and final year International relations student Fraser Macintosh was helping as a steward at the event. He said:

“It has been a great event today – bringing University students, university staff and the people of Fife together under one banner – especially in light of the 600th anniversary. It has been a very exciting period for the University – with Songs of Praise, a Royal visit, and the Royal wedding breakfast all held here this year. Today has been the cherry on top. It has been a lot of fun. Fiona Bruce actually jumped on me this morning when I was pouring myself a cup of tea, and asked me what my ‘red cloak’ was. So I explained to her that it is a gown and not a cloak and we had a great chat. She was charming.”

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