The President, Judith Walker, welcomed, not only our usual members for the meeting, but also an overflowing hall of visitors. The attraction was our speaker for the evening, David Barby, the antiques expert and television personality.

David was accompanied by his wife, Janet. David's interest in antiques started when he was twelve. He qualified at the early age of 21 to become a member of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers. Later he joined Locke and England in Leamington Spa and remained with them for 25 years eventually becoming manager and partner. He stars in the television programmes "Bargain Hunt" and "Flog it" in which his fellow experts refer to him as "The Master".

He certainly used his expertise for us during an extremely witty and entertaining talk. Many people had brought items to be valued and David gave an interesting description and comment about all of them. There were paintings such as the little "John Thor landscape", a local artist from the 1800s, which he valued at £800 to £1200. Also, scenes of Naples which would have been souvenir items for people on the Grand Tour. There were many ceramic items including teapots of varying value and plates some of which dated from the early 20th Century when the Japanese influence was strong. A Hornby train and tender with it's original box was valued at about £80 and a most unusual little Japanese ivory carving called a netsuke. These were used at the end of the drawstring on a leather purse worn by Japanese gentlemen. There was an interesting mourning ring with a lock of the departed hair dating from the Victorian period. One lady brought along a very beautiful Lalique bowl which David valued at £800 and he was then told she had 6 of them. David told us about all of these and many more.

At the end of the evening he was thanked by Ann Farr and given a rousing ovation. The committee then served us with tea and cakes.