Antiques Roadshow guest speechless on review of 1920s mountaineer’s kit “Are you kidding!” | Television & Radio | Showbiz and television

On the latest episode of Antiques Roadshow, the family of famed mountaineer Theodore Howard Somervell were stunned when expert Fuchsia Voremberg valued their expedition tools at £70,000. He participated in the 1922 and 1924 expeditions to Mount Everest and left a legacy for his family, including his grandson and great-grandson.

Sitting with the family and next to the large amount of items they had brought to the roadshow, Fuchsia was immediately blown away.

“So I took the train to Birmingham this morning, and was completely surrounded by hikers en route to the Peak District.

“They never had a kit that looked like this, though, can you tell me a bit about those amazing items you bought?”

Somervell’s grandson explained: “Well they all belonged to my grandfather, I’m the grandson and those two boys are great-grandsons.”

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Fuchsia continued: “And your grandfather is Theodore Howard Somervel, it’s so unreal and a really famous name in the history of mountaineering.

“He was part of the 1922 and 1924 British expedition to Everest?”

The guest agreed: “Correct, and this photograph was taken at 27,000 feet in 1924 at the time, it was the highest photograph ever taken by mankind.”

As she began to take a closer look at the objects, Fuchsia exclaimed, “I mean, it’s hard to know where to start, he had so many eyes in the fire, and we could do a whole program on him.

“Climbing in the 1920s was quite different from the kind of climbing people do today, these climbing irons are forged steel, so I picked them up earlier, and they’re a bit heavy, and I’m not sure if I can climb stairs wearing these, let alone a mountain.

“And those goggles, they would have been a very necessary piece of equipment to keep you from being blinded by the snow when you’re surrounded by the whiteness and coldness of the air.

“You quickly know it’s going to have a pretty bad effect on your eyes, but the Everest expeditions aren’t just famous because they were the first attempts.

“But they were also pretty hard hit by the tragedy of the 1922 expedition, I know that seven hikers very sadly lost their lives in an avalanche.

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“And then on the 1924 expedition, Mallory and Irving disappeared near the top, and it’s still unclear whether they made it to the top of the mountain before they died or not,” she revealed.

The 1924 expedition team also received an Olympic gold medal at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix.

Somervell’s family also brought along some of the paintings he made during his years, Fuchsia adding: “He was a very fine artist.

“I think they’re incredibly handsome, and he had a real sense of composition, so what do you think of all that, he’s a pretty serious great-grandfather to have?”

One of his great-grandsons replied, “He was an incredible man and a fantastic painter, very much up to it!”

“We did some [climbing] when we were younger I would love to climb Everest myself, amazing man, sadly I never met him.”

Fuchsia then got down to valuing everything the family had brought and said, “There’s a lot here, and valuing a collection like this is quite complicated.

“But I can guess, so when you factor in paintings, climbing aids, sketchbooks, it would be something in the region of £70,000.”

About Oscar L. Smith

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