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Antiques Road Trip visits two Cambridge shops


By Mike Scialom


James Braxton and Izzie Balmer outside The Hive and Cambs Antiques Centre Picture: Mike Scialom
James Braxton and Izzie Balmer outside The Hive and Cambs Antiques Centre Picture: Mike Scialom

Two Cambridge antiques shops found themselves in the TV spotlight on Good Friday for an episode of Antiques Road Trip.

The Hive and Cambs Antique Centre, which are nested together on Gwydir Street, were visited by presenters James Braxton and Izzie Balmer for the BBC One show.

Having stopped in St Ives earlier in the day, the duo – plus crew, cameras and assorted cars, including the red MG used for the show – arrived in the city mid-afternoon.

Cambridge is one of the show’s regular destinations, according to Brenda Blakemore, who has been managing The Hive for about 12 years at the Dale’s Brewery premises.

“They’ve been here at least a dozen times,” she said. “Sometimes they spend a fiver, sometimes more, it depends on what they’ve got left over from previous shops.

“The whole thing is four or five minutes broadcast, and the length of time it takes to do that is... a long time.”

She added: “It’s a funny programme – it’s a guessing game, sometimes they make a profit, sometimes they don’t. If I wasn’t a dealer I’d still watch it.”

James Braxton and Izzie Balmer close in on a potential acquisition at The Hive Picture: Mike Scialom
James Braxton and Izzie Balmer close in on a potential acquisition at The Hive Picture: Mike Scialom

Next door at the Cambs Antique Centre were dealers Janet Barker and Sheila Grisham.

“There’s five dealers who work here,” said Sheila, who works for Stephen Hunt, the owner for 15 of the 30 years the shop has been up and running.“James and Izzie buy different things,” she replied when asked about purchases.

“We’re a regular haunt,” added Janet. “They come in, look around, ask questions, buy stuff. They want the lowest price possible.”

“They do it for charitable causes, so it’s like our donation for charity,” said Sheila.

Outside, in the bright sunshine, the red MG finally showed up, having overheated because it been obliged to crawl along in the Cambridge traffic for half an hour. (Welcome to our world.) But when it finally pulled in the segment was set up and filmed without a hitch.

John Redshaw, series producer at STV Productions, said of the occasion: "As always, the new series of Antiques Road Trip is full of laughs, friendly rivalries and great characters as our experts go back on the road to search for weird and wonderful antiques, and hear about local history along the way.

James Braxton and Izzie Balmer, Antiques Road Trip presenters, in their signature red MG Picture: STV Productions
James Braxton and Izzie Balmer, Antiques Road Trip presenters, in their signature red MG Picture: STV Productions

"For this particular episode, antiques experts James Braxton and Izzie Balmer took in three counties - Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire - pootling from antique shop to emporium in a convertible 1979 tomato red MGB.

"In Cambridgeshire, James started by visiting Granny’s Cupboard in Wisbech, while Izzie went to Peterborough Ice Rink to learn about the traditionally Fenland sport of bandy. Izzie also shopped in Hyperion Homes and Antique Centre in Huntingdon, before James and Izzie met up in Cambridge to shop at Cambridge Antique Centre and Hive Antiques Centre.

"Our experts bought some very exciting items on this leg of the trip, including a Victorian jubilee brick, a late Victorian oval wall mirror, a south American drinking cup, an amazonite brooch, a silver miniature chair, a Georgian caddy spoon and a 19th century chair - all which will be sold at Durrants Auctioneers in Beccles, Suffolk on April 26."

Antiques Road Trip is produced for BBC One by STV Productions and returns in the autumn.



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