The Pantiles Arcade opens with a flourish

Nusrat Ghani
VALUATION: Eric Knowles pricing some local people’s antiques

The new antiques centre at the Grade-II listed Corn Exchange is dedicated to fine art and design and showcases everything from furniture and fine art to lighting and chandeliers, Georgian glassware, French & Scandinavian art glass and continental and British porcelain, as well as local Tunbridge Ware.

Eric Knowles, who is also founder of The Hoard Ltd inside The Pantiles Arcade, hosted the charity day in aid of The Pickering Cancer Drop-in Centre on Sunday [July 4]. With over 70 appointments booked on the day, £720 was raised for the Tunbridge Wells-based charity.

Whilst specialists Eric Knowles, Grant Ford, John Benjamin and Loraine Turner were kept busy viewing the many items bought in to show them, the visitors themselves showed just as much interest in the general splendour and stunning transformation now on show in the recently refurbished arcade.

Whilst none of the items presented on the day were valuable enough to change anyone’s lifestyle, there were some beautiful examples of art glass, oil paintings, and even a piece of Zeppelin fuselage.

IN THE FRAME: The Antiques Roadshow’s Grant Ford examines a painting


Speaking about the day, Eric Knowles told the Times: “The big bonus for me was meeting so many kind-hearted people, many of whom are collectors, and I look forward to establishing long-term relationships moving forward.”

The Corn Exchange in Tunbridge Wells was originally the site of a theatre, later used for agricultural trading. It also hosted the £1.1million tourist attraction ‘A Day At The Wells’ from 1990 to 2004, which welcomed over 100,000 visitors a year in its heyday.

The Hoard will be open to the public from Thursday [July 8].

Anyone with any queries, or wishing to buy any of the items on show, can also get in touch via the website:

Photos: David Bartholomew

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