The repair shop | On the box
Jay Blades and the team bring four treasured heirlooms and the memories they hold back to life.
Today’s first barn arrival is not only a cherished family heirloom, but also a tale of survival in the face of adversity. This Jewish prayer book belonged to Gary Fisher’s Austrian grandparents, Emanuel and Gisela. They were unable to leave Austria after it was annexed by Germany in 1938 and were eventually sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp. Although many of Gary’s family members did not survive the camps, when the war ended, Emanuel and Gisela were freed with the book. Signed by many other camp residents, it is an important document of the time and a treasured family asset. This delicate restoration and conservation project is in the hands of barn book expert Chris Shaw, who will need all of his bookbinding skills to preserve this unique and treasured item.
Mark Stuckey’s audio expertise will be tested by the next shipment from the barn – an aging and badly damaged radio brought in by Geoff Allum and his wife Jane. This radio shows all the signs of the crazy adventure in which she accompanied Geoff and his late cousin Donald. In 1971, they embarked on a two-man rowing boat to cross the Atlantic from east to west. It took them just over 73 days and the radio was an essential tool in their journey. With just a sextant for navigation, listening to the BBC World Service gave Geoff and Don an accurate time of day to help them establish their location, track their progress and work out how long they would need to keep and ration their precious supplies of fresh produce. the water. Although the radio is badly damaged and hasn’t worked for many years, Geoff hopes that Mark’s expertise will allow him to hear it playing again one day.
Next to get to the barn, a sleek mid-century futuristic chair brought in by Tracy Dodds and her daughter Florrie. The chair was purchased in the 1970s by Tracy’s father, Guy, a fashion and design enthusiast. Not only was it a bright white closed egg design with red stuffing, but inside it contained a hidden secret that delighted Tracy and her siblings – a set of speakers who would envelop the babysitter in the sounds of their father’s favorite Elvis tunes. Unfortunately the speakers haven’t worked for almost 30 years and the chair itself is showing its age, with the shell and upholstery deteriorating. Bringing this stunning piece back to life at its best will require a combination of the talents of barn upholstery expert Sonnaz Nooranvary and resident electronics genius Mark Stuckey.
Finally, Ramzi Al-Nayazi brought a precious toy from his childhood to Iraq. It’s a mechanical horse racing game from the 1950s, and Ramzi fondly remembers his whole family gathering around the game, cheering on the horses they had chosen. Ramzi brought the game with him when he left Baghdad, but it hasn’t worked for many years, and now he can’t wait to play it again with his own family. Runners and riders are going to need the modeling and mechanical skills of David Burville and the expertise of fabric-lover Sara Dennis to get them back across the finish line.
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