Winston Churchill's top hat and cigars liberated from a rubbish dump - and valued at £10,000

Robert Mendick
Antiques Roadshow specialist Mark Smith (right) values David Rose's set of items once belonging to Sir Winston Churchill - PA

Cigars, a cigar case and a top hat once belonging to Sir Winston Churchill have been found on a rubbish tip.

The items were authenticated by an expert on Antiques Roadshow, the long-running BBC programme, after they were brought along by a member of the public who worked at the dump. 

David Rose, who claimed to have three sheds of salvaged antiques and other artefacts, said: “I’ve worked there for like 15 years and I get to pull out whatever I like, mostly antiques.”

Mr Rose refused to tell the programme-makers the location of the dump where he found the Churchill memorabilia, preferring to keep the secret to himself.

In the episode staged at Eltham Palace in south east London and broadcast on Sunday night, Mr Rose explained how he discovered the cigar and hat along with more than 200 letters written by a mother, who worked as a cook for Winston Churchill, to her son.

In the letters, she gave a detailed insight into Churchill’s everyday life. “She used to write to her son every day about the daily goings of Winston Churchill, what he was getting up to, how he was feeling and just interesting stuff about him,” said Mr Rose.

The items he found in the dump appeared to be gifts from Churchill to the mother, including a signed photograph.

Mark Smith, the Antiques Roadshow specialist who viewed the memorabilia, said the authenticity would have been in doubt had it not been for the detailed letters that came with the hat and cigars.

Mr Smith valued the whole collection at £10,000, an amount Mr Rose then described as “crazy”. 

Mr Rose remained tight-lipped about the location of the dump, claiming “dozens” of people had asked but no-one had been told.