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Paul was born in London in April 1945. His mother Audrey Atterbury was a puppeteer with the BBC. Known for her work with the programmes Andy Pandy, Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men, the Wooden Tops and other children's series. His father, Rowley Atterbury, was a typographer and printer who set up the innovative Westerham Press.

Educated at Westminster School in London, the London School of Printing and the University of East Anglia, where he graduated with a BA degree in Art History. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Keele.


His career started in the early 1980s with regular appearances on Thames Television’s Afternoon Plus and with TV-AM. In 1990 he was invited to join the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow team of experts and has been a familiar face on the programme ever since. He has also appeared on The Great Antiques Hunt, The Antiques Detectives and The Antiques Show, and presented an episode of Timeshift about great ocean liners.


Paul has written or edited over 50 books on art, antiques, ceramics, silver, sculpture, canals, railways, travel and the First World War. At one point he was Britain’s best selling railway writer.



Over the last forty years Paul has given well over 2000 lectures to societies, groups, universities, museums, galleries and other institutions all over Britain, and in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where he has completed six lecture tours. He has also lectured extensively on cruise ships operated by P & O, Cunard, Regent, Fred Olsen, Saga and Noble Caledonia and has worked for ten years as a lecturer and tour leader for Martin Randall Travel.


Paul has curated many exhibitions for museums and galleries, including several for the V&A in London.

Since the 1990s he has lived on the west Dorset coast.

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