Lady Mary Wilson presented Len Michell, Chairman of the Museum Association,
with the Certificate of Registration awarded by the Museums and Galleries
Commission to the Museum on Tuesday, 20th January. This is the second
time that the Museum has succeeded in gaining this National Certificate
which is given by the Commission, a government organisation, to museums
attaining and maintaining standards in gathering, conserving and displaying
their collections. Lady Wilson toured the Museum and commented on
the changes and improvements since the opening by Her Majesty, The Queen,
Amongst the artefacts on display was the recently acquired bell of H.M.S EAGLE. This huge brass bell, some one and a half hundredweight and dated1701 was on the 70 gun, 1,099 tons warship, which went down with the loss of all hands on 22nd October, 1707. It was part of the fleet of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, wrecked on the Western Rocks with the loss of 2,000 men, including the Admiral who washed up, more dead than alive on Porth Hellick beach. The loss of the warships was attributed to the fact that the weather was bad; it was impossible to take sun sightings and there was no reliable chronometer to find longitude accurately. One result was that the government put up an award of £20,000 for the construction of an accurate Marine Chronometer. The story is told in Dava Sobel's best-selling book Longitude. There should be a TV programme to tell the story later this year. Watch out for it.
Until Saturday, 4th April, the museum will only be open on Wednesday afternoons from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m., but will re-open daily, except Sundays, on Monday, 6th April, from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Steve Ottery.
After the war John worked in publishing becoming a meticulous proof-reader. He wrote papers for the Mariner's Mirror and was the author of many articles on nautical history. More recently he brought the local museum's "Shipwrecks around the Isles of Scilly" up to date.
He was an active volunteer in the museum and a strong bridge player,
but he will probably be better remembered for his love of dogs. John
frequently took anything from three to nine dogs of assorted size and breeds
for a walk at the same time, usually around the Garrison or Peninnis. His
menagerie was always well-behaved and although he sometimes scolded, he
never shouted at a dog. John also provided holiday accommodation for dogs
whose owners were unable to have them in their holiday homes. A frequent
sign at his flat was "Dog in Residence". He became so well-known
that the Post Office had no difficulty in delivering letters addressed
simply to, "John the Dog", Isles of Scilly. Leaders of walking parties
would time their trips around the Garrison so that their members would
see him in action with his dogs.
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