March/April 1998                    112

Gaining a CertificateMuseum logo (3kb)

Collecting the award (18kb)

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, in 1967.
Bell from the HMS Eagle (3kb)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.

John Pickwell 1919-1997

photo (5kb)
With the death of John Pickwell on Boxing Day, 1997, St. Mary's has lost one of its best-known characters. 
John was born and lived for most of his life in the Richmond area of London. He volunteered for the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman in 1939 but      was soon selected for commission. He saw much active service, being involved in the search for, and the sinking of the German battleship BISMARCK, and later in protecting convoys, crossing the Atlantic from the United States to the British Isles.  It was whilst on these duties that he first saw the Isles of Scilly.  He fell in love with them, saying that "We always felt safe, when we were in range of the Islands".

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.
John was a gentleman and will be missed  more than his dogs and their owners.


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