Sunday, 19 May 2013

The will of Dr. Arthur Walton Rowe.

Pressing ahead with my investigation into the TDC art & artifact collection I now have the benefits of the Margate Historical Society research engine. I have now drawn the conclusion that no individual or group of individuals are responsible  and the problem is entirely due to the fact that this entire mess is down to TDC giving the collection such a low priority for thirty nine years.
Surely someone at TDC must have realized when they embarked on art, culture and heritage as a regeneration project that they themselves are sitting on a collection once described in their own reports as a "seaside history collection of national importance".

 One of the get outs I am expecting from TDC is that the problems are "historic" and I have had early indicators that this maybe the case for the defence . However it is by research as far back to the very roots of the collection that a full understanding of the provenance of the collection needs to be established something that has never been done.   So with the benefits of the Margate Historical Society research engine we are looking into the will of Dr. Arthur Rowe  whose bequest in 1926 formed the very roots of the collection.We already have a list of items from Dr. Rowe's notes of  72 pictures and prints  he bequeathed to the town of Margate in 1926. So what does the will have to say ?

The trustees of the will were Dr. Rowe's son in law Francis Lamont Cassidy and Margate solicitor Cyril Collingwood Maughan.  Given the amount of the items given to the Corporation of Margate there is not a lot of detail.
 On page 2 of the will  items 6 & 7 read as follows;

"I direct my trustees to offer my collection of Fossils to the British Museum (natural history) through Dr. F A Bather F R S Keeper of the Geological Department for a sum of no less than five hundreds pounds and if this offer is not accepted I give this collection to the Sedgwick Museum Cambridge . My Trustees shall also offer  to the British Museum my collection of local pottery"

"Should the Corporation of Margate wish to have my collection of books pictures and prints and are in a position adequately to house them but not otherwise I bequeath these articles to the Corporation"

Dr Rowe also had a shell collection in cabinets but these were bequeathed to "my faithful and  trusted  scientific colleague Miss Gladys Tansley". This does rule out that any of the 17,000 sea shells owned by TDC are part of the Rowe bequest. However it does state clearly that Dr. Rowe's collection of books,pictures and prints  were bequethed to the Corporation of Margate. In 1934 it was published that the Borough of Margate had 2075 items from the Rowe bequest and that is the start of the paper trail that will eventually lead to local government changeover in 1974. There is no mention of archaeological items.