Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Thanet District Council and sea shells

On Monday the 27th January the TDC artefacts management task and finish group will be meeting at 19:00 hrs in the Austen room. I expect a lot of progress has been made since the last meeting and it does look as if there are going to be many issues discussed.

I haven't been blogging for a while, and time is spent researching and facebook. However I have this concern to share with you all. Many readers over a certain age will remember the Cobb shell collection that was once on display in the old Margate library in Victoria Road Margate until the early 1970’s. The collection, a Victorian collection was collected by the Cobb family in collaboration with the locally  renowned Dr Arthur Rowe who was a conchologist amongst many other things. According to old TDC documentation dating back to November 1991 the collection consists of 17,000 sea shells and was loaned to the Powell Cotton Museum (PCM) in 1989 on a 25 year loan ending this month January 2014. The Margate Museum reference for the collection is T. 1437. 
Also within the shell collections are carved shell cameos and some I know were retained by the Margate Museum as they were displayed up until a few years ago. They are of Italian origin and are of some value and I have been researching them and their whereabouts.

 It all sounds just a formality and the collection will be returned this month. However, this is Thanet after all and it is not as easy as that. In December 1991 it appears the shell collection was given to the PCM  a month after the chief executive of TDC signed documentation that referred to the collection as being a loan. I do find this rather strange because if each individual shell was given a nominal value of £1 regardless of size, quality and rarity. Then the collection could be rated as being worth £17,000. So who in their right mind would give such a council asset of that value away?  No doubt TDC will come up with a logical explanation at the meeting.

At present the current situation with this collection is that the sea shells have never been displayed at the PCM and it looks like they will never be displayed. They are stored in 70 boxes and the good news is that PCM are willing to return them back to the public collection should TDC accept them.

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