Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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St Cuthbert's journey - from Davy Jones's Locker to the Vaults of Greenwich
If you've been following the saga of my grandfather Percy Bowman's account of the wreck of the St Cuthbert in 1908 and my subsequent attempt to donate it to the National Maritime Museum, you will know that last time I checked in, in June, they had expressed interest but that confirmation would have to wait for a meeting of Collections Development Committee. Everything went quiet for a bit after that, but I've now heard back, and I'm happy to say that my grandfather's book (complete with the Wrexham Golf Club accounts, penned by my grandmother in the back cover twenty years later) is now going to Greenwich.

According to the Museum, the memoir "relates to the key areas of maritime disasters and stowaways, and is particularly interesting as a contrast to the Naval Court’s findings of the incident on the St Cuthbert. The detail relating to the problems with the lifeboats also forms an interesting parallel with the Titanic."

This inspired me to seek out the findings of the Naval Court - which I'd somehow neglected to do before. They are here, and do indeed give a very different account of some of the significant details, generally in the direction of exonerating the senior officers at the expense of the junior ones, and still more so of the largely foreign crew.

My one disappointment is that the tweedy curators who I'd hoped would be travelling to Bristol to collect the book are too busy organizing an exhibition on Nelson, so I've got to post it. Even without the Royal Mail being privatized, that is somehow less romantic. But altogether this is very pleasing.

At least sending it by post you get to retain your illusions about the tweediness of museum curators...

This is true!

Look on the bright side - if they had come to collect it they'd probably have disappointed you by not being tweedy. Or, probably, curators. I bet they'd send some lowly intern in denim and piercings.

Edited at 2013-09-19 06:01 pm (UTC)

It's not that I'm prescriptive - I'd have been equally happy with a Courtly Codger, a Finicky Fusser or a Jobsworth Panjandrum.

A friend of mine works at the NMM, though I doubt she'd have been sent to collect your book. She is certainly not tweedy (or denimy and pierced, come to that), but could probably fall into the Finicky Fusser category. From what she says, they have plenty of your other two types there as well.

I'm relieved to hear it.

That's excellent news.

The last museum curator I saw wore jeans and a t-shirt, but let's assume it's because Australia is like that rather than that museum curators aren't properly tweedy.

The last museum curator I saw wore jeans and a t-shirt

La-la-I-can't-hear-you! If it's not just like The Story of the Amulet, I don't want to know!

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