Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Conservation Plan

Last week an invited audience of historians, curators, conservators and Manx National Heritage staff attended seminars at the Castle Rushen in Castletown to discuss Paul Drury's Conservation Management Plan for the Nautical Museum. The two days were very stimulating and absolutely fascinating. The focus was primarily upon the eighteenth century buildings, their purpose and significance. 

Delegates assemble for the conservation seminar

Wendy Thirkettle (archivist), Edmund Southworth (Director) & Paul Drury

There was a great deal of discussion about Peggy by the by, and I particularly valued the contributions of John Kearon, Master Shipwright and historic vessel conservator, and Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager, National Maritime Museum, Cornwall in that regard. We discussed my proposals for the conservation of Peggy in some detail. John and Andy stressed that drying her out, however carefully it is done, will result in considerable shrinkage. This is just something we are going to have to manage and monitor. We also discussed the desirability of a meeting devoted to Peggy and comparable conservation projects, possibly in a year's time.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Archaeological dig: time lapse

Click here to see the time-lapse footage of Oxford Archaeology North's recent excavation of the Peggy dock. Don't miss the bit near the end of the tide racing in - small wonder the boat cellar floods occasionally....

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Splash and relax!

During the last week we have installed a rather fetching swimming pool at the Nautical Museum, supplied with great efficiency by UK firm Splash and Relax. The pool is filled with seawater pumped from the dock. I have now done some splashing (though not much relaxing) as I submerged the large archaeological finds from George Quayle's dock in it. These include pig iron ballast, ships planking, structural timbers and wrought iron parts from unidentified machinery, a hatchway or door, and a great variety of unidentified, worked timber.

Intex pool, with views of Castle Rushen

Me putting timber finds into the pool

Some of the packages refused to sink....

The pool, full of archaeological finds

I should add that the pool is sitting in the stable yard, a part of the complex that isn't accessible to the public. Whilst it's certainly not in keeping with the Georgian architecture surrounding it, it is only a temporary installation! Once we've had a chance, this summer, to review the finds, we'll build a more discreet and permanent tank in the adjacent cellar to house them. If we are lucky there'll be a bit of summer remaining so that we can reuse the pool for the Staff Swimming Gala (just kidding).