19th century Solomon Islands canoe arrives at
Maidstone Barracks for restoration
A mid-19th Century canoe brought to the UK by explorer Julius Brenchley is being restored before going on public show at Maidstone Museum, close to where we live in Kent, England. I hope to be able to let you all know when it goes on show. Curiously, the work’s being done at Maidstone Barracks.
Here’s the museum’s press release:
Canoe leaves museum for a year to undergo a revamp
A canoe has now left Maidstone Museum for a year’s worth of restoration work.
The 143-year-old Soloman Island fishing canoe left the St Faith’s Street museum yesterday (Thursday) to go to Maidstone’ s army barracks.
The 25-foot vessel would have been crewed by eight people and was collected by Julius Brenchley in 1865 when he travelled through the South Pacific.
While at the 36 Royal Engineer Regiment in Royal Engineers’ Road the wooden canoe will be housed in one of the hangers, where it will be worked on.
Eight people helped get it onto the removal lorry and once it had made its short journey down the road, Maidstone’s Royal Engineers helped get it into the hanger.
Conservator Justin McMorrow will be repairing and restoring the piece to bring it up to display standards. This will include cleaning; strengthening it to ensure it will stay together for the next few years and consolidating it meaning repairing parts which have previously broken. It will eventually end up as one of the key exhibits in the new East Wing of the museum.
Keeper at Maidstone Museum, Giles Guthrie said this canoe is going to be one of the ‘wow’ objects of the museum and was pleased the canoe made it in one piece. He said: ‘This piece has to be conserved because it’s an unusual item. The fact Julius Brenchley managed to get it back is a test of his ability’.
For much more on boats from cultures around the globe, go to Bob Holtzman’s great weblog Indigenous Boats.