Thursday, April 20, 2006

And Trim came too

We had an old friend to stay with us over the Easter weekend and yesterday we drove her back to Spalding. On the way we stopped off at the small town of Donington to look at the new statue of one of my heroes, Captain Matthew Flinders. When I worked in the local Museum we had a gallery dedicated to Matthew Flinders and I was privileged to be able to do research at the archives in Lincoln and read quite a few of Flinders’ letters home to his family and fiancĂ©e Ann Chapelle. The bronze statue is very attractive but much smaller than I expected and stands at the road side in the market place where his family home stood for many years. Poor Matthew, who is considered a hero in Australia, is little known in his homeland. He died at the age of 40 in 1814 just after publishing his book ‘A Voyage to Terra Australis.’ His cat Trim who sailed with him and also stayed with him during his captivity on the island of Mauritius is depicted at his feet. His grandson was the noted Egyptologist Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie.

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