Who is the skeleton in Norwich Castle?

He (I am assuming it is a he) is easy to overlook. Many people wander by and don't even notice him. He is stealth itself, watching the crowds not even notice him as he sits, looking up briefly from his book, in Norwich Castle Museum, in a small linking corridor between the Natural History galleries. It is near-impossible to get a good photo of him (apologies for that). And the photos that are out there on the web, don't say who he is. He has a small key marker saying "2", but I couldn't find an information board referring to the skeleton labelled "2". I asked a member of staff but she didn't know who he was either. Now he looks pretty imposing. He is sat on a slight podium, and looks a good

Looking murder in the face

What's not to like? Another of the gems from the Norwich Museum. The stories of these murderers, briefly: Catherine Frarey and Frances Billing (top) collaborated using arsenic to poison Cat's husband (leaving her free to pursue a Mr Gridley) and Mary Taylor (the wife of Fanny's lover, Peter Taylor, to free him to marry her). They are notable not only for their innovative thinking in days when divorce was very rare, but also as women, very rare as murderers (even today, 10% or less of murderers are women, a gender based difference that I don't think anyone wants women to match men on). John Thurtell was the son of an alderman, who later become mayor. Being less illustrious, he lured William W

Bleached blondes of the savannah

I enjoyed a smashing visit to Norwich Castle Museum a couple of weekends ago. I spent much of my time in the Natural History Gallery. As well as meeting a lovely chap sat sketching the albatross (and discussing Doncaster, "a lovely place for a meat raffle"), I had time to appreciate the plethora of taxidermy. A number of them were still in marvellous condition, if a little paler than they may have started life. The animals are beautifully presented, in a wide array of displays. From top left are lions, bottom left a tiger. Top right, from the curator's office case, are a lyger and tion cub (half breeds of tigers and lions), and bottom right is the "travelling zoo", including a quite blonde l

Big birds of history

Big birds of history. Actually the biggest birds. Ever. (If you don't count dinosaurs). Let me start again. The biggest birds than humans ever encountered. Mostly in history. Because then we killed them all. Leaving just ostriches and stuff. (Which can still be quite scary.) Okay, one more go. On my holidays, I went to the Norwich Castle Museum. In the Natural History section they have an elephant bird leg bone. I have elephant bird leg bones before. Yet somehow when they are stacked on top of each other, the scale really catches up with you. This is a case full of interesting stuff. Bottom right is a gannet skeleton, plunge diving into a guinea pig skeleton (of course), with a passenger pig