Today, at the Science Museum, I was tasked with finding out whether a chap called Worcester actually made any of the ship models at the museum. I had said yes but Edouard had said no. It needed some in-depth research.
It took almost all day, head buried in a couple of old files, deciphering strange handwriting and trying to join the dots, but, eventually, I had evidence that he made a couple and some sails for another model. I sent Nick (at work) a six page document, detailing my research.
It seems that Worcester worked under Sir Fred Maze in Shanghai (I’ve mentioned Fred before) and had been tasked with organising the model building for, what became, the Maze Collection of Chinese junks. He was an authority on all Chinese junks. What he didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing.
He also wrote a book about the collection which he gave to the museum. I haven’t seen it but, from all reports, it’s quite the definitive book on junks and Chinese sailing.
Nick wasn’t in the basement this week. He was going to someone’s leaving do tonight and they work out of our storage facility so, rather than having to travel across at the end of the day, Nick decided to work from there for the day.
He was worried I’d be upset about Edouard picking up on a possible mistake. How little he knows me. I explained to him that we are working together and anything we find that we are not sure about, should be queried for the good of the information. None of it is personal.
Then, late into the day, I started researching something called Trinity House.
Started in 1514 with a royal charter from Henry VIII to The Guild of the Holy Trinity, Trinity House is (and has been) responsible for the safe passage of ships in British waters and ports. They look after lighthouses, buoys, pilot operations, etc, all around Britain.
The headquarters is in a gorgeous Georgian building near the Tower of London, standing at the edge of it’s own, albeit small, park. They have monthly tours. While I can’t make any for the rest of this year, I’m thinking I might go in January.
Of course, 2014 will be Trinity House’s 500th birthday. That is extraordinary.