‘Please can we have our whale back’, stately home pleads

Over the years the whale – kept at Burton Constable Hall, East Yorkshire – has lost 11 of its 44 vertebrae and much of its left flipper.

It is believed that people took the bones as souvenirs.

One is described as a “really big one” and a “bit larger than a dinner plate”.

The 48ft skeleton, which was described in the classic novel Moby Dick, was washed up in Tunstall in 1825.

After being dissected on the beach, it was mounted on an iron structure in the grounds of the home, and scientists, writers and tourists went to see it.

It has since been neglected and fallen into disrepair.

The restoration project is being undertaken to mark the 200th birthday of Moby Dick writer Herman Melville.

Burton Constable Hall’s curator, Philippa Wood, said the skeleton was “in a dreadful state – it was covered in moss and the surface was very weak”.

Ms Wood said the aim is to “try and rejoin the missing bones with the rest of the skeleton before the major restoration project”.

She added: “There is the possibility of having them 3D printed but then you lose the authenticity so we’d really like them back.

“One of the bones is a really big one – the fourth vertebrae back down from the head – a bit larger than a dinner plate, so I’m sure whoever has taken it knows where it is.”

There is a proposed completion date of 2025, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the whale being washed ashore.

2019-06-18T13:30:13+00:00By |

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