Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Private tour of Ilford's pre-historic remains at Natural History Museum, inspires children to learn more about our heritage

The East  Ilford Betterment Partnership has outlined a funding application with the Heritage Lottery Fund, that if successful will see the installation of a life-size replica of the Mammoth skull found locally, in our town centre.  The project which is being supported by Redbridge Museum will include a series of children's and adults workshops on our pleistociene mammalian past.

Gerrard Greene from Redbridge Vision visited the Natural History Museum on Tuesday last week and met with a curator to discuss the potential loan of some of the existing fossilized bones stored in their archives.  These would be used as part of a exhibition of the Ilford of over 100,000 years ago, at a time when the area was a savannah and huge mammals roamed the land in more tropical heat.

On Tuesday 27th August a group of children visited the museum's hidden archives, as part of a private tour with Senior Paleontologist Adrian Lister - to stimulate an interest with our local heritage.  The participants included Hannah Chowdhry, Tatiana Ngeze and Tanisha Ngeze.  The children were able to access bones found at a number of excavations from 1864 that illustrated the range and size of animals that once lived here.  Fossilized remains of elephants, lions, cattle, rhinos and of course mammoths surprised and excited the young visitors.  The children later visited the actual skull labelled "Ilford Mammoth" maintained in the main central foyer of the Natural History Museum and the replica found in the Mammals section of the Museum exhibition areas.

Hannah Chowdhry (9 years) said;

"Touching the bones was very exciting, the fossils were surprisingly tough, from the way they looked I thought they would be much more brittle. The size of the animal's was terrifying!"

Tatiana Ngeze (9 years) said;

"I felt like a VIP, we did not have to queue for the museum and got to see the private archives which most members of the public never get to see.  I was so pleased to see our town with a picture mentioned by the replica skull in the mammals section of the museum." 

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"We are in the process of completing our main application with the help of Redbridge Museum and hope to submit it by September this year.  If our application is successful the project will be undertaken throughout 2014 celebrating the 150th anniversary of Sir Antonio Brady's excavation, that led to the finding of the famous skull."

The EIBP is calling for local people to complete their on-line questionnaire that will assist them with their funding application.  It can be found using this link:

Children feel a lions tooth found in Ilford.

Tatiana Ngeze holding a Mammoth's tooth.

Hannah Chowdhry holding a Mammoth tooth.

Children held an elephant tusk, found in Ilford.

The actual Mammoth skull found in Ilford is one of the NHM's most prized assets.  A replica would be installed in our town centre if our funding application is successful.

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