When entomologist Mervyn Grove Palmer retired to Ilfracombe after a career collecting exhibits for museums from South America, he was disappointed to learn that the town lacked a museum.
In 1932 he opened a new museum in the old laundry building of the Ilfracombe Hotel, displaying exhibits from his own collection as well as items donated by the local townspeople. The museum collection has been growing ever since.
The museum's own website describes it as "a cross between an Edwardian collector’s study and your Granny’s attic". The result is a delightfully eccentric assortment of items. Don't miss the cupboard full of bats, or the intriguing collection of one hundred year old wedding cake samples.
The drawers in the museum deserve special attention. I particularly enjoyed how the moths were categorised into "British Moths" and "Foreign Moths".
The museum also hosts a two-headed gosling, a two-headed kitten and bones from a human foot, "purchased from a young lad for 6d in 1932".Map
4 April 2020