Egyptian treasures feared destroyed in five-hour London museum blaze
But firefighters say they have managed to save more than 500 objects
Tuesday 26 March 2013
A coin from Queen Cleopatra’s 51-30BC reign, mummies, fragments of tombs from Thebes and stones inscripted with hieroglyphics are feared lost after in a blaze that swept through a museum building in London.
But firefighters say they have managed to save more than 500 objects that were on display at the Cuming Museum in Southwark.
Adrian Whittle, head of cultural services at Southwark council, told the Evening Standard: “Only about one per cent of the collection is on display at any time and the rest is held in storage, so the majority of the artefacts are safe.
“We are still waiting to get into the museum so we can see the extent of the damage. We just don’t know what has been lost yet.”
The collection was started by Richard Cuming, who moved to Walworth from Devon with his family in 1779 when he was two. He developed a passion for fossils after being given one as a child.
His son Henry bought thousands of historical objects at auctions over his lifetime as well as keeping contemporary memorabilia from including theatre tickets, toys and even paper bags before his death in 1902.
The museum was founded by the Cuming family in 1906 and is famed for its 100,000-strong items collected from around the world over the course of more than a century.
The blaze is believed to have started on the roof of the Grade II-listed building in Wansey Street, Walworth, just before 12.30pm yesterday. At its height, more than 120 firefighters were on the scene and the fire was brought under control at 5.30pm. Four fire engines and other support services remained at the museum today. A spokesman for London Fire Brigade said: “It was a really large fire and we are still down there, dampening down the remaining hotspots. We did manage to get 500 artefacts out last night and they are safe but we are still assessing the extent of the damage.”
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Susan Sarandon on David Bowie romance: 'He's worth idolising'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...