15 AUGUST 1947, Page 16


Sta,—I read with interest Mr. Pope-Hennessy's record of his three days in Torquay, published in your issue of August 1st, but I cannot admire the querulous spirit in which he writes it. He is most ungracious in his comments on the Torquay Museum, through whose courtesy he was able to fulfil his mission, and one cannot feel that his description of it as a place of bones and stones and pop-eyed plaster fishes is a kindly one. It conjures up a picture of a dead and dusty mausoleum of the kind which we curators particularly abhor. Perhaps it was a case of casting pearls which Mr. Pope-Hennessy could not appreciate, and he did not realise the educative work which modern museums are trying to carry out. He does not stress that it was also full of records without which he would have failed to trace his villa. However, I am glad that we were of some use to him, and that we allowed him access to files which normally are available only to members of the Torquay Natural History Society. I am glad also that his views are apparently not shared by visitors to the Museum, who have increased threefold since pre-war days. I am not so qualified to discuss the remainder of his article, but from talks with visitors I have come to the conclusion that they visit Torquay for the beautiful scenery and rest and relaxation. If Mr. Pope-Hennessy desires dance halls and juke boxes, ice creams and penny-in-the-slot machines, then he will find that Blackpool will suit him better. He seems inclined, also, to blame on this unfortunate town the post-war neurosis of the whole nation when he speaks of the aimless and questing crowds. Are things much different elsewhere?—Yours faithfully, Curator, Torquay Museiun.