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Discover the Treasures of Wessex

For the next twelve months five leading museums of the Wessex Museums Partnership Dorset County Museum, Poole Museum, Russell-Cotes Gallery and Museum, The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum will be sharing the story of Wessex in the wider world by showcasing an artefact from their own outstanding collections to the other partner museums.

Wessex has a rich history connecting the region to countries around the world. Our links to Europe and Asia date back to prehistory. An eventful maritime history connects our ports to North America and beyond. Local collectors brought back to Wessex exotic treasures from their journeys of discovery around the world. The story of Wessex is a truly global one.

Dorset County Museum's Spotlight Loan Tour: 19th Century Iron Leg Shackles and Chain

Port of Poole Empire Airways 1940 Dish

The Dorset County Museum is pleased to announce from the 10 June to 10 September 2017, we will be showcasing a plate from Poole Museum.  

This dish made by Poole Pottery, with a hand-painted design of the C-Class Sunderland flying boat Canopus (G-ADHL) and a service launch (AMC2) and inscription ‘Port of Poole Empire Airways 1940'; designed by Arthur Bradbury and painted by Ruth Pavely. Diameter: 22.5cm  During the Second World War, flying boat services were transferred to Poole Harbour from Hythe, Southampton and operated by the BOAC, formed in 1940.

The service carried passengers to and from many parts of the world, including key figures of the time. Canopus was the flying boat in which the pilot Arthur Hooper brought President Roosevelt's envoy Harry Hopkins to Britain in 1941, landing in Poole Harbour, to negotiate the Lend-Lease agreement. It is believed that a copy of this dish was presented to Hopkins by Poole Pottery on his departure, presumably through the British Overseas Airways Corporation reception centre which during the war occupied part of the showroom block. An address was presented with the dish reading, 'To Mr Harry Hopkins who landed at the ancient Port of Poole On January 9 1941 on what may prove to the most important mission in the history of democracy, and who left England for America from the same port on February 10 1941.

This piece of Poole Pottery, representing the chief industry of the town, is presented with great respect by the makers'.   Poole Pottery is known and collected worldwide and formed a major part of Poole’s history of ceramics manufacture.

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