A 147-year-old, nearly 8 foot tall, close to 700 pounds piece of history has returned home to New Brunswick and is officially now on display.
The figurehead of Prince Victor, who was the grandson of Queen Victoria, is now in the hands of the Quaco Museum in St. Martins, where the ship it adorned was built and launched in 1870. It was outfitted with the carving in Saint John. It was one of the largest ships ever built in St. Martins, and sailed 'round the world a dozen times.
The Prince Victor ship met its demise after it capsized while travelled on the Severen River in the U.K. and was disamantled, including the figurehead — which ended up being chained to a plum tree in a local man's yard for 75 years, then stored in the basement of a museum in Gloucester until a few years ago. Through a series of events, the Quaco museum ended up buying the figurehead last year and bringing it back home since August of last summer.
"It's almost like winning the lottery, but it's better because it's really more valuable," says Bartlett. "This is an exceptionally magnificent carving...it's one of the few objects that we as a museum can point to and say this object came off this ship which was built right here in St. Martins."
Bartlett says this Prince Victor figurehead reminds us of the importance of our history.
"It really should give New Brunswickers a sense of pride and what we have here as a province," he says, "and this is just a symbol of it and a reminder of what our potential really is."
There's an open house for the public to check out the Prince Victor figurehead this weekend at the museum from 2pm to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday. It was officially unveiled on Wednesday.
You can hear Eric Bartlett tell the story of the Prince Victor and its figurehead on our weekly news magazine this Sunday at Pulse NB, which airs after the 9am news and again at 9pm on 94.1FM.