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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 07:33 GMT
Museum has hopes for neckerchief
Ye Olde Rag
Museum staff call the neckerchief "Ye Olde Rag"
A Napoleonic neckerchief discovered in a Cornwall village could be put on display to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The red and white scarf was found under the rafters of a cottage in Mousehole and has been declared to be about 200-years-old.

The scarf, which bears the slogans "The British tar will humble the might of France" and "the Navy of Britain secures the liberty of the world", was found in September.

The Penlee House Museum in Penzance hopes the crumbling cloth with its striking mottos and designs can be part of display being planned at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

The fact that it has survived is remarkable
Alison Lloyd
Staff at Penlee House affectionately call the cloth "ye olde rag".

Museum director Alison Lloyd said that it was a rare find, although it was a garment that was quite common when it was made.

She said: "The kind of things that stand the test of time are things like medals and important works of art - things that were meant to be kept.

"This was mass-produced cheaply, you'd wear it for a week, that bit of jubilation would pass by and then you'd then put it in the bin.

"The fact that it has survived is remarkable and it's a very exciting find."

In Penzance, local maritime historian Clive Carter said the slogans on the scarf conjured up images of what the world the was like at the time and showed how Napoleon was considered a major threat to British security.

"Mount's Bay itself was a rendezvous point for convoys. Ships would come home and then split off and go to other places, or wait for their escorts.

"The French had privateers and there were heavily-armed luggers that would hover off the bay and try to hit the convoys.

"So, there were quite a lot of clashes between these vessels."

Images of the cloth have been sent for dating to the Politics and International Relations Department at Oriel College, Oxford University.

Department head Mark Philip said such material is very rare.

Awards recognise museum
19 Jun 03  |  Cornwall
Napoleon's wallpaper sold at auction
16 Oct 03  |  Shropshire

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