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Sunday, October 17, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK


UK: Scotland

Magnusson: Inventor's letters belong in Scotland

Magnus Magnusson presented Mastermind for 25 years

Former Mastermind presenter Magnus Magnusson believes Scotland would be the ideal home for historic letters belonging to John Logie Baird.

The ex-quiz master's public declaration comes just days before the documents penned by the Scottish inventor of television go on sale at the auctioneers Christie's in London.

The historic material - which includes 70 letters written between Logie Baird and his financial backer - is expected to fetch 90,000.

Mr Magnusson, who was born in Iceland but regards Scotland as his adopted home, said: "I'm all for having as many things from our heritage back here as possible so we can admire them without having to travel all over the world.

"It would be ideal if they could be retained here. It seems to be something which is of great historical interest."

Few records left

Mr Magnusson said the papers could be retained for study by scholars at the National Library of Scotland, in Edinburgh, or in one of Scotland's museums.

Logie Baird, born in Helensburgh, near Glasgow, in 1888, was probably Scotland's most famous inventor, ahead of telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell.

He studied electrical engineering at Glasgow University, and after initial success in Scotland pursued his work while living in Maidstone, Kent.

The letters are some of the few records documenting his trials as an inventor, including an experiment ending in an explosion which split his trousers.

As well as the written material, a 32-hole scanning disk - believed to have been used in Logie Baird's historic demonstration to the Royal Institution in 1926 - will also go on sale on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the National Museums of Scotland declined to say if a bid was going to made.

She said: "In terms of acquisition we never comment on whether or not we're going to bid. If we do - either way - it can affect the price of the objects so we can't actually say."



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