Town mouse on exotic holidays

However adventurous your holiday, I doubt it will compare to Percy Powell-Cotton’s Edwardian travels. He went off for months at a time, collecting the animal skins to display, stuffed, in a special museum at Quex Park, at Birchington on the Kent coast.

On his honeymoon in Africa, he was slashed by a lion; providentially, he had been reading Punch, and
the copy in his pocket saved him from worse injury. The jacket he was wearing at the time is on display. Of course, it would be wrong to call these field trips holidays although they weren’t exactly work in the commercial sense either. He documented everything, leaving bundles of papers for each expedition, which begin with the train ticket to Victoria station.

The museum can be enjoyed for its dioramas and superb taxidermy, but is also (with an enormous study collection) a scientific resource. Mr Powell-Cotton was not the first individualist in his family. In 1819, John Powell-Powell built a free standing tower in the Quex grounds. It contains no fewer than 12 bells, beneath what looks like a mini Eiffel Tower in cast iron, fabricated locally in Sandwich. In the age of health and safety (the public can no longer go up the tower), such self-confidence inspires awe.