‘Odd couple’ are reunited

EXHIBITION: visitors Roland and Bernadette Turner with the Merman on loan from the Horniman Museum in London. Photo contributed.
EXHIBITION: visitors Roland and Bernadette Turner with the Merman on loan from the Horniman Museum in London. Photo contributed.
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An unlikely-looking couple are reunited for the first time in 30 years for an exhibition unlocking the pair’s long-held secrets.

Buxton’s very own mermaid is now fin to fin with her former partner - a merman on loan from London’s Horniman Museum - at Derbyshire County Council’s Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

TOGETHER AGAIN: Assistant museums director Martha Lawrence with the mythical pair, reunited at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery after 30 years apart. Photo contributed

TOGETHER AGAIN: Assistant museums director Martha Lawrence with the mythical pair, reunited at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery after 30 years apart. Photo contributed

The mermaid was originally thought to be part-monkey, part-fish. But investigations at Lincoln University show a different story.

Tests reveal her flowing locks are human while x-rays show her body is fashioned from wood and wire.

These details and more are revealed in the Meet the Merman exhibition running until Sunday, May 13, at the Terrace Road museum.

Experts from Lincoln University carried out tests on the Buxton mermaid for student Anita Hollinshead who became fascinated by her while working at the museum as a development officer.

Now studying for a masters in conservation and restoration at the university, she wanted to know more about the Buxton mermaid’s origins and it was during investigations she discovered the mermaid’s former mate at the Horniman.

Anita said: “It’s been so exciting to see the reaction that this research has generated. Mermaids really spark people’s imagination.

“Although I have been able to find out quite a lot about the Buxton Mermaid she is still in many ways a mysterious creature and I don’t think we will ever uncover her whole story.”

Anita will be joined by deputy keeper of natural history at the Horniman Museum, Paolo Viscardi, and Ross MacFarlane of the Wellcome Collection at a talk about the mermaids at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery on Tuesday, April 17, at 7pm.

The event is free but spaces are limited. Call 01629 533540 for details or email buxton.museum@derbyshire.gov.uk

As well as the mermaid and merman, the exhibition features a touch-screen display about the origins of the Horniman merman and a slide show detailing Anita’s research into the Buxton mermaid.