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Edinburgh (Edinboro') Castle Museun Update 1879.

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According to my previous post (see below) there were only 2 tokens for the Edinburgh Castle Museum. Well surprise, I have found one unlisted by Davis & Waters which even has a portrait of T. G. Middlebrook (a nice bonus as I have been unable to find any pictures of him), so now I think I have a complete set of 3 tokens.


One question I had was how he made money from his free museum to afford the huge sums he spent acquiring auks eggs etc. well google books has now answered both that question and the other question "why was it called the Edinburgh Castle Museum when it was in London":


T. G. Middlebrook of the public house "Edinburgh Castle" Camden Town. he kept a "Free Museum in his public house for the interest of his patrons.


He also published an "illustrated catalogue of some of the most important objects of interest....now on view" which ran to at least 3 editions, the third edition had 32 pages (12x19cm).


I have a new question now, what does F.O.S.M.N.A. stand for! Just a guess, Fellow of Science Museums National Association.


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This completes my set of Middlebrook's tokens, all two of them!!! Bronze 28mm by T.Pinches of London.


Edinburgh Castle Museum.

T.G. Middlebrook kept the E.C. Museum near Regent's Park. Why it was called Edinburgh Castle Museum when it was in London, England is a mystery to me.



Tickets and Passes of Great Britain and Ireland By William John Davis, Arthur W. Waters Reprint of the 1922 ed:






177. O: A bugle with a crown above, crest, motto, etc of the XVII Lancers, all within an olive wreath. FREE MUSEUM. THE BUGLE THAT SOUNDED THE BALACLAVA CHARGE. In small letters T.P.


R: Union Jack, and branch of oak, above LARGEST EGG IN THE WORLD, upon a ribbon FREE MUSEUM. Legend: WITH THE SEASONS GREETINGS FROM T.G. MIDDLEBROOK. M. 10





The contents of this museum were disposed of by auction by Messrs. Debenham, Store & Co., Jan., 1908.

T.G.Middlebrook collected the extinct Great Auk (Plautus impennis) Eggs. Looking at the prices he paid (which was then considerable sums) I wonder how he made money from his free museum.


Today, around 75 eggs of the Great Auk remain in museum collections around the world.


Egg Plate #s from "Thomas Parkin's Catalogue of mounted skins and eggs of the Great Auk sold at public auction in Great Britain 1806-1910"


Egg XIV: The egg was purchased by Mr. T. G. Middlebrook, April 23, 1895, for 189 GBP. July 27, 1897,again sold to Mr. T. G. Middlebrook for 168 GBP.


Egg XVI: April 13, 1897 bought by Mr. T. G. Middlebrook for 294 GBP


Egg XVIII: July 19, 1899, by Mr. T. G. Middlebrook for 315 GBP (equivalent to approx 27,850 GBP in 2008 calculated using Historic Curency Calculator


You could travel from USA by Cunard Line to England from £7 in 1900.

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Nice find. It's great when the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle finally come together to provide the full picture. A public house with a difference indeed!


Ian your "the full picture" got me thinking.


The medals spelt the name Edinburgh & Edinboro' and as you can see the pub is still in business.


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Fantastic! I am now left to wonder if the current owners have even the remotest idea that the pub has this history and fame attached to it.


The wheelie bins have the same visual effect as verdigris though :ninja:

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Very interesting. It's nice to have a "complete" collection of the medals. Nice piece of history. Have you ever gone to the pub?

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Very interesting. It's nice to have a "complete" collection of the medals. Nice piece of history. Have you ever gone to the pub?


No, but it would be nice to drop in & have a pint & show the medals around.


I found a listing for:


Brook, David. “Mr. Middlebrook, the Great Auk and the Balaclava Bugle,” The Conder Token Collector's Journal 7.3 (Fall 2002), pp. 15-19, illus.


Got in touch with Mike Grogan of the The Conder Token Collector's Journal & he very kindly has sent me a copy of the article, which has a lot of additional info, the main points are;


The "largest egg in the world" mentioned on one token was an Aepyornis maximus (Elephant Bird) egg.

(This species was then already extinct. They were giant running birds that stood up to 3m high and weighed over 500 kgs and were last seen around 1650. Elephant bird eggs are the largest known birds eggs: this egg measures 88cms around its long circumference and 76 cms around the middle)


The Bugle cost 750 GBP (a huge sum at that time)


The date 1879 was when he acquired the pub, he dates the 1st token with the Edinboro castle depicted as early 1890's, the 2nd with Middlebrook's image as about 1895 (which he also notes as unlisted by Davis & Waters), the last he places at around 1900 (the bugle mentioned on it was purchased at auction 1898) the flag & tree depicted on it, he thinks, is from the pub garden, which had lime trees and a Union Jack flag.


He also was pleased to mention that one of the Auk's eggs, shown in a recent publication of the Museum of Comparative Zoology Harvard, was classified as the Edinburgh Castle/St. Malo.


David Brook, who had written individual pieces for each token previously in the journal( I assume as he acquired each token) then combined them for this larger article. He thanked Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre(Camden is where the pub is located) etc so perhaps he lived there or at least close to there. Which would explain why he collected the tokens, why I do is not clear even to me!


I have not been able to contact him.

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