Wiltshire Publications

No room at the Laverton for the Westbury Beast

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 at 12:18 pm.

Doris the Pliosaurus

PLANS to bring the ‘Westbury Beast’ to its home town for exhibition have been scuppered due to the cost and conditions needed to display the fossil.

In November, White Horse News made enquiries with the town council to find out if the fossil of a 150-million year-old Jurassic beast, which was discovered in Westbury in 1994, could be brought to the town for exhibition, along with a full-sized interactive model of the 8-metre long pliosaur (named “Doris” by Bristol Museum).

Unfortunately for “Doris”, who is currently on display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, there is no room at the Laverton for Westbury’s oldest resident.

Town clerk Deborah Urch said, “We have spoken to Bristol Museum and have since decided, unfortunately, not to proceed with enquiries to bring Doris and her fossil to Westbury.

“This is for a number of reasons, including the size of the fossil, which would take up the whole of the main hall, impacting the bookings that have been made for this year. There would have to be cancellations made, which would mean a loss of money for the Laverton. We would also have to find the money to pay for transportation from Bristol and for a display case. Security is also an issue as there is a requirement that security guards are present the whole time the fossil is on display. Finally, the Laverton is unable to regulate its temperature to the required level to display the fossil.”

However, all hope of “Doris” and her fossil coming to the area is not lost as Wiltshire Museum, in Devizes, also expressed their interest in bringing the specimen to the local area.

Speaking to the White Horse News in November, director of Wiltshire Museum, David Dawson said, “It would be lovely if we could bring the Pliosaurus carpenteri fossil to the area for local people to visit. We have the specialist facilities to look after the fossil. It remains to be seen if this will be possible.”

‘Pliosaurus! Face to face with a Jurassic Beast’ is open at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery until 18th February.

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