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Saxon King exhibition opens with a whimper
6:00am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
SOUTHEND Council has come under fire for failing to tell people about an exhibition featuring the priceless treasures of the Saxon King.
The council is accused of failing to adequately promote the event, which opened to the public at Southend Central Museum on Saturday with little fanfare.
The burial chamber of the Saxon King, who has been nicknamed the Prittlewell Prince, was unearthed, virtually intact, in Priory Crescent, Prittlewell, in 2003.
Experts found a treasure trove, including ornate gold-rimmed drinking horns and a gold belt buckle of a type most popular in England between 600 and 640AD.
Chris Jones, from Southend, said he discovered the exhibition by accident after seeing a small piece about it on the museum’s website.
He said: “I discovered that the museum was starting one of the most exciting exhibitions in recent years.
“Some of the exhibits from this wonderful local discovery were going on display locally in the town that had proudly promoted itself as a serious contender for City of Culture.
“Wow, I thought. What an event. Not something to miss.”
After a fruitless search for more information, Mr Jones headed to the exhibition intending to arrive early expecting crowds.
However, he arrived 15 minutes late and was still the first one in.
Mr Jones, of Hollytree Gardens, Rayleigh, said tongue in cheek: “I’m just so pleased that I timed my visit to perfection to see these amazing treasures.
“I now look forward to the opening of the new cliffs museum and hope I time my visits there to obtain equal perfectly-timed successes.
“I just love having a complete exhibition to myself.
“Well done Southend Council museums department.
“More please, as I loved the opening of this superb historic event in such peace and tranquillity.”
The exhibition, featuring the gold buckle, coins and crosses as well as other significant pieces, runs until March 29, next year at the museum in Victoria Avenue, Southend.
A council spokesman said a “slow burn” campaign was being run to keep down marketing costs.
He said: “A schedule of news releases and media articles is planned until the end of March.
“To date, the exhibition has been featured in Outlook, the official council magazine which is distributed to 80,000 homes, on the culture pages of the council’s website and on the museum’s own website, as well as posters and a banner outside the museum.”
Despite the lack of publicity by the council, more than 150 visitors managed to see the display on Saturday.
The relics, which were first exhibited in Southend between April and June, have just returned from an exhibition in Germany’s Paderborn Museum.
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