Moby Dick: Calls for missing whale bones to be returned

Last updated at 15:45

A country house in East Yorkshire is asking people to return the bones of an 194-year-old whale skeleton.

The mammal, who's skeleton has been displayed at Burton Constable Hall since the 1830s, featured in the book Moby Dick written by author Herman Melville in 1851.

The 58 foot-long male bull sperm whale washed up on the shores of Tunstall town back in 1825.

That's about as long as two London buses!

The whale was dissected and studied by a surgeon who shared his findings.

Later, a man called Sir Clifford Constable had the whale's skeleton put on public display in the parkland at Burton Constable Hall.

However, the skeleton wasn't looked after properly over the years and some people have taken bones as souvenirs.

11 of the vertebrae have been removed and a lot of the left flipper is also missing.

sperm whalesGetty Images
Sperm whales swimming in the Indian Ocean

The skeleton was rescued in 1995 and the Burton Constable Foundation is now looking to restore the whale to its former glory.

It is calling for the missing bones to be returned as its gets ready to mark 200 years since the birth of Herman Melville.

Conserving the structure will be time-consuming process, with most bones requiring cleaning and repairs.

The Foundation is hoping to mount the whale's bones using a metal framework similar to the original display.

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