Transcript of Correspondence - Dec.28th, 2019
Stephen & I were overjoyed to receive the latest letter from Thelonious Grimsby, as he has completed his mission of the past few years by uncovering the deed to a long forgotten Curiosa Society location, a document he found locked away in a secret chamber in the heart of the British Museum. The implications of this document mean big changes ahead for Curiosa as we know it! Having discovered the original headquarters of The Curiosa Society, we have begun preparations to relocate there in the spring of 2020...
From the Archives of the Curiosa Society. Transcript of Correspondence 28.12.19: Letter from T. Grimsby to Society Members in absentia
Dearest Society Member,
If you are ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend the festive holiday season in London, take it! Between the lights and cheer of Carnaby Street and walking the Purgatory that is Oxford Street during this time of year, one really does experience the highs and lows of this wondrous city. Ah, but I digress.
I find myself I’m writing to you from a tavern on Great Russell Street, mulled wine in hand, and a copy of Charles Dickens’ The Signalman dog-eared for later perusal. I know I’ve blathered on-and-on these last few correspondences about the importance of seeking and preserving relics concerning the history of our beloved Curiosa Society, but it all came to a head right across the street, within the walls of the British Museum, the world’s first public national museum. The mission I had been tasked with these past years was finally complete, I had found the long forgotten location of the original Curiosa Society Headquarters, please allow me to explain...
Upon first entering the British Museum, I found myself greeted by the Great Court, a sprawling central quadrangle with an exquisite tessellated glass and steel roof. I had heard that this enormous open space once housed the Central Stacks of the British Library, with bookshelves reaching almost three stories high. Oh, how I wish I were able to have witnessed this courtyard back then!
Following the Great Court around, I found myself in line behind mobs of tourists all crowded around the front of a stone object. The Rosetta Stone, cornerstone of modern Egyptology, is one of the most renowned objects housed at the British Museum. The stone featured a Ptolemaic decree written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Greek script (the latter being the key to translating the former). I gripped my hat a little tighter as I passed the stone, dodging aloof tourists listening closely to their self-guided audio tours. Weaving through the exhibits of Ancient Greece and Rome found in the Western wing, I made my up to the Upper Floor of the Museum.
After my last two adventures, I had come to trust this instinct that seemingly led me to the previously found artefacts, so, I kept my eyes peeled for any iconography related to our beloved Society. It was in an exhibit concerning clocks and watches throughout the ages when I spotted it, another keyhole!
I had missed it on my initial scan of the room, but there was no mistaking that shape. Discretely tucked away in the corner of the room, hiding in the shadow of a massive grandfather clock, was a small keyhole. This time, I gave the keyhole a confident push, certain that no actual key was required to unlock this passage, and, sure enough, I heard a mechanism turn and watched as the wall sunk in on itself, revealing a small corridor.
Crouching through, I found myself in a small room with a bay of windows on one side, the midday sun creeping in and highlighting rows and rows of storage cabinets. A general haze was visible in the air and each cabinet seemed to be coated in a fine layer of dust, all except for a particular unit in the centre of the room. Its shelves seemed to have been recently used and the third drawer down from the top had a small keyhole embossed in the lower right-hand corner; this was it!
I gave the fated drawer a small tug and, to my surprise, it opened easily. The storage unit in front of me was, in fact, a map cabinet, and a puff of dust was launched in the air as the drawer opened. Inside was a worn file folder, a few of its documents spilling out. There were letters, redacted of course, but what wasn’t blacked out on all of them were their headers and the words “Curiosa Society”. Underneath the letters was a certificate of some sort, no, not a certificate, but a deed! With a small black and white photographed clipped to it, the deed seemed to bequeath a plot of land in perpetuity to the Society. In lieu of a name or any indication of location, all that was printed was the following:
“43° 39' 36.72'' N 79° 25' 1.596'' W”
And there you have it, a mysterious auspice of change for our dear Curiosa Society. I have arranged transport back home and am eager to unravel this mystery and begin preparations to relocate Curiosa to its former headquarters with H— and S—. I’m confident that whatever the future holds, we are ready and willing to take on the challenge.