100th Birthday bash at Wick Library
On Saturday, (24 January) over 50 children and their parents came together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Crocodile, a unique resident of their local library in Wick. Also joining the party and helping make the occasion special, were library staff from the past including Crisabel Sinclair who worked in the library from the 1950s until she retired, David and Edna Morrison, Librarians who both spent many years in Wick’s Public and School libraries respectively, and recently retired Senior Library Assistant Sheila Mather.
The 15ft Gharial (Gavialis Gangeticus) preserved by a taxidermist was originally sent back as museum exhibit by local politician and benefactor Sir Arthur Bignold on the 25th January 1909. However, since the museum closed in the late 1970s the crocodile has been resident in different areas of the library building and has always been a big favourite of the local children throughout the years.
About 30 years ago, an official in the library service suggested that the crocodile be removed to the outrage of local people, numerous letters complaint shortly followed from outraged Wick parents persuading a re-think on the part of the official.
The idea of having a party for the Crocodile came about when staff noticed the date of the anniversary.
Senior Library Assistant Robbie Macdonald said: “With a little bit of work, we felt he’s well worth celebrating and it was the least we could do to honour such a favourite with the local children past and present.. It was a great day, the children, the parents and staff had a lot of fun, and it demonstrates that both the traditional and the new faces of have a place together in the future of our library service.”