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Specimen of cloth (asbestos) from Sandwich Islands
Museum number: X273
Sandwich Islands was the name given to the Hawaiian Islands by James Cook in 1778 in honour of the then First Lord of the Admiralty, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Todays name is taken from the name of the largest island, Hawaii Island.
A handwritten label on the wrapping records 'Specimen of asbestos cloth brought from the Sandwich Islands by D. Aitken Esq. / Surgeon / Kingsland'. [Kingsland was a village in the Hackney area of London, now swallowed up in the Dalston/Hackney area and its name only surviving in road names] The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 201, October 1856, records the death of what seems to be the same man: 'Aged 72, David Aitken, Esq., of St Paul's Terrace, Islington, Surgeon of the H.E.I.C.S. and late of Kingsland'. H.E.I.C.S. is the Honourable East India Company Service.
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