In 2011 Hannah Chowdhry (then 7 years old) learnt that mammoths finds were excavated in Ilford in 1864. The remains that were unearthed by Sir Antonio Brady were the most significant mammoth remains found in Britain and included the only complete mammoth skull to be found in the UK.
Hannah asked her father Wilson Chowdhry (then Chairman of the EIBP) to make a visit with her to the Natural History Museum (NHM), in London. It was her desire to view the actual complete mammoth skull (named "Ilford mammoth"), currently displayed in the NHM main foyer.
The trip was a watershed moment as Hannah committed her father to bring Monty (a term of endearment used by Hannah for the Ilford Mammoth), back to Ilford, which is the natural home for the prehistoric bones.
Wilson Chowdhry discussed the idea with the committee of the EIBP, and a unanimous decision resulted in our campaign to bring back the important palaeontological relic to Ilford.
It was decided that the group would increase awareness of the important finds, initially. Research by Hannah and Wilson revealed that a Mammoth plaque installed during the great exhibition of London (1958) was located at Ilford Methodist Church, Ilford Lane. The church is located very near the original excavation site which were once the Uphall Brick Pit Mills. When they visited the location of the plaque, they discovered that the sign had been stolen and possibly sold for scrap, considering particularly high prices for metal that year.
Working with the British Pakistani Christian Association the EIBP installed a temporary plastic replacement sign at the original plaque location during the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, along Ilford Lane. Hundreds of people came to launch event organised by the EIBP. The main guest at the event was Professor Adrian Lister from the Natural History Museum. A later installation of a metal plaque then replaced the initial plastic one, during the Queens Jubilee weekend the same year.
By now some dialogue had been initiated through professor Adrian Lister with the Natural History Museum. We spoke of our desire to bring home the Mammoth remains.
It became clear early on, that the original bones would not be released but the potential to recreate a replica mammoth skull using the original skull as a model for a mould, gave us new direction.
It was felt that some of the essence of the original mammoth would seep into our mould and hence infuse the replica with Montys spirit- somewhat.
Professor Adrian Lister agreed to allow the EIBP and four Redbridge children, to visit the private collections of Ilford bones held in their archive, these bones included; mammoths. Lions, elephants, rhinoceros and giant deer. The visit triggered the imagination of young Hannah Chowdhry one of the invited guests, who asked to see the Plesiouraus bones discovered by Mary Anning a famous palaeontologist often referred to as the founder of the science.
10 weeks later and full of inspiration, Hannah Chowdhry found her own fossil at the Isle of White, whilst on holiday. Read more (click here)
Hannah found a 65 million year old fossil a few weeks ago, whilst foraging for gravel to display in a permanent display, linked to the skull installation. Read more (click here)
The price quoted for a replica mammoth skull is £15,000. The EIBP have already raised the Planning Application fees and £2700 towards the installation. Moreover, we have now also received our first donation towards the project via Ilford Historical Society member Roger Backhouse. His donation of £10 is a great kickstart to our campaign.
Roger Backhouse said; " Hope you can raise enough for the Mammoth project, it’s a good idea. ".