Here's the mould of a musical bird long passed from light,
Which over the earth before man came was winging;
There's a contralto voice I heard last night,
That lodges in me still with its sweet singing.
Such a dream is Time that the coo of this ancient bird
Has perished not, but is blent, or will be blending
Mid visionless wilds of space with the voice that I heard,
In the full-fugued song of the universe unending.
When Prince Albert died in 1861, one of the Secretaries for the Great Exhibition and a Devon MP, Sir Stafford Northcote, proposed a memorial to Albert should be established in Exeter. An appeal for funds was launched and a meeting the following year created the blueprint for the Devon and Exeter Albert Memorial Institution. This was to be a new building on Queen Street housing a museum and art gallery, a free public library, a school of art and a college.
"An exquisite jewel box of a building; a Venetian casket. One of the most appealing treasures in Britain." (Dan Cruickshank, architectural heritage consultant, writer and TV presenter - October 2006)