Since his arrival in 1902, generations of visitors have admired this Wandering Albatross on display at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. Better known as ‘Albert’ to museum staff and regular visitors, the bird was presented to the city’s museum collection in 1902 by Mr Percy Pryce Brown.

Over time, the circumstances of the donation – namely where Mr Brown acquired the albatross – became lost in the mists of history. However after years of research by the museum’s collection team, it was discovered that Mr Brown was a refrigerator engineer aboard the RMS Waimate which launched in 1901. Although lamb was the more usual cargo on the vessel, the Waimate arrived in England on the 24th February 1902 with the unusual shipment of a large albatross. The museum curator and taxidermist Mr W. Edwards preserved the bird while a custom-made display case was built by local carpenter W. W. Hunt of South Quay. Over a century later Albert remains on display to greet visitors in the City Art Gallery & Museum’s Activity Space.

The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspread among living birds, reaching a whopping 3.4m (11 feet). They can reach flying speeds of 40km per hour and have evolved as such efficient flyers that they use less energy doing so than while sitting on a nest. Their diet consists of squids, small fish and crustaceans, but they also follow fishing boats in the hopes of feeding on scraps discarded overboard. The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Colleridge records such an incident in his 1834 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

“And a good south wind sprung up behind;

The Albatross did follow,

And every day, for food or play,

Came to the mariner’s hollo!”

Families with young children can join Albert on his most recent travels in our new interactive video series The Adventures of Albert the Albatross, a choose-your-own-adventure where you decide where to go next! An animated Albert meets some friendly museum characters and objects who tell their story, with a fun sing-along to follow in each video. The Adventures of Albert the Albatross goes live on our Youtube account (search ‘Museums Worcestershire’) on Friday 23 October, in time for half term!

There are lots of great half term activities to enjoy at our museums too, with pumpkin carving and Witch & Wizard School at Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle, Spooks and Scares activities at The Commandery, and a Where’s Wally Spooky Search at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum! Plan your visit at