War Coat or 'Dania'


The museum register or logbook provides some idea of how many objects were lost on 3 May 1941. The register usually records the object's identification number, a short description and the donor’s or seller’s name. But in some rare cases although the object was destroyed in the fire, its history is retained in the museum register. In 1900, a ‘“dania” meaning, life-coat’ was recorded in the register. It was given by Arnold Ridyard, an important donor to World Museum on behalf of Dr Edward Joseph Mettle, an herbalist, merchant, and businessman from Accra in Ghana. The dania is described in the register as a protective war coat, with protective charms hanging from it to shield the wearer from harm. This family heirloom of Dr Mettle’s had been passed from his grandfather to his father to him. The dania was on display in the Africa gallery in the basement of the museum on 3 May 1941. It was not found after the Blitz and is thought to have been destroyed in the fire.