Shrunken manuscript

This tiny manuscript, which measures approximately 10 x 15cm, is in fact a Customs officer's commission.  It was found in a safe in the remains of a building destroyed on the Irish Land Boundary in 1937 at Killeen. To mark the visit of King George VI to Belfast shortly after his coronation, the IRA destroyed many border posts on the boundary between North and South Ireland. Intense heat from the fire reduced the leather (velum) document to a sixth of its original size. It remains today within a glass frame and although miniature the detail is still quite legible.

This officer's commission was presented to Sidney Harold Sims, who joined Customs and Excise at Limerick in March 1920.  It is signed by two senior Customs officials but cancelled, which is written in red ink across the signatures. It was an official document and to avoid misuse placed in a safe until the night the building was completely destroyed.

This manuscript is not currently on display but you can see many other fascinating items from the collection of the Border Force National Museum in the Seized! gallery in the basement of Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Accession number CENM1998.404 

old document, folded, torn and bowing in at the edges