T B Davis – The Only sailor in the Fleet, sponsored by RBS Coutts, opens to the public this Saturday 16 April and will run as a semi-permanent exhibition till 2 November 2013 at the Maritime Museum. This new exhibition tells the story of the greatest philanthropist the Island has ever know, Thomas Benjamin Davis. Although he was born in to poverty in Havre des Pas, he died in South Africa 75 years later as a multi-millionaire. Davis was the benefactor of several Jersey landmarks including Howard Davis Park, Howard Davis Farm, and the Howard Hall at Victoria College.
This exhibition at the Maritime Museum is the second outstanding public display to be launched by Jersey Heritage since the re-opening of its visitor sites last week. With a busy programme of special events and exhibitions scheduled throughout the year, Jersey Heritage will continue to bring history to life throughout 2011.
Jonathan Carter, Director of Jersey Heritage explains: “The story of T B Davis and his philanthropic legacy is one which offers an inspirational message for both individuals and businesses today. This exhibition illustrates how a local man strived from poverty to success and showed incredible generosity, even through a period of huge financial difficulty. It is thanks to kind sponsors such as RBS Coutts that we are able to host such an important exhibition. The exhibition is also an excellent showcase of the talent and expertise we hold within our Jersey Heritage staff. Doug Ford, Head of Community Learning has to be recognised for his thorough research of the TB Davis story and for making this exhibition and supporting book a reality.”
Between 1922 and 1940, in the era of hunger marches, the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, Jersey-born Davis gave away an estimated million pounds to what he deemed to be good causes. This new semi-permanent exhibition will tell his story, from humble beginnings as a 13-year old fisherman to becoming a qualified extra master under sail. His history is traced through the years when he made his fortune in Southern Africa to the glory of owning the racing schooner Westward.
For the first time in many years, Davis’ yachting trophies will be on display for the public to see, along with recently discovered photographs telling the story of this enigmatic Jersey man who left a lasting legacy to the Island.
Richard Tribe, Client Partner, RBS Coutts Channel Islands says: “RBS Coutts is committed to supporting both individuals and corporations who undertake philanthropic activity and much of our business history reflects that of the TB Davis ethos. We are proud to support Jersey Heritage and the TB Davis – Only Sailor in the Fleet Exhibition, and hope that visitors are inspired by this unique and exciting exhibition.”
The full programme of Jersey Heritage events and exhibitions can be viewed in the Jersey Heritage Visitor Guide and online at www.jerseyheritage.org.