Repeating Islands

William Hague’s officials have spent £10,000 on restuffing an antique snake, as Tim Ross reports for London’s Telegraph.

The 20ft-long anaconda, called Albert, is believed to have been given to a former colonial secretary in the 19th century by a bishop from what is now Guyana, in South America.

Albert was found to have fallen into a poor state of repair, during routine maintenance in the Foreign Office’s ornate Whitehall headquarters.

Civil servants who discovered his condition judged it “essential” to restore the “unique historic heirloom”, which was suspended from the ceiling of a library, for “posterity”.

At a cost of £10,000 to the taxpayer, the 120-year-old reptile underwent five weeks of conservation work by experts at the Natural History Museum during May and June.

“The level of detailed, delicate work in the restoration involved an intensive amount of care and attention from highly trained staff,” a spokesman explained.

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