BBC RADIO 4, 10 MAY 2004

‘Strange but profound, this is a tiny masterpiece.’ Sunday Times

‘Plucked from the bustling bazaar that is an internet auction house, one tiny hair belonging to Lord Nelson takes Gregory Whitehead on a journey to find it a more fitting final resting place. A hair from the head of Lord Horatio Nelson, saviour of the British Empire and hero of Trafalgar, is for sale as an item on Ebay, the internet auction house. It was bought by American radio adventurer Gregory Whitehead, and then brought home to England.Together with producer Neil McCarthy, Gregory explores the relic’s authenticity and contemplates its fate. He visits Nelson scholar Colin White at the National
Recording On One Lost Hair with Gregory Whitehead and Neil McCarthy
Maritime Museum; Jane Wildgoose, curator of the Wildgoose Memorial Library, which specialises in mediations between the living and the dead; thanatologist Ruth Richardson; and Canon John Halliburton at St Paul’s Cathedral, home to Nelson’s immense sarcophagus. At the end of this journey, inside the Greenwich pub Trafalgar, the hair is finally liberated from its plastic cell and launched into the Thames, to make its final journey. Gregory’s journey focuses On One Lost Hair (an anagram of Horatio Nelson) but, during its course, many different strands come together: it is a meditation on the absurdities of the market place and commoditisation, ethics and ownership, the nature of relics and, importantly, the love story which emerges; after all, Nelson’s dying wish was for his dear Lady Hamilton to receive all his hair.’

BBC Radio 4 Publicity


Copyright Jane Wildgoose and The Wildgoose Memorial Library