Elephant sits on Barnstaple bus station

Joseph Bulmer

Commemorative plaque installed to mark discovery of fossilised straight-tusked elephant in 1844.

THE memory of a prehistoric Barnstaple Elephant has returned close to the spot in which it was found more than 150 years ago.

A new plaque has been put over the main doorway of Barnstaple Bus Station to commemorating the discovery of the remains of a straight-tusked elephant at nearby Summerland Street in 1844.

The extinct beastie captured the imagination in 2008 and spawned the first ever Elephant Day, organised by Barnstaple Museum, local Councillor Simon Harvey and Trinity Street residents.

Parts of the elephant remains, including sections of tusk, are still kept at the museum. Its impressive teeth are now at the Natural History Museum in London but returned to Barnstaple for a reunion at the 2009 Elephant Day.

The new plaque was created by ceramic artist Taz Pollard and represents an elephant foot print. The inscription reads “The Barnstaple Elephant, (palaeoloxodon antiquus) about 125,000 years old was found in 1844 in the Brickfield near this spot.”

The plaque was installed with help from JG Carpentry & Maintenance plus Mark Hutchings Home Maintenance & Locksmith Services.

The first meeting of the Elephant Working Group in anticipation of Elephant Day next year is on Friday at “the Office” in Diamond Street, Barnstaple, next to Kwik Fit. It starts at 7pm and anyone who would like to find out more about the elephant, become part of the 2012 activities or join the group is welcome to attend.