Residents interested in the past history of Killyleagh and the supporters of the Sir Hans Sloane group gathered appropriately in the town library to listen to local historian and author Clive Scoular discussing the life and times of Sir Hans Sloane.
The special occasion was to celebrate Sir Hans Sloane’s birthday on 16th April 1660. He died in London in 1753, an incredible 358 years ago.
Sloane was an incredible figure in this age. He became a Royal physician, and was a keen naturalist and collector. He bequeathed his collection of 71,000 items to the British Museum, the first museum in the world of its kind open to the public which was dedicated to human history, art and science. His bust is still on display there at the entrance.
When he was young, Sloane sailed to the West Indies and brought back a cocoa drink which he later modified into chocolate, a recipe which Cadbury’s picked up on at a later date.
His statue stands in the Square in Killyleagh today to mark his huge contribution to science and knowledge… and to chocolate!
Around Chelsea in London a number of streets and places are named after him such as Sloane Square.
And now he is remembered in his home town with a bi-annual celebration comprising of a gourmet dinner and a two-day festival of chocolate and fine foods.