Council officials are often accused of being heartless, but at least the heart of a former mayor of the Belgian city of Verviers, Pierre David, has been recovered.
David died in 1839 after falling off a building. In 1883 the grateful denizens of the city clubbed together to erect a fountain in his honour, underneath which was buried his heart in an ethanol-filled jar in a small metal box. In case you thought the citizens were themselves heartless, David had earned their heartfelt gratitude by organising their first fire brigade and letting the public attend council sessions.
The whereabouts of his heart had been forgotten in the mists of time, although there was an urban myth that it was underneath the fountain. Recently, diggers moved in to carry out some excavation works and the box was unearthed.
It is now on temporary display at the Verviers Museum of Fine Art and Ceramics and will be returned to the Fontaine David in the city’s Place Verte, when the renovation work has been completed.