New mineralogical event in June

The Southern Branch of the Society is organising a one-day mineralogical event on Sunday 10th June 2018 to be held in the ideal setting of the Somerset Earth Science Centre at Moons Hill Quarry, Stoke St Michael, Radstock, Somerset BA3 5JU (pictured below). The event will start at 10:00 and finish at 16:00.

Earth science centre (1)

This will be a free event but we will require prior registration so that we have an idea of numbers for catering, plus there is a maximum number that the centre can hold so it will be on a first-come basis.

We have just started the organisation and are confirming speakers. The theme will be Regional Minerals and Mineralogy covering areas such as the Southern Branch and other branches to look at the variety and and types of minerals occurring within the different regions. More details will be published later and sent to those who have registered to attend.

We will be requesting that attendees bring along specimens from their area for display. The Southern Branch will be displaying mineral specimens collected within the Branch area.

There will be no collecting trips organised in conjunction with the event but there is a possibility of an early visit to the famous unconformity exposed in Vallis Vale, near Frome, that was originally described by Henry De la Beche in 1846. This visit will be before the event and most suitable for people travelling from Frome and the east.

If you wish to register your attendance at the event please email Gary Morse.

The Ron Cleevely Award for Best Journal Article

The Award has been established in appreciation of Ron Cleevely, former Senior Scientific Officer in the Department of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum, London, as a result of a generous donation from his widow Ros.

The Award will be made following nominations and voting by members attending the Annual Society Meeting, held each year in April. The President will have the casting vote, if this is required. In considering nominations for the award for the Best Journal Article published in the previous 12 months in the Russell Society Journal, members might wish to consider:
– Novelty value of the article
– Significance of the contribution to British mineralogy
– Quality of the illustrations
– Bibliographic rigour to ensure a thorough literature search has been undertaken.

Although primarily an eminent palaeontologist, Ron’s fame in palaeontological circles lay more in his exceptional knowledge of 18th and 19th century collectors, their specimens and associated natural history works. He had undertaken extensive research on the Sowerby family in particular, and recently published a fascinating account of the development of early mineralogy in southwest England: “Collecting the New, Rare and Curious – Letters selected from the Correspondence of the Cornish Mineralogists Philip Rashleigh, John Hawkins & William Gregor”.

Ron was an invited speaker at the Bob Symes memorial meeting at the Geological Society in December 2016, and gave a thought-provoking address about the preservation of historical data, with particular reference to the changing nature of records, the ephemeral nature of electronic media and its potential loss in the future. He was a kind and thoughtful person, always willing to impart some of his immense knowledge about collections and collectors, and he would surely have been supportive of any initiative which encouraged enthusiasts to document and record their researches.


Sale of the Norman Cogger Mineral Collection

Norman lived in Tonbridge, Kent and was a member of The Russell Society for many years. Following his passing away in January 2017, and in line with his wishes, his mineral collection is now being sold to raise funds for his chosen good cause, the Kent and Sussex Hospital League of Friends.

Norman’s collection contains a wide range of foreign and British species, with an emphasis on the chemistry of minerals rather than aesthetics. The collection is well curated, with specimens in a clean condition and supported by labels, a card index system and catalogues. The collection is being sold as a whole, by competitive tender.

Viewing will be on the Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November 2017 and tenders are to be returned by 12 noon on Friday 1st December 2017.

Full details of the sale process can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

cogger_web photo 2

cogger_web photo 1

Free mineral trays

Chris Finch of the Southern Branch recently received an offer from Monica Price at Oxford University Museum of Natural History of some surplus card trays. Monica describes them as:

” We have several boxes of trays that came with donated specimens, they are in good condition but are not conservation standard. There are three styles, brown thick trays, white covered ones, and flatpack ones in a range of sizes.”

Members interested in receiving any of the boxes should contact Chris directly.

box 1

box 4

box 3

box 2

Russell Society at the Yorkshire Mineral and Fossil Fair

The Russell Society had a presence at the recent Yorkshire Mineral and Fossil Fair in Leyburn to promte our activities and encourage new members to join.

Our General Secretary Steve Warren organised the Society’s table, putting on a display of minerals from Leadhills and Wanlockhead (see a selection below). This created a good talking point and visitors were keen to see the minerals from these areas and hear about the Society. Perhaps other members would like to put on a display of British Isles specimens at forthcoming shows?

The Lucky Dip, a box with specimens hidden in aggregate so youngsters had to dig for them, was also very popular. They loved rooting around and seemed really pleased with what they got. Any spare specimens members have, suitable for the lucky dip, are always welcome. Please include a label, mentioning The Russell Society, the site and the species where possible.

For your diary, next year’s fair will be on 18th and 19th May, with further information from Don Edwards 01433-620304 or

Leyburn 2017 IMG_2279 a

Leyburn 2017 IMG_2278 b (1)

Get ready for the ASM 2018

The next Russell Society Annual Society Meeting is being organised by the Central Branch and will take place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th April 2018.

The location of the ASM will be College Court Conference Centre Hotel, Knighton Road, Leicester, LE2 3UF.

Further details and a booking form will be circulated to members with JRS 20 towards the end of 2017.

Please support The Lapworth Museum, now!

Members will be familiar with the support and hard work Roy Starkey has contributed to the transformation of The Lapworth Museum at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Roy would also like to share this great news about the museum and seek your support following the museum’s shortlisting for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017, along with Tate Modern, The Hepworth Wakefield, Sir John Soane’s Museum, and The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art.

Representatives from the Museum attended the event at the British Museum last night, when the shortlist was announced live on the BBC Radio4 Front Row programme. There was immediate press coverage and lots of mentions of David vs Goliath particularly in connection with Lapworth – Tate Modern. Several of the broadsheets and the BBC already have write-ups of the shortlist. The Telegraph and the FT and particularly The Guardian and BBC all have good coverage. There will be more coverage over the weekend, including on BBC Breakfast this morning and then a double-page feature on the shortlist in The Guardian on Saturday. In addition to the press release and social media activity, the clock tower was lit up with the Lapworth and Art Fund logos between 9pm and 10pm last night.

You can see a short video from YouTube featuring the finalists here.

You can also help to promote the museum on social media in the run-up to the final decision through the Art Fund website here. If you do so, please tag both Art Fund (@artfund) and Lapworth Museum (@LapworthMuseum) and use the hashtags #museumoftheyear and #lapworthrocks.

The Art Fund will be offering a weekly prize of a National Art Pass and a museum goody bag for their favourite post (across all five museums). The Lapworth will also award a prize to a favourite post each week. Even if you are not personally active on social media, please spread the word to your friends and contacts / Societies, and ask them to get involved.

Thanks for your support – fingers crossed for a good result!

The Lapworth Museum website can be found though this link here.


Latest NAMHO newsletter

Russell Society members with an interest in mining might like to read the latest newsletter from the National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO).

The newsletter can be downloaded as a pdf document here.

North Pennines Mineral Expo – July 2017

Following the recent resurgence of interest in specimen mining in Weardale a new event, the North Pennines Mineral Expo, has been organised for the weekend of 29th and 30th July 2017 in the heart of the Dale at St John’s Chapel, County Durham.

Entry is free and The Russell Society will have a stall there. Please try and get along to the Expo, it promises to be a fun day out and a good opportunity to meet people.

flyers NPME jpeg

flyers NPME jpeg2 (1)

Charnwood anniversary exhibition

The Society’s Central branch has organised an exhibition during April and May of rocks, fossils and minerals from the Charnwood area.

The exhibition is at the Charnwood Museum and marks 60 years since the first academically-verified report of a Late Precambrian fossil in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire.

A download of a pdf giving further information about the exhibition can be downloaded here