North Pennines Mineral Expo

The North Pennines Mineral Expo is happening again in 2018. This year it’s on July 14th and 15th at St. John’s Chapel in County Durham.

Russell Society members are taking part in the show; with a display of minerals from Northern England. Also, we’ll have our Society stall at the show and look forward to seeing you there!

Moon Hill event cancelled

Unfortunately, the Southern Branch committee has had to cancel the Society’s Moon’s Hill Event planned for 10th June due to logistical difficulties. All members that had expressed an interest in the event have been contacted by the committee.

Author wanted

Reaktion Books are seeking someone who would like to write a small non-technical book simply called ‘Stones’ and which, not surprisingly, is about the collecting of different minerals and rocks in the form of stones. To use their words: “A book by a collector with a philosophical and aesthetic interest in stones”.

Ideally they are hoping for someone such as a cultural historian with a secret passion for stones. If this is of interest to you or perhaps someone you know, then please contact them at:

Act immediately!

You’ve probably noticed an email from Neil Hubbard in connection with providing GDPR consent. It is vital that we get a completed consent form from every member before 25th May 2018 so that you continue to receive the Society’s publications and other communications.

The consent form can be downloaded as a pdf file here. This is all you need to do:

1. Complete the name, address and contact details and sign and date the form;

2. Tick the three email, post and phone boxes. If you don’t tick the ‘post’ box, you won’t receive any publications via post. If you don’t tick the ’email’ and ‘phone’ boxes you won’t be contactable for field trips, meetings etc;

3. Tick the member’s directory box if you wish to be included in it;

4. Tick the image consent box if you are happy with your image being used in Society publications;

5. Send a completed form to Neil Hubbard by email or by post.

Thank you.

The Society’s Privacy Notice can be downloaded as a PDF file here.


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)