Call for papers

A conference is to be held in December 2016 in London to celebrate the life and work of the late Dr Robert (Bob) Symes OBE, who died earlier this year. Dr Symes was formerly Keeper of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum,

The conference will be concerned with Bob’s mineralogical research, museum activities. There are currently opportunities for contributors to present at the conference, and further details are given in this downloadable pdf here.

Lapworth Museum of Geology reopens

After several years of sustained effort, and a lot of hard work by many, many people, the Lapworth Museum of Geology (University of Birmingham) finally welcomed its first visitors on 10 June. The end result looks superb – smart modern lines blending with the stylish Edwardian interior, all brought bang up to date by top class display cases, great graphics and a diverse range of excellent displays. Visitors can explore life over the past 3.5 billion years, whilst enjoying displays of exceptional objects from one of the UK’s most outstanding geological collections, with state-of-the-art galleries and a range of innovative and interactive exhibits – all completely free of charge.

From rocks and fossils to volcanoes, earthquakes, and even dinosaurs, the Museum will capture the imagination of all ages.

You can read a report, with pictures here.

And for more details about opening times, directions, access etc. on the Museum website here.

Important news for field trips

Members need to be aware of a change to requirements for footwear used on field trips at quarries:

Rigger boots wellies are no longer allowed in quarries.

The new safety requirement for lace up boots in quarries is:
1. High ankle support with the laces set above ankle height
2. Steel toe caps not permitted, we now have to use composite toe caps (if the steel gets crushed it stays crushed on the foot, the Kevlar doesn’t, apparently).

All members are strongly suggested to get a pair of boots that meet this requirement, for example:


The Blue Mine in Chessy

Members who are visiting Chamonix in the French Alps this year might like to take time out to see some fabulous minerals from the Blue Mine in Chessy – which is particularly famous for azurite specimens.

A temporary exhibition is at the Musée des Cristaux in Chamonix, and is referred to by the museum in this way:

Denis Boël has obtained the authorization from the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, to select in the Museum’s reserves, Mineralogical Specimens issued from the Blue Mine in Chessy. These pieces were extracted within the period 1811-1835. As soon as they came to light, they were carefully preserved, and most of them were never presented to the public. More than 60 specimens with sizable crystals, very fresh and of the best quality will surprise the connoisseurs and the public about the richness from this mine located in the Beaujolais area. Come and enjoy the symphony of blues and greens in every kind of nuance. That’s an outstanding opportunity to discover azurite, malachite and cuprite.

More details about the museum can be found through this link here

New NAMHO research

The National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) has published a document titled The Archaeology of Mining and Quarrying in England, A Research Framework – which members may find very interesting.

It is described by NAMHO as follows: “This presents the results of an in-depth assessment of available historical and archaeological resources for all minerals, from copper through to building stone, drawing primarily on expertise within the voluntary sector. It provides background information on the geology, applied technology and the historic impact on infrastructure such as transport and settlement.”

Further details about the document (including two pdf downloads) to can be found at this link here.



Temporary closure of NHM Minerals Gallery

The Natural History Museum, London has announced that the Minerals Gallery will be closed from April 2016 as part of its Hintze Hall redevelopment works. The museum is aiming to reopen access from July 2016.

Members might like to check the NHM’s website for any updates on the reopening of the Minerals Gallery before planning a visit in the summer. A link to the website is here.

ASM 2017

The Russell Society ASM 2017 will be held from Friday 21st April to Sunday 23rd April at the Lodge Hotel, Tal-y-Bont, Conwy, Wales. Further details about the event will be published when they are available. Members may like to take advantage of ‘early bird’ accommodation deals at the Lodge Hotel.

Further details can be found in a pdf document which can be downloaded here.

NAHMO Newsletter

Russell Society members may find the latest NAMHO Newsletter of interest; including a listing of mining-related events.

The newsletter is available as a PDF download from the NAMHO website here.


Update on The Russell Society Library

We have further news for members from Frank Ince concerning the disposal of material in The Russell Society Library:

You may recall that a note was circulated with JRS 18 inviting you to acquire items from the Russell Society Library. Over the last month-or-so I have been contacted by a number of members (thank you one and all) and they have reserved (and in some cases paid for and received) a variety of the lots that were noted on the ‘For Sale’ and ‘Give Away’ spreadsheets. I have produced a new spreadsheet that contains the residue of the Library with the ‘For Sale’ lots at 50% of their original price and some of the lower-priced lots as freebies (0 in the ‘Price’ column). The spreadsheet can be downloaded as an Excel file here.

Please contact me as soon as possible if you would like to acquire any of the remaining lots. Your enquiries will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis and I will use the time/date of your e-mail to make a decision about the priority of ‘bids’ for the same lot (my judgement is final).

We will try to ensure that the transport/delivery logistics are as efficient as possible and there are a number of alternatives:
· “Free delivery” of multiple items at the AGM in 2016 and other gatherings of RS Members.
· Collection in person from Jo and Bracken.
· Small packages could be posted (provided that the purchaser pays for the postage); although the cost could outweigh the value of the items.

NAMHO newsletter

Members may be interested by the latest newsletter from the National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO). It includes updates on news concerning Nenthead and other well-known mining sites. The newsletter can be downloaded as a PDF document through this link to the NAMHO website:

Also, please be aware of these changes regarding the newsletter:

Page 6 – Public Consultation Thursday 21st January about Nenthead and Nentsberry
This event has been postponed. The revised date is not yet known. the Nenthead Mines website and Facebook pages, and the NAMHO website will have information when the new date has been notified.

Page 15 – NAMHO AGM and Spring Meeting 2016
The date and venue for this meeting has changed. The new date is Saturday 19th March 2016. The venue will be the Dean Field Studies Centre, Parkend, Lydney, Gloucester GL15 4JA.