At our annual meeting this year, we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Society. This will be held the weekend 1st-3rd April in Leicester. Further details and the booking form can be found on the member’s page, but members should already have received these by email. It promises to be a great event so do not delay, bookings must be in by 28th February.
Sad news: Alan Dyer
We are sorry to report that Alan Dyer died on 7th September after a long illness. Alan was President of the Society 2005-2009 and will be remembered particularly for his expertise in the fields of natural and synthetic zeolites. A full tribute will appear in the next newsletter and a brief obituary can be found in Mindat.
New book on the geology of the UK
Individuals with an interest in geology may be interested in a new inexpensive book that explains the principles of geology in in a manner that is simple to follow. The book “Geology for Walkers” by Steve Peacock, is aimed at walkers who wish to understand what they can see, and contains many clear illustrations. An extended extract from the book can be found here.
Russell Medal awards
The Russell Medal is awarded to individuals who have given outstanding service to mineralogy. It is not awarded annually but on an occasional basis. At this year’s ASM, the Medal was awarded to two individuals who are each well known in the field of mineralogy. Since the ASM was virtual, the awards could not be presented at the event but were delivered shortly afterwards.
Neil has been a leading figure in The Russell Society since its very early days and has served both on Council and the Central Branch Committee for many years. Through his business “Midland Minerals” Neil has supported establishments who teach geology and mineralogy, and encouraged many collectors who have visited his stand at mineral shows. His visual identification skills are well known- if you want a mineral identified ask Neil! Neil has put his outstanding mineral knowledge to good use by helping the editorial board of the Journal and contributing to many papers. He made the first discovery of bobkingite and has developed specialist knowledge of the mineralogy of Dolyhir quarry.
Before he retired Richard was professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, in Manchester, England. He has had an interest in mineralogy all his life and passed on his enthusiasm to many others, taking students on trips to old mine sites and acting as mentor to other mineralogists in the Manchester area. Richard has published many papers on mineralogy and co-authored descriptions of the new species herbertsmithite and zincolibethenite. He has been a valued member of the editorial board of Journal of The Russell Society. The copper secondary mineral braithwaiteite, was named in his honour.
Memorial Gathering to Celebrate the Life of Harry Critchley
Provisionally Sunday 1 August 2021
It is proposed to hold a short memorial gathering to celebrate the life of Harry Critchley, with reflection pieces by family and friends, subject to Covid restrictions being lifted.
The gathering will take place around the Memorial Table, outside the library at Lady Manner’s School, Shutts Lane, Bakewell, DE45 1JA (home of the Bakewell Rock Exchange).
Please bring an umbrella just in case! Access to toilets in the school will be available.
Christine will confirm the date and arrangements as soon as it is possible to do so, subject to Covid restrictions being lifted.
If you would like to attend please contact Christine directly and she will keep you informed of final details nearer the time.
There is a nice tribute to Harry on Mindat https://www.mindat.org/mesg-515112.html
Casting light on Florence Nightingale’s minerals?
We have been asked by Dr Mike Howe, Chief Curator and Head of the National Geological Repository for help in locating rocks, minerals and fossils owned by Florence Nightingale. This is Mike’s message and request for help:
I have recently heard from Jane Middleton-Smith, Archive manager for John Smedley Ltd, Lea Mills, Lea Bridge, Matlock, Derbyshire. She is trying to locate a collection of rocks, minerals and fossils donated by Florence Nightingale to Lea School (Derbyshire) in 1881. (The Nightingale Family was a prominent family in the local area; 2020 is the bicentenary of Florence’s birth.)
The fine quality specimens were purchased from a ‘Mr Butler’ (possibly Francis H Butler?) and sent to Mr Burton, the Schoolmaster. Apparently, Burton had a case made and gave lectures on geology to the children and to the local Institute.
The collection has disappeared – almost certainly prior to the 1960s. The present staff of the school have never heard of it. Jane has contacted all of the obvious places: Buxton and Derby Museums and the Derbyshire Record Office and drawn a blank. Can anyone help?
If you can help Mike, please contact him by email at: [email protected]
Russell Society at the Somerset Earth Science Centre
Two of our members, Chris Finch and Alistair Napier, have been promoting the Society and celebrating minerals from the Mendips.
This was part of the 10th anniversary of the Somerset Earth Science Centre. Chris and Alistair put on a display of Mendip minerals and encouraged younger visitors to take interest through education and free samples of locally-collected specimens.
You can find out more and see photographs of the minerals on display in a pdf file here.
Glenbuchat Estate visitor restrictions
Given our website’s visibility within the wider mineral collecting community, The Russell Society has been asked to publicise the attached urgent notice from the Glenbuchat Estate in Scotland.
While there is no suggestion that any Russell Society members have been involved in irresponsible activities at Glenbuchat, it is a reminder that:
– Permission to collect minerals is a privilege, not an entitlement
– Permission should be obtained in advance
– All rules and restrictions must be followed.
Please share this important update with other collectors as appropriate. The update can be downloaded as a PDF file here.
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!
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.