We have a small but interesting Geology Collection which includes specimens from Wimbledon and the surrounding areas. It grew out of both collecting in areas such as Wimbledon Common and North Downs and from finds recovered during development such as the local railway cuttings and works at Carter’s Seed Station, Raynes Park.
The deepest hole in Wimbledon Village, so far, is the well dug in Arthur Road in 1796. This was recorded on a long scroll given to the Museum in 1925.
Our finders, donors and curators of the Geology Collection are mostly people of significant importance in the study and development of geology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, adding an extra dimension to our Collections.
Our Geology, Archaeology and Natural History Collections are intertwined – the early 20th-century natural historians and geologists involved with the Museum were also interested in archaeology and early human history, particularly the Stone Ages (Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic). Some of those involved with the Museum during its early years are:
Francis Bather, FRS, FGS (1863 –1934) the Museum’s first Chairman (director), eminent geologist and museum curator, eventually Keeper of Geology at the British Museum of Natural History (now the Natural History Museum).
Mary Johnston FGS (1875-1955), one of the first 12 women to be admitted as a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1919, pioneer woman geologist and an early scientific photographer, Museum Committee member 1913-1918, Honorary Treasurer John Evelyn Club 1913.
William Wright FGS (1862 –1936), and his protégé Walter Johnson (1867 –1950), both collected and donated flint implements, and wrote Neolithic Man in North-East Surrey. Walter Johnson wrote a natural history and archaeology of Wimbledon Common, Wimbledon Common. Its Geology, Antiquities and Natural History published in 1912. Both books are in our Book Collection. Sadly a number of these finds, especially the prehistoric pottery, are no longer held in our Collections.
Cyril Phillip (C.P.) Castell (1907 – 1972), in the Geology Department of the Natural History Museum, was an original contributor to the British fossil guides still being used today, and to bird sightings and other records held in the Museum.