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 Hull Geological Society 135th Anniversary

Memories – Holderness, Hull and the Hull Geological Society

Being born in Bridlington and living in Hornsea (until I went to college) I have been fascinated by the glacial sediments exposed in the sea cliffs of Holderness. My grandparents moved to Atwick when they sold the cafe in Bridlington and also kept their cottage on the cliff top at Skipsea that they had had since living in Doncaster. Hence I was constantly looking at the sediments exposed in the sea cliffs when I should have been swimming or building sand castles!

Whilst at college I visited Rothamstead Experimental Station pedology department in Hertfordshire a number of times. There I was lucky enough to meet John Catt a number of times. John got his PhD from Hull University in 1963 on the glacial sediments of Holderness. Given my undergraduate interest in glacial sediments and the Pleistocene (I did part of my dissertation on the shelly glacial sands and gravels at the Kelsey Hill pits at Keyingham) John suggested I approach Lewis Penny, head of the geology department in Hull at the time, to see if he had research funds to do a postgraduate degree in Hull. He didn’t so I ended up in Aberdeen!

I moved back to Driffield from Ireland in late 2005 and I think I joined the Hull Geological Society the next year. I remember attending a field meeting at Danes Dyke soon after I joined. I arrived early and the first person I met was Derek Gobbett. We were both interested in the older glacial sediments on Holderness and in Yorkshire. Mike Horne, Ian Heppenstall and Stuart Jones soon arrived to lead the trip so it was excellent to meet them and others. I hadn’t been to Flamborough for years - my aunty and uncle had previously has a cottage in the village. The HGS members had set up the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group a few years earlier to study the sediments at the Sewerby buried cliff site, Danes Dyke and South Landing on the south side of Flamborough Head. It was very interesting to join in with the group and help in the work on the sites and to involve Professor Mark Bateman (Sheffield University) in working on dating the sites.

In 2014 I think Mike Horne suggested to Graham Kings (who was looking for a geology project on the Holderness coast) that he start photographing the coastal cliffs and describing the glacial sediments much as W.S. Bisat had carried out in the 1930s. Hense the Bisat Research Group was formed. Bisat published sections of his work in journals but it would be most useful now and for future work to have a photo archive to record the cliffs and their sediments. Graham carried out the photography over the period 2014 – 2020 with the assistance of Dennis Haughey, Arthur Speed and my self. There are now many hundreds of excellent continuous photographs curated from Sewerby to near Spurn Head only interupted by the sea defences at various locations. Work is now underway to describe in more detail various sections that seem to add to the lithological variability in the till deposits or the dating of the sequence.

Rodger Connell, 3 September 2023


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