Humberside Geologist no 3


By Kenneth Fenton

1978 brought the 90th. Anniversary of the founding of the Hull Geological Society by a group of men most of whom were already active in the Hull Natural History Society which is celebrating its Centenary this year (1980). The Society's first two minute books are now in the collection of the Local History Library, Albion Street, from which the following has been extracted.-

"At a meeting at the Caxton Institute, Hull, Friday, 1st June, 1888 called with a view to the formation of a Geological Society for Hull ...

Resolved on a motion of Messrs. J.W. Stather, seconded by Dr. F.F. Walton that a Society be formed called the Hull Geological Society (carried unanimously 14 voting).

After some discussion Dr. Walton moved and J.W. Stather seconded that this meeting now become the first meeting of the Hull Geological Society ...

First meeting present - Dr. F.F. Walton, J. Stears, W. Dixon, E. Peake, G. Silabon, W.N. Thompson, Jas. F. Robinson, D.M. Mackay, M. Carmichael, Chas. M. Mason, Thos. Thelwall, Geo. N. Neill, J.W. Stather, G. White, Jas. Carter."

Dr. Walton was voted to the chair and the annual subscription fixed at four shillings. At a later meeting, 8th June, the first summer programme was planned -

16th June Kelsey Hill 30th June Bridlington

16th July Robin Hood's Bay 25th July Brough

6th August Market Weighton 18th August Ferriby Sluice

and in September, Hornsea.

The first meeting of the winter programme was held in the Royal Institution, Albion Street (destroyed during the war) when on 15th November, Mr. J.F. Robinson spoke on "Limestone".

It is interesting to note that on 7th March, 1889 it was "proposed by Mr. Silabon and seconded by Mr. Carmichael that ladies be admitted into the Society on the same terms as gentlemen". Later, in 1895 the subscription was raised to five shillings, then to seven shillings and sixpence in the twenties where it remained until the late forties when the Society had to be reorganised.

The earliest description of field meeting is that of the first to Kelsey Hill written up very proficiently by F.F. Walton. The following is from the report of the visit to Hornsea on 8th September, 1888, by Geo. Silabon -

"We left the Paragon Station at 2.05 p.m. and an hour's ride brought us to Hornsea, from which place our intention was to inspect the cliffs as far as Skipsea, but once on the sands the company was soon dispersed some down to the water's edge gathering sea-weeds and shells, others doing nothing but enjoying the sea-breeze, some of them were young geologists, out almost on their first expedition and did not know what a treat was before them ..."

He concludes -

"... We could talk to each other and I had many more questions asked than I could answer, for everybody-wanted to know what every stone was composed of and where it had come from, besides I was very busy gathering a winter stock of Plantago major ... for my birds. In about an hour we were back in Hornsea by twilight with just enough time to get some refreshment, but I cannot recommend Hornsea Ale."

A number of the Society's early records are at present in my possession and I hope to arrange a display of them at a forth-coming Members' Evening. I am hoping to persuade a few of the survivors of the immediate pre- and post-war years to record some of their reminiscences and we are printing below the first of these, from Dr R. M. Stainforth. A son of the late Tommy Stainforth (an active member of this Society and the Naturalists and who for many years taught Biology at the College of Technology) he was educated at Hymers College and the Royal School of Mines, becoming an oil geologist in South America. He lives in Vancouver Island and is still a consultant geologist working for Esso.

Before concluding this note, I would like to put on record the Society's indebtedness to Dr. L. F. Penny of the Department of Geology, Hull University, who has retired this year. Dr. Penny has had a long association with this Society and has served as a Vice-President and member of the Committee. He gave his first lecture to our members in January 1950, has given many others since and led various field meetings for us. He will always be remembered for his major contribution to our understanding of the local Pleistocene Stratigraphy. He is now leaving us to live in North Yorkshire and we wish him and Mrs. Penny a long and happy retirement.

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Humberside Geologist



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