Hull Geological Society


Local Geology
Next Meeting
Contact us

 Hull Geological Society 135th Anniversary

Mike Horne’s memories of some Hull Geological Society meetings

I think that the first Hull Geological Society meeting I attended was a field trip to Melton Bottoms Quarry led by Felix Whitham. It was a joint meeting with the Harker Geological Society (for Hull University students) and it was muddy.

I joined the Hull Geological Society in January 1979 and slowly started attending meetings. Some of these stand out in my memory.

There was one indoor meeting where there was a lecture about ‘tunnelling in ancient Rome’ where the lecturer showed a lot of black and white projector slides. The guest speaker got to the end of the 80 slide carrousel and there was a collective sigh of relief from the audience, followed by a groan when he asked for the “next carousel please”! The Secretary Ken Fenton gave a vote of thanks to the speaker in which he said it was the best HGS lecture he had attended all Winter; he was being honest because in reality he had missed the other five due to work commitments teaching a biology night class!

I remember a field trip to the Holderness Coast using public transport one autumn. There were just two of, myself and Ken Fenton who led the trip. We travelled by train to Bridlington Station and walked down the coast to Hornsea. Ken was an excellent communicator and passed on his knowledge of the Quaternary geology. At the time there was a nudist beach at Fraisthorpe and there were some nudists huddled under the cliff slowly turning blue; we chose not to disturb them. At Hornsea we went for a pint in a pub before catching the bus back to Hull.

Another field trip was to Hawsker Bottoms. There is a very steep cliff there and the route down is a zig-zag path better suited to mountain goats. Not many people or geologists go there. Ken Fenton found a superb Ichthyosaur skull in a large block, it was too good to leave for the sea to erode away. Lynden Emery had brought a large frame rucksack, so we lashed the specimen to the frame of the rucksack and pushed him back up the cliff. I do wonder what became of the specimen and assume that it is now a treasured possession of Ken’s family.

My first indoor meeting as Secretary to the Society will always stick in my mind [10th October 1985]. It was a bit hectic. Sheila Rogers was President by could not stay for the meeting, but had given Ken Fenton, then Vic President, a lift to the University. I set out a display of rocks from my holiday in Jersey. I set up some polarising microscopes for Roy Thackeray, who had been making thin sections of the Exeter Volcanics, but he did not actually show up. I dropped my box of projector slides and had to hurriedly rearrange them  before I gave a talk. And I ducked out of reading the minutes by asking Ken to read them for me. After the meeting, as I packed away the microscopes at the end of the meeting, I noticed through the window some blue flashing lights outside. Next morning I learnt that Ken had passed away in his sleep. He had been having heart problems and had refused to get into the ambulance that had been called for him.

One amazing meeting was the Rock and Fossil Roadshow that we held in the Ferens Art Gallery. I just loved the venue and the way that we were displaying the natural art of crystals and fossils amongst the paintings and statues.

Then there was the time that we invited Eric Robinson from the Geologists’ Association in London to speak at an open meeting in the Grammar School Museum in Hull on a weekday lunchtime. There were not many people in the audience and so, even though he had never visited Hull before, Eric decided not to give his prepared lecture but to go for an urban geology walk instead. After about an hour there were about 2 dozen afternoon shoppers following him around looking at the shop fronts and buildings. Then the impromptu walk ended they were able to identify Ancaster Stone because of its ‘streaky bacon’ texture.

I am so grateful to the members of the Society who willingly share their expertise and enthusiasm for our Science. In particular I benefited from the help of Lynden Emery who introduced me to the Speeton Clay, Ken Fenton who shared his knowledge of the Middle Jurassic plants of the Yorkshire coast and the Quaternary of the Holderness coast, Felix Whitham with his attention to the detail of Chalk stratigraphy and Ron Harrison’s enthusiasm for erratics and urban geology.

The Society has changed a bit from my early days as a member; for instance we now have PowerPoint rather than slide projectors and started to hold a “blended” programme that includes online meetings which enable distant members to participate in our meetings. It is still composed of a friendly bunch of enthusiastic people with a common interest in rocks, fossils and minerals. Long may it flourish!

 28th September 2023


Copyright - Hull Geological Society 2024

Registered Educational Charity No. 229147