Humberside Geologist No. 14

Notes and Comments

In February 2001 the Society organised a special public lecture by Prof Dick Moody of the Geologists' Association entitled "Evolution of Man, with Woman in mind", which was given at the Ferens Art Gallery. In March the Society put on a display at the Central Library for Science Week entitled "Walking with Yorkshire Dinosaurs - Swimming with Ammonites."

Some field trips had to be cancelled in 2001 because of Foot and Mouth Disease, and Rifle Butts SSSI was closed to visitors.

Cyril Dutton died in April 2001. Cyril lived in Weybridge, Surrey, and joined the Society in 1989. Over the years he contributed several articles to Humberside Geologist and was a generous donor to Society funds.

Harry Thompson died in April 2001. Harry had been a member of the Society for many years and was very involved in the design and construction of the shelter for Rifle Butts SSSI in 1993.

The Rock and Fossil Roadshow at Hull and East Riding Museum on 26th May 2001 was well attended. There were four exhibitors - Kingston Lapidary Club, Byron Blessed from Nature's Wonders in Whitby, Hull Museums with fossil plaster casting, a dinosaur trail and a computer display, and our Society. Felix Whitham had brought a variety of fossils from his collection for display and Nigel Whittington displayed photographs of dinosaur footprints from the Yorkshire Coast. David Leach, Mike Horne and Terry Rockett helped on our stand. We identified specimens brought in by visitors and were helped by Byron and Matt Stephens from the Museum. There was a steady flow of enquiries in the first 2 hours and then it got quieter. I do not know how many people visited the event, because I was too busy to count!

We saw some very nice specimens: including a collection of minerals, a mammoth's tooth and Echinocorys found as erratics, some large ammonites from the Malton area, a fossil fish from China and several fossil plants. We were also asked to identify a polished flint hand axe and a Roman coin. A photo of the event was published in the Hull Daily Mail under the heading "History Lesson".

Urban RIGS - In May 2001 the East Yorkshire RIGS Group designated eight Hull urban Geological sites as RIGS: King Billy Statue - a gilded equestrian statue on a plinth of various granites and crinoidal limestone used in the Gentlemen's' toilets beneath; Lloyds-TSB - Rapakivi Granite; Festival House - fossiliferous sandstone; Pillars on HSBC showing crystal settling; Williamsons Solicitors in Lowgate - Ashburton "Marble" with stromatoporoid fossils; Monument Buildings - granite with xenoliths; and the tuffs on both the Police station and Methodist Hall for their sedimentary structures.

Dr E V Wright MA, MBE, died in May 2001, aged 85. Ted was an honorary member of the Society and had also been awarded an honorary Doctorate by Hull University. Ted, and his brother Willy, had an interest in geology from an early age. They were encouraged in their hobby by Tom Sheppard the curator of Hull Museums. They published their first joint geology article in 1933 about the Holocene deposits of North Ferriby. Their main local geological interest was in the chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds and they published an article listing all the Chalk Pits in the area and their fossils in 1942 in the Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. This work has continued to inspire members of the Hull Geological Society to continue the research into the Yorkshire Chalk.

Ted was probably better known as a marine archaeologist and the finder of the Ferriby Boats. But he always kept in touch with the Society and contributed to our journal Humberside Geologist. We had received another article from him just before he died, about his fossil collecting in Germany during the War. A memorial service was held at Amberley Church, near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

In July 2001, Dr Steve Temperley, of Leicester University, paid tribute to Dr Marek Piasecki (known to many as Mark) with a special memorial lecture entitled "The Tectonic Evolution of the Scottish Highlands:- what we know and what we owe to Marek Piasecki". The meeting in the Friends' Meeting House, was well attended and as well as members there were former colleagues and students in the audience. Over the years Steve worked closely with Mark and it seems that Mark's energy and enthusiasm for metamorphic and structural geology will continue through Steve's researches.

In September some members of the Society took part in the Quaternary Research Association field weekend in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. And in October we held a joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society, entitled "Pleistocene World" as a tribute to the late Dr Lewis Penny.

Gordon Binns produced a Hull Geological Society Calendar for 2002 and donated the profits to Society Funds.

An additional field meeting was held at Hornsea on Saturday 19th January 2002, to allow BBC Radio Humberside to record local geologists at work for a series called 'A Sense of Place'. The recording was broadcast in April and on national Radio 4 in September.

At the beginning of January 2002 the Society was shocked by the news that the University of Hull Library planned to "remove" all geology books that had not been borrowed in the last 5 years, including those formerly in the Hull Geological Society library. We were informed that the Library wished to keep books that were of local interest, but when we offered to help identify these publications the Librarian made " ... it absolutely clear that members of the Hull Geological Society may not identify material for retention by the Library. " Through direct negotiations with the help of Huw Griffiths, a lecturer in the Geography Department who gave a lecture to the Society in February, the Society was given first refusal of the books and complete runs of journals. Stuart Jones offered the use of a room in his house for the Society to create its own library. The Society accepted the offer and a Library Sub-Committee was created by the AGM in March, to oversee the initial management of the books. Stuart was later elected to be the Librarian and Paul Richards created a catalogue. Subsequently further books were donated by members and the University of Lincoln. The news of Huw Griffiths' death in June came as a shock to the Society, especially those involved in the Library transfer. Work on the Library catalogue by Stuart Jones and Paul Richards was complete by January 2003 and it was made available to members on CD-ROM. A copy was also sent to the University Librarian.

Felix Whitham retired as Treasurer of the Society in March 2002, a post he had held since 1965, and was presented with a gift of book tokens, from donations collected from members. Barrie Heaton became the new Treasurer. The members also presented Lynden Emery with a similar gift, as he was about to move to Castle Cary in Somerset.

Ivor James died on 4th July 2002, aged 93. He had been ill for several years. He worked with Rutherford at Cambridge University and was an administrator at Hull University for many years and lived in Newland Park. He was President of the Hull Geological Society from 1978 to 1981 and then Vice-President until 1983.

Professor Michael House died in August 2002. Prof. House came to Hull from Oxford University to become Head of the Geology Department in 1967, and joined the Hull Geological Society that same year. He was elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Society in our Centenary year 1988. Following the closure of the Geology Department he moved to the Geology Department of the University of Southampton, before retiring to Weymouth. Prof. House made major contributions to the understanding of Milankovitch orbital forcing, the Devonian System and the Ammonoidea. His publications were numerous and his Geologists' Association field guide to the Dorset Coast is essential reading for anyone doing fieldwork in the area.

The Geologists' Association held a major three-day conference at Scarborough Spa over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2002. Nigel Whittington and Richard Myerscough led field trips on behalf of the Society for 'Earth Alert 2', but not enough members volunteered to help create a display stand for the event nor act as hosts for the pre-conference reception at the Sea-Life Centre. Two special beginners meetings were organised in September to follow on from Earth Alert, led by Mike Horne and Richard Myerscough.

The October 2002 joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society was about the "Cretaceous Greenhouse World". Mike Horne led a field meeting on the Friday to Speeton and Danes Dyke for 19 people, before the Saturday lectures, which were attended by about 70 people.

In the Summer of 2003 a research group was formed to survey features at Sands Top Quarry at Newbald, following observations made on a field trip in the area. The features in the Jurassic Cave Oolite limestone were thought to be palaeokarst. The preliminary results were displayed at the joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society in October.

In September 2003 a joint weekend field meeting was held in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire with Hertfordshire Geological Society, led by Ada Pringle, Felix Whitham, Jack Doyle, John Catt and Mike Horne. The weekend started with lectures on the Friday evening followed by visits to Speeton and Sewerby on the Saturday, Dimlington and Spurn on the Sunday, and Welton-le-Wold on the Monday. Jack Doyle found half of a rare Aegocrioceratid uncoiled ammonite at Speeton and wondered what had happened to the other half. Ada Pringle's book entitled Classic Landforms of the East Riding of Yorkshire was published later in the year.

A Michael House Memorial Meeting was held jointly with the YGS in October 2003. John Neale and Norman Butcher presented personal views of Michael's life and research and this was followed by papers about the Devonian and Jurassic, Michael's research interests. The meeting was attended by over 100 people.

Towards the end of the year some members of Society recorded the geology exposed at the former Dryham Lane Gravel Pits before they were flooded to create the North Cave Wetlands by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Mike Horne presented preliminary results of the research to the Members' Evening in January 2004. The East Yorkshire RIGS Group designated the site as a RIGS.

At the 2004 AGM Will Watts, from the Dinosaur Coast Project, told members about the Plesiosaur excavated from the Speeton Clay in October 2002. The specimen is nearly complete, but missing its head, and is thought to be a new species.

Donald Beveridge died on 20th March 2004, aged 78. Donald had been a member of the Society for over 30 years and was a Committee member for many years. He had been Vice-President twice - in 1974-1978 and 1988-1990. He was an active member of the Society's Centenary Chalk Project that measured and logged the Chalk stratigraphy of East Yorkshire in the 1980s. It was Donald who solved the problems we had at Danes Dyke - recognising that part of the cliff had slipped causing a duplication of 8 metres of the section. Donald was always interested in the landscape, walking and conservation. It was Donald, along with his close friend the late Harry Thompson, who played the major part in the planning, design, fundraising and construction of the shelter for Rifle Butts SSSI.

In May the Society started to hold regular monthly microscopy meetings at the University for members interested in microfossils, micromounts, sedimentology or optical mineralogy.

The "Fossil Fossick" at Mappleton organised in conjunction with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and led by Nigel Whittington attracted about 200 people and caused car-parking chaos! Luckily Stuart Jones and Mike Horne also attended the meeting and helped to lead it.

A mammoth tooth was found on the beach between Cowden and Mappleton early in July 2004 after a storm washed sand away. It was put on display in Hornsea Museum, and was also displayed at our joint meeting with the YGS in November, which had 'Glacial Landforms and Processes' as a theme. A tusk was subsequently found at the same locality.

In September 2004 some Society members attended a field meeting of the Ostracod Group of the Micropalaeontological Society studying Lower Cretaceous Speeton Clay and Upper Cretaceous of Flamborough Head. This led to the start of a research project to record the exposure of the Speeton Shell Bed with Alan Lord of University College London. Alan obtained special permission from English Nature to collect samples from this SSSI. In July 2005 he joined a party of Society members who measured, photographed and collected samples from the site.

A meeting about 'Glacial Landforms and Processes' was held jointly with the Yorkshire Geological Society on Saturday 6th November 2004. The displays included :- a tooth and a tusk found on the beach near Mappleton earlier in the year by Christopher Brogden (the specimens are now in Hornsea Museum); erratic fossils from Holderness found by Stuart Jones; bones, shells and erratics from Keyingham Gravel Pits by Stephen Whitaker; and maps showing the distribution of glacial erratics on the Holderness Coast, by Mike Horne.

The "spring clean" at Rifle Butts in 2004 had been badly attended and because of some slippage above the face there a second visit was required in October. In order to encourage more members to take part in April 2005 we obtained permission from the warden to have a barbecue at the site!

Members of the Society organised nine events for Yorkshire Geology Month, which was held in May 2005. A 'Stones and Bones' cemetery walk featured in the Hull Daily Mail and due to subsequent public demand was repeated later in the month. A report of the Hull Roadshow was featured in the Advertiser. The Roadshow at Hornsea Museum was seen by about 200 people; we were under an awning on the main shopping street on a Saturday and several people went home to bring specimens back for identification!

On March 10th, 1898, George Lamplugh had given a lecture to the Hull Geological Society entitled "Some open questions in East Yorkshire Geology". It was later published in the Society's Transactions. Our present Society Secretary, Mike Horne, had been fascinated by this paper for several years and suggested to the Yorkshire Geological Society Council that it was time to reply to the 'open questions'. The result was a joint lecture meeting and field trip in October 2005. The speakers were John Catt, Mike Horne, Rory Mortimore and Pete Rawson. Mike Horne recorded some of the talks and these were later published with the text of some talks and photographs from the weekend's events by Paul Richards on a CD-ROM as Humberside Geologist Special Publication number one.

At the meeting there were the following displays by members and guests :- 'Belemnites from a raft of ?Oxford Clay found on the Holderness Coast' by Stuart Jones; 'Squat Lobster from the Speeton Clay' by Dave Turner from Essex; 'Fossils from the Tealby series and chalk succession of North Lincolnshire' by John Green; 'A ?Tertiary bivalve from the Holderness Tills' donated to Mike Horne by Chris Brogden; 'Glacial erratics from the Wolds plateau' by Derek Gobbett; and 'Erratics from the Yorkshire Coast from Whitby to Easington' by Ron Harrison.

Professor John Neale died on Friday 20th January 2006, aged 79. John Neale had a long association with the Hull Geological Society, giving his first lecture to the Society in 1950. He joined the Society in 1965 and helped with the editing and production of East Yorkshire Field Studies. He was elected as an Honorary Life Member in 1977. John worked as a lecturer at Hull University, specialising in the Speeton Clay and ostracods, until the closure of the Geology Department in 1991. John was also a past-President of the Yorkshire Geological Society and was awarded their Sorby Medal in 1986. In March 2006, Mrs. Patti Neale donated some of John's geology books to the Society's Library.

Matt Stephens left his post as Keeper of Natural History (and geology) at Hull and East Riding Museum in August 2004 to take up a post at Church Farm Museum in Cleethorpes. Because of this he resigned as Secretary of the East Yorkshire RIGS Group. In December Barrie Heaton was elected as the new Secretary of the Group and retrieved the Group's minutes books and site records from the Museum. Matt resigned from the Society in 2006.

In reply to correspondence in 2005 we discovered from Jayne Taylor that the post at the Museum had been "deleted" and that a naturalist from the Yorkshire Museum would visit Hull once a month to maintain the collection under the supervision of Bryan Sitch, the keeper of Archaeology. Barrie Heaton and Mike Horne visited Bryan and Jane in November 2005 to raise the concerns of local geologists about the future of the collections and future donations. The Museum has decided to have a freeze on all new acquisitions to all their collections for three years, during which there will be a review of policies and cataloguing will be brought up to date. Bryan Sitch left the Museum to take up a post in Manchester in December 2005.

(Compiled by Mike Horne, 2006)

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