Sad news

It is with great sadness that we wish to report that Hilary Davies died in hospital on New Year’s Eve after a long illness.
Hilary’s funeral will be at 11.20 on 1st February at Chester Crematorium. It has been suggested that no more than 33 people attend while current guidelines are in place, and we understand that nearly all the 33 places have been taken.
Please do not send gifts or flowers. Alun has suggested that donations in Hilary’s memory may be made to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust:
If anyone would like to send memories and condolences to Alun he is happy to receive them at home. Please contact the secretary,, for the address.

Members’ evening – session 163

The picture is one of my favourite places – I leave you to find out where it is. – Peter

There will be a Members’ evening on January 4th 2022 and you are reminded that Maggie set you a challenge during the last lecture to produce a virtual field trip to one location (and she gave you eighteen as a start). It only needs to be short (10 – 15 minutes).

If you have an item for this event then please email Chris Hunt, so he can plan the evening.

Mary Anning campaign for statue reaches target

The campaign to erect a statue in honour of Dorset palaeontologist Mary Anning in her hometown of Lyme Regis has hit its fundraising target of £100,000.

The Mary Anning Rocks campaign was launched in November

Work has begun on the statue and fundraisers have now raised a further £30,000 which is needed to secure planning permission and for legal fees, ground works and transportation.

They are now hoping to raise a further £50,000 for educational resources.

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Image: Denise Dutton

Additional donations will be used to launch the Mary Anning Rocks Learning Legacy – an educational program of free learning materials and funded fossils walks for children from underserved backgrounds.

Appeal to raise a statue to commemorate the life and work of Mary Anning (1799-1847)

Mary Anning was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for finds she made in Jurassic marine rocks in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in Dorset, England.

Her findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Mary Anning (1799-1847)
© Creative Commons

Mary searched for fossils in the area’s Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea. Her discoveries included the first correctly identified ichthyosaur skeleton; the first two nearly complete plesiosaur skeletons; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and various fish fossils. Her observations played a key role in the discovery of coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces, and she also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods.

As a Dissenter and a woman, Mary was not able to fully participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were mostly Anglican gentlemen, and she struggled financially for much of her life. As a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. However her friend, geologist Henry De la Beche, painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, based it largely on fossils she had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.

Mary became well known in geological circles not only in Britain but in Europe and America, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils, but the only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime, appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine’s editor questioning one of its claims.

After her death in 1847 from breast cancer, Mary’s unusual life story attracted increasing interest. Charles Dickens wrote an article about Anning’s life in February 1865 in his literary magazine All the Year Round.

In 2010 the Royal Society included Mary Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.

Contributions to the fund may be added at:-

where further information, a short film and final progress on the appeal, can be obtained.

New citizen science project

This project, launched on 12th January 2021, is inviting the public to help recover data from historic tide gauge ledgers from the North West of England and convert it into usable data by scientists.

The National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) dataset is used globally to study climate change and sea level rise by many organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

NOC’s Head of PSMSL and Marine Data Manager, Elizabeth Bradshaw, is coordinating the project, and commented “Around 3 million people live near the coast in the UK, and with global sea level rising, we need long records to be able to investigate how local tides and sea level are changing. One way this can be done is by recovering data from old documents. In this project, we are trying to convert data from old tide gauge ledgers from two locations in the North West of England into data usable by scientists.”

The first ledgers, comprising of around 16000 pages, focus on two locations: George’s Pier in Liverpool, now the site of the Cunard Building, and Hilbre Island, a tidal island on the Wirral peninsula.

Find out more at:

Volunteers can participate in the project here:

UNESCO Earth Sciences Lectures

Earth Materials for a Sustainable and Thriving Society

Minerals and other Earth materials are a key component in the development of a sustainable global society, providing essential raw materials for technologies and economic growth while respecting the natural world.

This Lecture Series, sponsored by UNESCO, has been organised in collaboration with IUGS and iCRAG. The Series will boost knowledge of Earth materials and lectures will be delivered in webinar format by recognized global experts. Presentations will be framed in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Lectures will be freely accessible, and recordings will be made available online soon after presentation. To book a place visit: