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Minerals from the North of England

I collected minerals in the North of England (Yorkshire, County Durham and Cumbria) in the early 1980s, sometimes in brilliant sunshine, but at other times in the gloom and rain. A wonderful diversity of mineral species occurs in the area. I long ago parted with the specimens found then, but recently put this small (but growing!) group together for old times' sake. It now includes examples from several earlier collections, spanning a century and a half of collecting.

These earlier collectors include: Thomas B. Wilson (1807-1865), William W. Jefferis (1820-1906), John Frederick "Lord" Calvert (1825-1897), Charles Otto Trechmann (1851-1917), John S. Albanese (1898-1969), William (Bill) F. Davidson (1907-2002), Chas. W. Velte jr (1914-1987), Carlton Davis (1920-2003), Florence Mecke, Mick Sutcliffe (1941-2005), Richard W. Barstow (1947-1982), Scott J. Williams, Ray Clements, Howard Belsky, Ilse Wilke, Ben de Wit, Pearl Freeman, Tony Nikischer (1949- ) and Lindsay Greenbank (1941- ). There were some real characters in this group.

Some excellent histories of the northern England mining districts are provided at http://www.steetleyminerals.com ; in the Minerals of Northern England Issue of the UK Journal of Mines & Minerals (Number 22, 2002); and in "Minerals of Northern England" by Symes and Young. The Mineralogical Record's 2010 "Classic Minerals of Northern England" has some fine illustrations and interesting accounts of noted collectors.

One day I'll dig into some genealogy since I see that my great grandfather (Thomas Forster Brown, mining engineer) had a son Westgarth Forster Brown (with first wife Helen Hicks) who attended a 1930 Garrigill dedication to a famous earlier Westgarth Forster (1772-1835). That earlier Westgarth was a pioneering geologist, mineralogist and mining engineer. He was my great-great-great uncle. He wrote "A Treatise on a Section of the Strata from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to the Mountain of Cross Fell in Cumberland." A tribute to Westgarth Forster in the third edition reads as follows:

"Though nearly half a century has elapsed since the grave closed over Westgarth Forster's remains, his name still continues a household word amongst the people of Alston Moor; he lives in their minds as a clever, though somewhat eccentric man, different in many respects from the ordinary run of men. But it is not only among the Alstonians that his name lives; it is frequently heard in Weardale and Allendale. Local mining agents and local geologists are familiar with it; mining agents and geologists, who have a mining reputation which is more than local, still continue to quote him as an authority on mining and geological questions. His "Section of the Strata" is still the standard work on the geology of the two northern counties. It was never more highly prized by miners than it is now. Though the book was written when the science of geology was in its initial stage; when even people of education recognised no distinction between one kind of rock and another; when such terms as stratified and unstratified, aqueous and igneous, seldom appeared in print, and were scarcely ever heard; when the great works of Buckland, De la Beche, Phillips, Lyell, Murchison, Sedgwick, and other geologists had not yet appeared, the classification of the strata which it contains is the one still in use."

The first edition of "Strata" was issued in 1809, the same year that William Smith's geological map of England was first produced.

My great-great-great-great grandfather, the elder Westgarth (1738-1797), was known as “one of the best judges of lead-mines in the North of England.” The mining tradition continued for at least the next six generations and I see that Thomas Forster Brown and Westgarth Forster Brown (who's grandson Mark was a geologist too) were two of the directors of the Llangeinor Colliery Co. Ltd. Thomas was head of T. Forster Brown & Rees of Cardiff and was one of the recognized authorities on the geology of the South Wales coalfields (Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute, Volume 75). One of his other sons, Edward Otto Forster Brown (1881-1941), "in 1905 passed first in the examination for the First Class Colliery Manager's certificate" and later (1927) wrote a book on "Vertical Shaft Sinking". Thomas's son Cameron was killed by a German shell in France in 1916 ( http://www.pbase.com/hajar/image/143412839 ). His daughter Doris was a writer ( http://www.pbase.com/hajar/catherine_ives ).
West Cumbria Minerals
West Cumbria Minerals
Lake District Minerals
Lake District Minerals
Caldbeck Fells Minerals
Caldbeck Fells Minerals
Cumbrian Calcites
Cumbrian Calcites
Alston Moor Minerals
Alston Moor Minerals
West Pennines Minerals
West Pennines Minerals
Shap Blue and Pink Quarries
Shap Blue and Pink Quarries
Durham Minerals
Durham Minerals
Yorkshire Minerals
Yorkshire Minerals
Derbyshire Minerals
Derbyshire Minerals
Northern England Mineral Localities
Northern England Mineral Localities
Some Favourites
Some Favourites