Historic collections

The Palaeontology Department cares for a number of palaeobotanical collections of historic importance:

  • Charles Darwin Collection of Tertiary and Permo-Carboniferous woods collected during the Beagle voyage, mostly from South America.
  • WH Lang Collection of Devonian fossil plants, mostly from Scotland, Wales and England, which were used to make great advances in the study of early land plant evolution.
  • Marie Stopes Collection of Cretaceous plants from Japan, Carboniferous coal balls and paper archives, made by the celebrated feminist writer and lesser known palaeobotanist.
  • Captain Robert Falcon Scott Collection of Mesozoic plant fossils from the Discovery (1901-1904) and Terra Nova (1910-1913) expeditions to the Terra Nova Bay in the Antarctic in 1911.
  • WC Williamson Collection of Late Carboniferous plants from British coal mining areas, prepared in his spare time as a medical doctor in Manchester.
  • W Hemingway Collection of a large number of Carboniferous plant fossils from the British coal measures and the Mississippian of Scotland.
  • FW Oliver Collection of slide preparations of Carboniferous plants, particularly seed ferns, which he discovered in the early 1900s.
  • DH Scott Collection of Carboniferous plant slide preparations, made by one of the most influential Palaeozoic palaeobotanists of the last century.
  • RH Scott Collection of Tertiary leaves from Greenland, made by the mineralogist and former head of the Met Office (1867-1900).
  • Reid and Chandler Collection of living seeds that they compared with seeds from the London Clay for their monograph of 1933.
  • H Cotta Collection of permineralised plants from Chemnitz in Germany, including the only surviving type specimens from the original research on the area.
  • W Nicol Collection, containing some of the first thin sections ever made by the inventor of the Nicol Prism.
  • Taylor Collection of Carboniferous plants from Wales. Cliff and Iris Taylor were amateur palaeontologists who contributed around 1,600 plant specimens to the Natural History Museum.
  • WT Gordon Collection of Palaeozoic plants from Scotland. Gordon was an eminent geologist who developed the teaching and study of geology at King’s College, London.
  • GF Elliott Collection of thin sections of calcareous algae. Elliott was a former member of Museum staff.

Using palaeontology collections