Record

Ref NoDF ENT
Alt Ref NoDF ENT
TitleEntomology
DescriptionDF300 Keeper of Entomology's Correspondence
DF301 Registers of Entomology Departmental Correspondence
DF302 Keeper of Entomology's out-letters
DF303 Entomology Reports to Trustees Meetings and other Official Documents
DF304 Entomology Early Sectional correspondence
DF305 Keeper of Entomology's Expedition Files
DF306 Keeper of Entomology's Subject Files
DF307 Keeper of Entomology's Staff Files
DF308 Entomology Donation Records
DF309 Entomology Departmental and Sectional Visitors Books
DF310 Entomology Financial Records
DF311 Entomology Artwork for Publication
DF312 Entomology Librarian's Correspondence
DF313 Entomology Specimen Loan Books
DF314 Entomology Accession Registers
DF315 Deputy Keeper of Entomology's Subject Files
DF316 Entomological Artists, Correspondence and Papers
DF330 Economic Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF331 Diptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF332 Lepidoptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF333 Coleoptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF334 Hemiptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF335 'Neuropteroid' Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF336 Culicidae Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF337 Hymenoptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF338 Trichoptera Section, Correspondence and Papers
DF340 Custodian of Rothschild Collection of Siphonaptera, Correspondence and Papers
Date1819-2015
Related MaterialLetters and memoranda relating to the insect collections before the formation of the Department are held in the Department of Zoology archive, particularly in DF200 and DF205, and in two volumes of Entomological Memoranda, 1821-1840, held in the Entomology Library.
Held_ByNHM Archives
LevelFonds
AdminHistoryThe Department of Entomology was set up on 1st April 1913. Before that date insects had been studied alongside the other arthropods within the Zoology Department. In 1895 Zoology was divided into three sections, with Arthur Gardiner Butler (1844-1925) becoming Assistant Keeper responsible for the insects. Formation of a separate department of entomology was recommended in 1906, but not implemented for seven years.

In 1913 the staff consisted of the Keeper, Charles Joseph Gahan (1862-1939), nine Assistants, and ten Attendants. Most of the work of the Department was in classical taxonomy and curation, although some research on tropical diseases and other economic and applied topics was initiated. Staff numbers were increased in 1930 only to be cut back during the economic crisis of 1931. However, by 1937 there were 17 scientists distributed among seven sections, backed up by 20 technical staff and 22 specialists, who regularly worked in the Department as unofficial researchers. Economic research was restricted to 'domestic' areas during the 1930s, to avoid overlapping with other research institutes, and the economic collection was disbanded in 1933. By 1965 staff numbered 68, who between them were responsible for a collection of more than 15 million specimens, a fine library, a large exhibition gallery, an extensive taxonomic research programme and an information service.
Since 1909 the Department has worked closely with the Bureau of Entomological Research (later the Imperial, and finally the Commonwealth Institute of Entomology), which was set up by the Colonial Office under Sir Guy Marshall, and housed in the Museum. In 1953 the Colonial Office set up The Termite Research Unit under W V Harris, which is housed in the Museum under a similar arrangement.

From 1882 the insect collections were housed in four, and later ten, rooms in the southwest basement of the Museum. The Department moved into an extension of the New Spirit Building in 1930, pending construction of a new Entomology Block. This building, which was under construction from 1934 to 1952, was shared with the Bird Section of Zoology Department until 1972. There was an outpost of the Department at Tring from 1937, when Lord Rothschild bequeathed his huge insect collection to the Museum, until 1972, when the transfer of the Bird Section finally made space for it to move to London.

In 2005, in preparation for the construction of a new building to be opened in 2008, the Entomology staff and collections were dispersed through the South Kensington site (into the former British Natural History gallery, Origin of Species exhibition and the Spencer Gallery) and the Wandsworth outstore. The Entomology block was demolished 2005-2006.

The Department of Entomology was subsumed into the Department of Life Sciences (along with the Department of Botany and the Department of Zoology) a as part of the restructure of Science by the Director of Science in 2012. As part of the restructure, the position of Keeper no longer exits and the collections manager is the Principal Curator in Charge, Insects. The collection sections remain largely the same, e.g. Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hemiptera etc.

References:
Riley, N D, 1964. The Department of Entomology of the British Museum (Natural History), 1904-1964, a brief historical sketch. The XIIth International Congress of Entomology, London.
Stearn, W T, 1981. The Natural History Museum at South Kensington. Heinemann. Chapter 13.


ASSISTANT KEEPERS IN CHARGE OF INSECTS
Arthur Gardiner Butler 1895-1901
George Francis Hampson (acting) 1901-1905
Charles Owen Waterhouse 1905-1910
Charles Joseph Gahan 1910-1913

KEEPERS OF ENTOMOLOGY
Charles Joseph Gahan 1913-1927
Ernest Edward Austen 1927-1932
Norman Denbigh Riley 1932-1955
William Edward China 1955-1960
John Priestman Doncaster 1960-1968
Paul Freeman 1968-1981
Laurence Mound 1981-1992
Richard Lane 1992-1997
Rory Post (Acting) 1997-1998
Richard Irwin Vane-Wright 1998-2004
Quentin Wheeler 2004-2006
Martin Hall (Acting) 2006
Malcolm Scoble 2006-2011
Andrew Polaszek (Acting) 2011-2012

Show related Persons records.

Persons
CodePersonNameDates
PX1110Butler; Arthur Gardiner (1844-1925); Entomologist & Ornithologist1844-1925
PX499China; William Edward (1895-1979); Entomologist; Keeper of Entomology1895-1979
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