|Description||The series contains the papers of members of the staff of the Department of Mineralogy. The staff range in status from the Keeper/Director Lazarus Fletcher, to technical assistants and clerks such as S E Ellis and T F Vincent. The earliest staff of the Department are all represented, but coverage is not so good for the later part of the twentieth century. The whole range of the Department's activities are covered in the series, including mineralogy (H A Miers), petrology (S E Ellis), chemistry (W Flight), crystallography (W J Lewis and G F Herbert Smith), X-ray work (G F Claringbull and P M Game) and meteoritics (L Fletcher). Official diaries, laboratory and general notebooks, and letter registers predominate, with correspondence, bibliographical notes, drafts of scientific papers and travel notes are also present. |
|AdminHistory||The three largest collections are those of Walter Flight, Lazarus Fletcher and G F Herbert Smith. Walter Flight (1841-1885) was born in Winchester and educated in Hampshire. He studied chemistry at Halle and Heidelberg in 1863-1866, and worked briefly in Berlin and at the University of London before being appointed an Assistant in the Department of Mineralogy in 1867. Flight worked in the chemistry laboratory set up at no 46 Great Russell Street until he transferred to South Kensington in 1881. He worked principally on the analysis of meteorites and published papers and a book on the subject. Flight resigned due to ill health in 1884 and died the following year.|
Lazarus Fletcher (1854-1921) was born in Salford and educated in Manchester. He studied mathematics and physics at Oxford, and so impressed the professor, Nevil Story-Maskelyne, that he was appointed Assistant in the Department of Mineralogy in 1878, and succeeded Story-Maskelyne as Keeper in 1880. Fletcher worked on the curation and exhibition of the collections in the Mineral Gallery, on descriptive mineralogy and on meteorites, publishing widely in all these fields. Fletcher was proposed as Director by the Trustees in 1898, but not appointed until 1909, by which time he was in poor health. He retired in 1919 and died two years later.
George Frederick Herbert Smith (1872-1953) was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and studied under Paul Groth in Munich before taking up the post of Assistant in the Department in 1897. He worked at crystallography and gemmology, and designed a number of instruments, including a three-circle goniometer. Herbert Smith left the Department in 1921 to work in Director's Office, and returned as Keeper in 1935. He retired in 1937.