Category Archives: Natural History

In Memoriam: Oliver Bernard Ellis

Photograph of Oliver Bernard Ellis in uniform.

Oliver Bernard Ellis

Oliver Bernard Ellis was killed in active service over the German lines near Arleux on 19th May 1917, aged 18 years.

He was from Leicester and attended Bootham School from 1912 to 1916.  He was a keen sportsman at school, and also very interested in natural history and photography.

The March 1915 issue of Bootham Magazine tells us:

REPORT OF THE OLD SCHOLARS’ ASSOCIATION NATURAL HISTORY EXHIBITION COMMITTEE, 1914.

“After the absence of competitors last year we are pleased to welcome the work of three ornithologists. O. B. Ellis, of Leicester, shows an extensive series of observations, illustrated by photographs and lantern slides. These include an excellent series, starting with the cuckoo’s egg in the hedgesparrow’s nest, and showing the development of the cuckoo and the fate of the young hedge-sparrow. The black-headed gulls and other water-fowl at Skipwith have been studied and illustrated by a further series of creditable photographs. There were extensive fatalities among young gulls, but some suspicion cast upon owls seems to have been dispelled by careful examination of their pellets. A long essay on ‘ How Birds Protect their Eggs ‘ shows that O. B. Ellis has tried to arrange his observations and make them of value. We award him an exhibition of £7.”

Photograph of hedgesparrow, by O B Ellis

Hedgesparrow, photo by O B Ellis

Oliver had found the newly-hatched cuckoo fledgling in a nest on Strensall Common.  He made a unique photographic record if its growth by cycling to Strensall every other day.  To maintain the sequence, Oliver had on several occasions to break out of School before dawn, take the photographs when there was enough light, and then get back in time for “Silence”.

When he left, the school magazine, Bootham, wrote of him:

“O. B. ELLIS excelled in all forms of athletics. He was a brilliant and daring gymnast, weathering all hurts. He was an able goal-keeper, where he obtained his 1st Masters’ colours, and, later, played at outside right. At cricket he obtained his 1st eleven colours. Last year he obtained the Silver Medal of the Life-Saving Society and served on the Athletics and Football Committees. Last year he tied for the Senior Athletics Cup, and helped to command the Fire Brigade. He was a wonderful practical photographer, and was very patient over his ornithological excursions with the camera. He was a curator of ornithology and the N.H. [Natural History] rooms, and two years ago obtained the Old Scholars’ Prize. He leaves from the Upper Senior, and was a reeve [prefect].”

Oliver had a place at St John’s College, Cambridge and had hoped to take up his residence there in the autumn of 1916.  However, he joined that Royal Naval Air Service in June 1916.

He was trained at Redcar R.N.A.S. Station for three months.  In November he was transferred to Cranwell where he quickly qualified for his first class pilot’s certificate.  In March 1917 he was confirmed in the rank of Flight Sub-Lt.   He left England for Dunkirk, and shortly afterwards to the front in Flanders, and then to Squadron No 1 R.N.A.S., near Arras.  On May 20th he was notified as “missing” and enquiries found that he had gone down on May 19th in an engagement with a superior force over the German lines, “east of Arleux”.

In a letter received from Squadron Commander R. S. Dallas, R. N.:

“……I am afraid I was not actually leading the patrol you mention on the 19th May.  I was leading one patrol and was joined by another in which your son was.  We became engaged in a bit of a fight, and your son gave a very fine account of himself indeed.  He has already shot down one of his opponents when I say him attacked by another.  Your son was very tenacious and fought it out, and went down out of control through the clouds……. “

Squadron Commander Haskins writes:

“…. Although your son was not with more than a few weeks, I had formed a high opinion of him as an officer and a fighting pilot.  A cheery messmate, always trading for any work or play, he is a great loss to us ………. Your son has helped us to maintain our present superiority over theGerman air service, which is essential to winning this war, and that is a valuable service to our country…..”

The Headmaster wrote in “The Friend”:

“Oliver Ellis came to Bootham from Sidcot with a reputation for genial friendship and for holding the junior sports championship two years in succession.  He proved himself a fearless football player, a brilliant and daring gymnast.  He took a good position in class, and did excellently in his pilot’s examination a few months ago.  He was a keen ornithologist and a forceful reeve – full of the spirit of adventure when he left school less than a year ago.  His loss will be felt in a large circle of friends, for his has left behind him that worthier thing than tears, the love of friends without a single foe.”

The news of his death made a deep impression on the school.  One of his school-fellows says:

“We could scarcely believe that one who possessed his gifts had been taken so soon.  His energy and spirit, combined with remarkable thoroughness, made his a leader in every undertaking; and his open honesty made him the true friend of all who knew him.”

In a letter home, dated May 3rd 1917, Oliver had written  “….. thank God that I’ve got the safest job in this war. Don’t worry about me, I’m having the time of my life and am enjoying myself hugely, and the war can’t last for ever.”

Oliver Bernard Ellis is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Oliver was the subject of a series of articles for Explore Your Archives week in 2014. More may be read about him here:

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 1 (Athletics) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=329

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 2 (Natural History) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=335

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 3 (Railway Buildings) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=344

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 4 (“A letter from Alexandria”) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=348

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 5 (R.N.A.S.) http://blogs.boothamschool.com/archives/?p=355

 

100 years since the death of Silvanus P. Thompson

Leavers Photograph 1867 (Silvanus P. Thompson is on the back row on the left hand end)

Leavers Photograph 1867 (Silvanus P. Thompson is on the back row on the left hand end)

12th June marks 100 years since the death of Silvanus P. Thompson, who was born in York in 1851 and went on to become an eminent physicist. His father taught at Bootham School, and the family lived in Union Terrace. Silvanus attended Bootham School between 1858 and 1867, and returned as a teacher between 1870 and 1875. During his career he was appointed Professor of Physics at University College Bristol, then Finsbury College in London, and was made Fellow of the Royal Society, President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, President of the Physical Society of London and President of the Röntgen Society.

Silvanus P. Thompson greets Arthur Rowntree (Headmaster) in 1914

Silvanus P. Thompson greets Arthur Rowntree (Headmaster) in 1914

Silvanus P. Thompson would have benefitted from the science teaching and activities at Bootham School. The school was equipped with laboratories, regular lectures were given by teachers or visiting scientists on everything from Anatomy, Mechanics, Fossil Zoology, Physics and the Menai Bridge. The school had a flourishing Natural History Society and natural curiosity was encouraged. During a speech at the school 1902 he talked about the “many memories some of us have of the mysterious operations, the photography, the bird-stuffing, and the chemical explosions which went on.” He approved of how students were taught “not to be afraid to try, to put forward their strength, to make experiments. This character, this sturdy independence, this originality of effort, which the school has fostered, may we not hope that it will long flourish?” He argued that the pressure of examinations should not be allowed “to spoil in the future those features of originality, those sources of independent life, those influences which have developed the School along its own lines? Are we to have a school of which the primary consideration is that it shall score in taking off prizes at outside examinations? I sincerely hope that will not be so.” That thread of encouraging curiosity, looking for the best in each individual and enabling them to make the best use of their talents has continued throughout the history of the school.

First World War: School News March 1916

From Bootham magazine, March 1916

Natural History

“The interest in natural history seems at present less in amount than in previous years, though those who are working at the various subjects are keen, and the work reaches a pretty high standard. Ambulance work, house matches, and the bath are mentioned by various members of the committee as matters which occupy some of the leisure at one time given to natural history. There has also been considerable difficulty in arranging excursions owing to increased train fares. Walks to Askham, Hobmoor, and Wart-hill have to a certain extent replaced longer journeys. It is worth pointing out in this connection, however, that quite good natural history work can be done without going far.”

Air Raid Preparations

“The frequent and successful air raids that have been carried out in this country so recently have made the possibility of their arrival over York a very real one, and we are accordingly making preparations to receive them. Weekly air raid practices have been instituted, which comprise a general rush downstairs with whatever clothing can be laid hands on, but the prospect of any prolonged stay in the box-room during the night is not a very pleasant or a comforting one.

On February 19th about twenty of those who had gained First Aid certificates underwent a very novel experience, when they offered themselves as subjects for the air raid practice held by the St. John Ambulance Association in York. About ten o’clock at night they were asked to place themselves in various parts of the city, bearing labels telling them of their injuries, and there they waited until the ambulance found them, bandaged them, and then motored them back to the hospital for proper medical treatment. Luckily for the success of the test the moon was at its best and the night clear, and no great difficulties had to be met with, while the experience was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us who underwent it.”

William Fryer Harvey

Thanks to Kate, one of the volunteers in the archive, for researching and writing this post.

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William Fryer Harvey was at Bootham from 1898 to 1901. He was born in 1885 into a prosperous West Yorkshire Quaker family. His father and brothers were also at Bootham and his sister a pupil at The Mount. Having studied at Balliol College Oxford, William then took a degree in medicine at Leeds. He joined the Friends Ambulance unit in 1914 and served until 1916. In 1918 whilst serving in the Royal Navy as a surgeon-lieutenant, he was involved in a rescue from the boiler room on board ship. For his bravery he was awarded the Albert Medal for Lifesaving and the full citation can be read in Bootham magazine, Summer 1918. Sadly this incident damaged his lungs and he never again regained full health, dying at the early age of 57. Amongst his many achievements the one for which he was probably most well known during his lifetime was as the published author of  “supernatural tales”. One of the most famous was “The Beast with Five Fingers” and this was made into a film with Peter Lorre in 1946.

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The archives contain a number of items written by him during his years at school. The collection includes letters to parents and his brothers both from school and whilst on holiday and a beautifully bound exhibition piece entitled “A collection of leaves”. There is also a volume of natural history observations and a two-volume diary of 1899. The handwriting is easy to read and there a number of very good pencil sketches and coloured illustrations of leaves, flowers, plants and the various churches and houses he visited. Reading through these it is interesting to ponder what hints there are in the schoolboy writings for the direction his life took after leaving Bootham. Certainly there is mention of many medical issues – scarlet fever, measles, colds etc are mentioned and in one letter he relates how a fellow scholar “ fell down in a fit during science going black in the face”. Happily after medical assistance, the boy recovered quickly enough to be playing football later in the day! He exhorts one of his brothers, studying in France, not to “catch smallpox from books” there and when his sister is taken ill, he writes to his brother that “her mind has given way probably from her studious habits” and says they should take this as an example “not to overwork themselves for fear of a similar fate befalling us”. However it is obvious that he has not taken this to heart, as prolonged study would have been needed to gain his medical qualifications.

From reading of his later life, his love of church architecture and the natural sciences seem to have been lifelong interests and I hope he kept the enquiring mind, which is illustrated, in the following extracts from the diary, written when he would have been around 13 years old.

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 “June 26th. I performed the following experiment to show that flowers on respiring produce carbon di oxide; by respiring I mean the taking in of oxygen. I took a number of common garden flowers such as marigold, blue corncockle, rose and placed them in a flask, being kept in position by a plug of cotton wool. I placed the flask in an inverted retort stand and placed a cork in the neck of the flask through which a glass was put open at both ends; one end of glass tube dipped in mercury on the top of which floated a solution of potassium hydrate. This solution absorbed the carbon di oxide given out by the flowers and the mercury rose about half an inch and a half.

I took some petals of a red rose and boiled in water; after some minutes the petals completely lost their colour and the water was coloured green and still possessed to a slight degree the scent of the rose.

 July 1st – 6th. When removing the flask containing the flowers used in the experiment, a drop of acid happened to touch the blue flower of the corncockle and at once it turned a bright crimson red. I tried putting some more of the acid (sulphuric) on the flowers again and in each case obtained the same result. I then took some red GERANIUM and blue CRANESBILL and placed a few drops of ammonium hydrate on the red geranium and some dilute acid on the blue cranesbill. The colours of the flowers were reversed, the geranium becoming a bright blue though the change was not so quickly accomplished as in the case of the cranesbill.

It appears that certain flowers have the property of acting as an indicator of acids and bases in the same manner as litmus.

When the coloured petals were boiled in water until colourless, the water was slightly coloured blue and red.

On one drop of acid and ammonia being added to each, the colours changed and when acid and ammonia were added in the reverse order, the coloured water went back to its original colour.

The flower of a FUCHIA I examined had two sorts of petals; -the outer being red, the inner purple. But where the base of the inner purple petals touched the red ones, it was streaked with red. These purple and red petals acted in the way as those of the geranium and cranesbill. Perhaps the nearness and greater acidity of the red petals had something to do with the reddening of the base of the purple petals”

  petals of a red rose and boiled in water; after some minutes the petals completely lost their colour and the water was coloured green and still possessed to a slight degree the scent of the rose.

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Memories from the Archives – Part 5

In January I did a talk as part of the Thursday lunchtime recital room series. It was entitled ‘Memories from the Archives’ and I talked about a number of memories from Old Scholars. I’ll share the photographs and text from the talk in several parts on the blog. Read Part 1 herePart 2 herePart 3 here and Part 4 here.

James Edmund Clark lr

James Edmund Clark (1850-1944; Bootham 1862-67; Master at Bootham 1869-72 and 1875-97)

James Edmund Clark was at Bootham in the 1860s and returned as a Science Master. According to Natural History at Bootham – the Early Years, he was the first graduate to be appointed to the staff and the first person to be appointed specifically to teach science at the school. In an article for ‘Bootham’ magazine in 1903, he talks about the language used, the classroom arrangements, town leave, columns and top-hats.

“Quaker-boys ways were plainer then. ‘Thee’ and ‘thou’ was the universal language, and, except John Ford, masters had to be satisfied with their Christian names. It was ‘Silvanus’ and ‘Alfred’ and ‘Theodore’ and even ‘Fielden’. Well do I remember the light which dawned upon certain untutored minds, when it was suggested that, at public places, like the baths, ‘Thomas please’ would sound politer with the surname sandwiched in.”

Talking about the schoolroom, “One row of desks was under the playground windows, from the ‘altar’ to Silvanus Thompson’s desk. The central desks were in pairs of four or five each, back to back. On the other side was Mr Fryer’s desk, Silvanus Thompson’s serviceable ‘shop’, contained in the drawers of a table, while the junior master’s desk stood under the central window. Near him dwelt his little flock, their lessons frequently going on here with another class at either end. Their only retreat was the ‘junior class-room’ next to the old ‘senior’, and this was not always habitable. For it served, also, as natural history room, without possessing all the conveniences of the latter for the bestowal of refuse matter. The only receptacle, indeed, for such articles was an ominous looking black-ware vessel in the darkest corner, which only too fitly merited its suggestive title of ‘stink-pot’. Moved by that strange but apparently resistless attraction for doing the thing which should not be done, some small boy almost invariably ventured to give it a stir.”

Moving on to town-leave, he says “How altered is ‘town leave’ now! Six keys, later eight, used to hang up inside the library, and twice a day that number of boys might go out. ‘Mrs Gray’s, please’. ‘Thou mayst; not more that twopence’ was the usual formula. Little hope for a juvenile to be one of the six or eight, the eldest coming first.”

James also remembers columns (including the first half a dozen words on the list), and remembers that “My unluckiest day … was the equivalent of fifteen columns. Two of these were for whistling in the passage; three for leaping the railings of the boys’ gardens; ten for aspiring to the Observatory roof.” This would have been the old observatory, rather than the current one in the science block.

He also remembers that “The Half of my arrival witnessed also that of the first top-hat known in Bootham School. As the wearer measured 6 feet 2 inches in his stockings the effect was that of a city set on a hill. The infection caught on, until, before I left, half the school were victims of the unfortunate fashion.”

 

Memories from the Archives – Part 3

In January I did a talk as part of the Thursday lunchtime recital room series. It was entitled ‘Memories from the Archives’ and I talked about a number of memories from Old Scholars. I’ll share the photographs and text from the talk in several parts on the blog. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Edward R. Allen

Edward R. Allen (1841-1916; Bootham 1854-57)

Edward Allen wrote his early recollections down. Unfortunately there’s no date of writing, but it must have been after 1875 as he refers to a house move in that year. Before coming to Bootham he had spent several years in Folkestone, and compares his experiences.

“I went to Bootham and my stay of 4 years there was fairly uneventful. I found the tone of the school very different from what I was used to, and on one occasion when I was tempted to act according to the lights of Folkestone, one of my schoolfellows said “Thou mustn’t do that, the other lads will look down on thee” so I learned to do better.” He also talks about his natural history activities: “I was keen on butterflies and shells and shared with Albert Alexander the winning collection of 1855, obtaining a watercolour paint box for my prize, which I still have.” The Natural History Society had been formed in 1834 and was an important part of school activities.

1914 Register – cricket, rats, fire and escape plans

This post continues from earlier posts with extracts from the 1914 edition of the Bootham School Register. Thanks to Claire, one of the volunteers, for researching the post.

Arthur Frederic Gravely (B. 1869-70)

Played in the annual cricket match with Schoolroom against the Seniors when, with I.H. Wallis as captain, they beat the Seniors in one innings: Remembers Septimus Marten’s great throw from the far side of the then adjoining field over the row of trees dividing that from the cricket field, the ball falling within a yard of the wicket: Postcards came into use whilst at Bootham, and he wrote and posted one the first day of issue to his sister at the Mount. Has a vivid recollection of J. Edmund Clark, then a teacher, learning to ride an early bicycle (“Boneshaker”) on the playground: also of a most enjoyable school excursion to Goathland, where he climbed a fir tree and brought down a nest of young squirrels for inspection, and afterwards with his clothes on slipped on a stone, and, to quote the words of an old song, “He caught a fine duck in the river”. Once when troubled with boils he went to Fielden Thorp, who welcomed him with the following “Come hither, come hither, my little boy, and do not tremble so, for I can prick the biggest boil that you ever did yet grow”.

Joseph Foster Lloyd (Lawrence St. 1844-45 and B.1846-49)

Became a Coal and Iron Merchant until his health broke down: Of rather retiring character, and as an invalid for some years before his death: At school he was a daring boy – watching a water rat in Langwith Long Lane, was greeted by John Ford with a “At him, Joe,” and without a moment’s hesitation he plunged into the ditch after the rat.

 Herbert Thomas Malcolmson (1897-1900)

At Bootham under John F. Fryer and Arthur Rowntree he remembers the “fire”, when he lost quite a number of Natural History specimens – in fact, some of his skulls were in the pot left boiling, and which is thought caused the fire, although he was not in charge.

George Mennell (Lawrence St. prior to 1829)

Arranged in conjunction with Henry Binns and John Bright to run away from school to America. H.B was caught on leaving the school premises and obliged to reveal the plan. JB., who had started second, pursued and caught on Tadcaster Road. G.M reached Leeds on foot, and was there found waiting for the others at the inn whence the coach to Liverpool was to start.

Oliver Bernard Ellis – Part 2 (Natural History)

This post continues from Part 1 and is a series for Explore Your Archives week.

Next I moved on to his photography and natural history interests. I found a collection of photographs by Oliver Bernard Ellis, which along with the natural history annual reports in the magazine, show the range of work he was doing.

OBEllis NatHist Album - LR Copy

The photograph above is from the collection of photographs (which is titled “O.B. Ellis Natural Science (Illustrations) Upper Senior 1914-15″) and is labelled “No. II Whinchat. Photographed half way to Skipwith in June 1914. It had a nest close by.”

Oliver was mentioned several times in the January 1915 Annual Report of Bootham School Natural History, Literary & Polytechnic Society. He won the Old Scholars’ Exhibition “with his interesting observations on the protective colouring of eggs and young.” He gave a talk on the subject, with lantern slides, at the Christmas Show. Later on the report mentioned that he showed “a number of bones collected from owl pellets, with the object of ascertaining the nature of the food of the owls of a particular district and of discovering whether they were responsible for an unusually high death rate, which had been observed among the young birds of the district.”

The Ellis family produced volumes of copies of letters and diaries by Oliver Bernard Ellis, and we have a copy of the two volumes in the archive. There is an enormous amount of material contained in the letters, more than I have yet had time to study properly. I did however notice a reference to bird photography in the diary entry of June 20th 1914. He got up when it was just light and cycled to Skipwith (just over 10 miles) to photograph a young cuckoo. He got back to school by 5.30am, and had an hour of sleep before getting up time.

The series continues tomorrow with the station buildings.

1914 Register – moths, skating and football

In 1914 the first edition of the Bootham School Register was published. It included (as far as was known) the names, dates and biographies of all the boys that attended the school up to that date. 1988 names were included in all. As well as being a useful way of finding out about Old Scholars, it provides a useful insight into the period, for example what occupations people had, and how they spent their free time. It also includes a number of memories of schooldays. A number of the entries make reference to the character of the individual.

1914 Register

Below are some examples of extracts from the Register (hopefully the first in a series of posts).

Thomas Henry Allis (Lawrence St 1830-31) Osbaldwick, York, Commercial Traveller … Apprenticed to Jarvis Brady, Leeds, Grocer : later was with Godfrey Woodhead, Manchester : Latterly in shop, and then travelled for Tuke & Co., Tea Merchants, Castlegate, York : Taste – T.H.A. inherited much of his father’s taste as a naturalist – His sister, the late Elizabeth Pumphrey, wrote: “T.H.A. took to his Father’s Collection of Lepidoptera [group including butterflies and moths] and amalgamated them with his own, which was ultimately, I believe, second to but one out of London. This collection was, after T.H.A.’s death, presented to the York Museum. T.H.A. was accustomed to go into the woods with a dark lantern to sugar the trees and fences, and on returning the following evening to capture such moths, etc., as were caught : On one occasion he was accosted as a poacher by a keeper near Heslington. One summer he thought that the Convolvulus Sphinx moth ought to be found about a bed of Petunias that he saw in James Backhouse’s Nurseries in Fishergate, and he persisted in going to the gardens night after night until he was rewarded by finding numbers of what was thought to be almost extinct in the neighbourhood….”

William Henry Broadhead (Bootham 1855-58) An enthusiastic archaeologist and naturalist ; Spent much time in photographing and recording the Templar Marks on old houses in Leeds, most of which are now pulled down : embodied results of researches in paper read before Thoresby Society : Also interested in Egyptology, especially in connection with Pyramids : Hobbies – Photography, lock-mending.

Samuel Southall Burlingham (Bootham 1870-72) Hobbies – A devotee of fen skating and touring on the ice (when there is any in England). In 1881 traversed on ice almost the whole distance from the mouth of the River Nene to the Trent, near Gainsborough, via Spalding, Boston and Lincoln. In 1903 skated nearly 100 miles in one day.

Jackson Ebenezer Day (Lawrence St 1839) Within 5 minutes of his arrival at Lawrence Street he produced from his playbox a football, which he kicked across the playground. Up went a window, and J. Ford called out “Ebenezer Day, we do not allow such rough games as football here.” Many years after [in1862] J. Ford introduced the game himself, giving the ball the first kick.

Insects

Thanks to Claire, one of the volunteers, for researching this post.

It’s National Insect Week!

Interestingly, over one million species and insects have been described and named worldwide. The UK in itself have more than 24,000 species and we can find insects in almost every habitat. They can be pollinators, predators, pests, parasites and prey.

We have, for many years now, had the benefit of a wonderfully active Natural History Society with many facts, figures and information having been collated.

Eyed Hawk Moth Cropped Eye Hawk Moth Pupa State Blackheaded Bunting Red Admiral

The Ringlet

 Images of butterflies drawn by students – various species including: Eye Hawk Moth, and drawings of the same in pupa state (H Richardson 1878), Blackhead Bunting, Red Admiral and a small Tortoiseshell butterfly, The Ringlet (from an album probably assembled by Hugh Richardson between 1876 and 1884)  

The Ringlet has to be a personal favourite, the detail is astonishing, as are most within this “scrap book”.

The Natural History Journal of 1892 has an interesting piece relating to dragonflies, a lovely story of EW Allen shouldering his satchel and venturing on a 4 mile hike on a hot day to his chosen hunting ground. Interestingly, he states the New Forest as being a very rewarding area to investigate. At Brockenhurst he managed to add 200-300 specimens to his collection.

1947 saw the creation of a wonderful set of Butterfly records, including details of some rare finds. This was the culmination of a 2 year study by the Natural History Society incorporating contributions from new boys, senior boys, Old Scholars and teachers. A very thorough and detailed account including some lovely photographs of paintings by C.J.S of the Comma and Camberwell Beauty. A painting by Douglas. M Sloan of a Brimstone, of the family Pierdae, sub family Coliadinae stands out also as a rare find even though “it lives the longest of all British butterflies”. It has become less rare over the recent years and can be seen reasonably frequently at Askham Bog.

Male Comma from Butterfly Book Camberwell Beauty from Butterfly Book Bootham Butterfly Records 1947 Butterfly Diary Brimstone

 Clouded Yellow

In 1948 a visit to Hutton Le Hole was arranged. 12th – 19th April 10 boys stayed at Barmoor, looked after by Mr and Mrs Happold. Whilst lovely pictures and much research took place, the boys were particularly interested in remaining well fed and “taking their candles with them at 10.30pm and shortly after not a sound was heard”. John Mounsey created an interesting report on butterflies and moths which was incorporated into the National History Club magazine.

John Mousey Butterflies and Moths

1951 – 20 boys visited Borrowdale and stayed at CHA Hostel detailing their finds in a log book. We find the following in relation to a stonefly, and their habitat details.

Borrowdale 1951 Stonefly Diagram and Notes

Also in 1951, a visit to Askham Bog gave us a wonderful drawing of the life cycle of pond life in stagnant water.

Death and Decay Stagnant Stream Life Cycle

The Natural History Junior Diary 1969 holds interesting accounts relating to all nature projects at the time, the care of which was managed by the school children. They made diary entries to capture detail. One such account is that of the locust: on the 23rd January PJ Higson noted the progress the locust had made in terms of development ,feeding habits and “lights out” at 6pm. Following on, MB Barber noted that they were transferred to the adult cage and fed their “white worms”.

Junior NH Diary 1969 Locust Report M B Barber

May/June1970 saw a visit to Strensall Common. A very intricate and interesting hand drawn picture of a hoverfly along with detailed observations are available “3 pairs of legs like all insects, one pair of wings and a stump of hind wing like all flies”.  Also picture is the head area of a Wolf Spider, apparently “Strensall is particularly good for spider enthusiasts”.

Hoverflies Station 7 Head Region of Wolf Spider