Foreword and introductory pages to the Register published in 1987


The publication of the Register marks the beginning rather than the end of the work of the Yorkshire and Humberside Natural Sciences Collections Research Unit. Much remains to be done. The database upon which the Register rests will require update and revision. Old collections will be rediscovered, new collections will be made and others unfortunately, through the vicissitudes of curation, will be lost.

In bringing this catalogue of the region's collections to a wider audience of prospective users, besides aiding the searches of others, we increase awareness of a valuable and irreplaceable resource not infrequently poorly stored and under-financed. Hopefully in doing so, by directing attention, we will enhance its chances of survival for future generations.

The Register represents the collective work of many colleagues, in turn supported by their Directors and Committees. The Manchester Museum, through its Director and staff, the University of Manchester Computing Centre and the Manpower Services Commission provided assistance and funds necessary to establish the computerised database. The Board of Management and Director, Michael Loynd, of the Area Museum and Art Gallery Service for Yorkshire and Humberside have been unstinting in their encouragement, and in financing much preparatory work and the final publication. To them all, on behalf of curator and future user alike, 1 offer our grateful thanks.

Tim Riley
Chairman Yorkshire and Humberside Natural Sciences Collections Research Unit.


A large number of natural science collections are held in Yorkshire and Humberside by public and private museums, universities, colleges and schools, as well as many private collectors. These collections are a part of our heritage, and form an unrivalled source of biological, geological and ecological information, of both historic and recent origin. This information covers the whole range of natural sciences, both local, and on a world-wide basis. This register is one of a series being published which, it is hoped, will eventually cover the whole of the British Isles. The production of these registers should help both the professional and the amateur to trace, and gain access to, the scientific and environmental information held within these collections.

The Register catalogues most of the major, and many of the minor, collections within public and private ownership in Yorkshire and Humberside. Information for the register was compiled by natural science staff in the region's museums, and by other volunteers on behalf of the Yorkshire and Humberside Natural Sciences Collections Research Unit, (YHCRU), with financial help from the Area Museum and Art Gallery Service for Yorkshire and Humberside.

Public and private museums, universities and similar institutions have traditionally stored, researched and cared for natural science collections, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Such institutions have looked after our heritage through periods of expansion and restraint, fire, flood and war. Some of the collections have been lost, and others have been dispersed, resulting in the depletion or loss of much important scientific information. The ability to trace historical material is important, on both taxonomic and ecological grounds. Recurrent restraints on the finances of our public institutions may once again put part of our heritage at risk. The region's curators felt, therefore, that it was important to establish a catalogue of those natural science collections which are currently housed within the counties.


The foundation of the North West Collections Research Unit in October 1977, (the first of the units to be formed), is well documented, (Pettitt & Hancock 1981). YHCRU was formed in April 1979 to extend the range covered by the natural science register held on the Manchester Museum computer into the Yorkshire and Humberside region. The interest shown in the scheme, and the enthusiasm of CW Pettitt and his team, soon resulted in other regions establishing collection research units.

On the 5th February 1981 the various collection research units established throughout the country met in Manchester to form the Federation of Natural Science Collections Research Units (FENSCORE) (Pettitt & Hancock 1981). The Federation has helped to co-ordinate the production and publication of the regional catalogues.

The YHCRU Membership

This register of collections is the end result of a great deal of effort by the following curators, volunteers and other staff.

Alison C. Armstrong, E.W Aubrook, Michael J. Boyd, Christine Castle, T. Michael Clegg, C.R. Edwards, William A. Ely, Steve P. Garland, Ruth M. Hadden, Margaret M. Hartley (Secretary 1981 - present), Paul Howard, Colin A. Howes, Michael W. Loynd, S. Lofthouse, C. lan Massey, 5. Moran, Nicholas J. Moyes, Adrian Norris (Chairman: 1979-1983), James H. Nunney, S.J. Ogilvy, Anne Pennington-George, Charles W. Pettitt, Barbara J. Pyrah, Tim H. Riley (Chairman: 1983-present), M.R.D. Seaward, Colin Simms (Secretary/convenor 1979-1981), Peter Skidmore, G. Smith, Vincent C. Smith, Helen E. Stace, Mick F. Stanley, Peter R. Stewart, Mark A. Stier, Kathryn Sykes, R. Toynton, Derek Whiteley.

Some Abbreviations Used in the Register

ACC. NO. Accession Number
ADDN. Additional information
ANN. REP. Annual Report
B.C.G. Biological Curators Group
BM(NH) British Museum (Natural History)
CA. Circa
D.O.E.S. Department of Earth Sciences
FL. Flourished
G.C.G. Geological Curators Group
LEEDM. Leeds Museum
MSS. Manuscripts
OBIT. Obituary
PUBLS. Publications
ROTMG. Rotherham Museum
VC.S. Vice Counties. (The number refers to the specific vice-county).
Y.N.U. Yorkshire Naturalists' Union
Y.P.S. Yorkshire Philosophical Society


Armstrong, A.C., 1979, City of Bradford Metropolitan Council Natural Sciences Collections: part 2 -Geological. Naturalist, 104: 17-23.

Davis, R, & Brewer, C., 1986, A Catalogue of Natural Science Collections in NorthEast England. North of England Museum Service.

Greenwood, E.F. (, 1977, The functions of local natural history collections. Museumslournal, 77: (3): 129-133.

Hancock, E.G., 1978, The North West Collection Research Unit. Museums Journal, 77: (4): 188.

Hancock, E.G., & Pettitt, C.W., 1981, Register of Natural Science Collections in North West England, The Manchester Museum.

Hartley, M.M., 1977, City of Bradford Metropolitan Council Natural Sciences Collections : part 1 -Botanical. Naturalist, 102: 25-30.

Hincks, WD., 1943, A Central Reference Collection of Yorkshire Insects. Naturalist, 68: 55-56.

Horn, W, & Kahle, L., 1935-7, Uber Entomologische SammIumgen, Berlin-Dahlin, Pts 1-3.

Pettitt, C.W, 1981, MANDATA : how to obtain information from the Manchester Museum databases. 12pp. Document M1 (B), available free from the Manchester Museum, The University, Manchester M13 9PL

Pettitt, C.W, & Hancock, E.G., 1981, Natural Science Collections Research Units, their origin, aims and current status. Museums Journal, 81: 73-74.

Pyrah, B.J., 1976, Catalogue of type and figured fossils in the Yorkshire Museum, Part 1. Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc. 41: (4):35-47.

Pyrah, B.J., 2 1977, Catalogue of type and figured fossils Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc. 41: (23):241-260.

Pyrah, B.J., 3.1978, Catalogue of type and figured fossils Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc. 41: (32): 437-460.

Pyrah, B.J., 4. 1979, Catalogue of type and figured fossils Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc. 42: (3): 415-437.

Sherborn, C.D., 1940, Where is the collection. Cambridge University Press 148pp.

Simms, C, 1968, A list of Botanical and Zoological Collections at the Yorkshire Museum. Naturalist 93: 85-88.