19 March, 16:00

British scientists investigated a collection of shells that had been forgotten for almost 40 years

British scientists investigated a collection of shells that had been forgotten for almost 40 years
Forgotten collections do not happen often, but every case of finding such a collection is very interesting. One of these stories is related to the sea shells collected at one time by Bridget Atkinson. It was considered lost for 40 years.

The story began with Bridget Atkinson, a woman who, despite her origin from a wealthy family, decided to devote her life to marine biology. She did it not only with the goal of becoming famous or making a fortune, but out of curiosity about underwater life. Thanks to her connections and curiosity, she has amassed an extremely rare collection of seashells from around the world - over 1,200 incredibly rare specimens.
For a long time, Atkinson's collection was passed down. So it ended up in the woman's grandson - John Clayton. In the 1930s it went to the University of Newcastle, but in the 1980s the collection was lost during a move - all the shells were thought to have been dumped, so scientists had no hope of finding them. But everything turned out differently.

During the move, the collection was really thrown away, but one of the university's lecturers, John Buchanan, managed to save part of it. He carried the surviving shells to his home.
After the death of the professor and the transfer of the inheritance to his descendants, relatives discovered the remains of the Atkinson collection. Although they did not even suspect that in front of them was a part of the gathering.

The found collection of shells was donated by the family to English Heritage, a charitable foundation in the United Kingdom, which manages about 400 historical monuments, buildings and places in England.
Researchers managed to identify and catalog the collection, which included rare specimens. Among them, it was possible to single out samples that were sent by the gunsmith of the British military sailor and researcher James Cook.

"These were extremely sought after in 18th-century Britain during the golden age of shell collecting, when individual specimens could sell for thousands of pounds," Tom White, chief curator of non-insect invertebrates at the Natural History Museum, said of the collection's exhibits.

The collection is currently being prepared for an exhibition in Northumberland.

To participate in the discussion, please log in.
We use essential cookies for the proper functioning of the website and additional ones to make interaction with the site as convenient as possible. It helps us personalize your user experience as well as obtain analytical information to improve the service.

If you agree to accept all cookies, click "Accept all"; if not, click "Only essential". To learn more, view the Cookie Policy.