Buxton field trip report

The MGA field trip to Buxton on Saturday 21st April was a delightful day out for 11 MGA members and friends. We spent 2 hours or so at the Museum in the morning and visited Poole’s Cavern in the afternoon.

Ros Westwood from the Derbyshire Museum Service gave us a talk about two of her (and our) local heroes, Professor Sir William Boyd Dawkins and Dr J. Wilfred Jackson. Both these men had very close connections with Manchester.

Boyd Dawkins was responsible for much of the early excavation of “Bone Caves” and geological collections. He was Curator of geology at Manchester Museum in 1870 and subsequently appointed Professor. There is a replica of Boyd-Dawkins study at Buxton Museum, with many of his books, instruments and objets trouvés on display.

Dr J. W. Jackson was Keeper at the Manchester Museum from 1907 till 1945. He was an expert on conchology, an archaeologist and cave explorer, and of course a member of the MGA. In retirement he taught WEA classes and was Honorary Curator at Buxton. Many of Dr Jackson’s rocks are kept at Buxton. He died in peacefully in his 99th year.

Ros had two boxes of fascinating memorabilia, cuttings and photographs, to show us. We were particularly interested in some early photos of MGA outings that JWJ had kept.

Members will be aware that we gave a substantial donation to Buxton Museum from the Horrocks Fund earlier this year which has enabled various collections to be suitably housed and curated.

After her talk Ros took us into the store to see how some of the money has been used, and the efforts made by various volunteers in organising the collection. Our ex-treasurer David Handley has been working for several years on the late Graham Miller’s collection of Derbyshire basalts. Back numbers of North West Geologist and Amateur Geologist contain Graham’s extensive writings on Derbyshire basalts. Graham was an active MGA member and joint editor of the NWG in the 80’s and 90’s.

After lunch we visited Poole’s Cavern and were taken round by an engaging and knowledgeable guide. We wondered at the amazing stalactites and the “poached egg” stalagmites with orange tops! We had a good look at the surrounding limestones and were entertained by tales of Celtic rites, Roman banquets and 18th century junketings that went on in the big cavern. Although just “up the road” I’d never visited the cavern before and can highly recommend it as a good visit for the family or any geologist!

Mary Howie

If you want to know more about Boyd Dawkins and Jackson read “The Cave Hunters”, a slim volume published by Derbyshire Museum Service in 1982 ISBN0 906753 02 3