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Anning, Mary (1799–1847), fossil collector and dealer, was born on 21 May 1799 in a seaside house in Lyme Regis, Dorset. She and her brother Joseph (1796–1849) were the only surviving children of Richard Anning (c.1766–1810), cabinet-maker and carpenter, and his wife, ...

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Mary Anning (1799–1847) by unknown artist, before 1842 © The Natural History Museum, London

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William Beard (1772–1868) by Samuel Griffiths Tovey, c. 1828–9 © Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

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Beard, William (1772–1868), tourist guide and collector of bones, was born on 24 April 1772 at Woolvershill, Banwell, Somerset, the eldest of the eight children of John Beard (1738–1801), a farmer, and his second wife, Ann Poole (1760–1833). He was educated by John Tuckey...

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Beaumont, John (c. 1640–1731), natural philosopher and collector of geological specimens, spent most of his life at Ston Easton, Somerset, where he practised medicine. He befriended the miners working in the nearby Mendip hills, with whom he explored newly discovered caverns and rock formations. Stimulated by ...

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Bellamy, Frank Arthur (1863–1936), astronomer and philatelist, was born on 17 October 1863 at St John's Street, Oxford, the youngest of the six children of Montague Bellamy (1830–1882), a college butler and master bookbinder in St Giles', Oxford, and his wife, Zilpah, née...

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Etheldred Benett (1775–1845) by unknown artist, 1837 Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

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Benett, Etheldred (1775–1845), fossil collector and geologist, was born on 22 July 1775 at Pyt House, Tisbury, Wiltshire, the eldest daughter of Thomas Benett (c.1729–1797) and Catherine Darell (d. 1780). Her eldest surviving brother, John (1773–1852), was a deputy lieutenant and magistrate for ...

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Brown, John (1780x85–1859), geologist and fossil collector, was born at Braintree, Essex. He was apprenticed to a stonemason in Braintree before moving to Colchester as a master mason about 1805. He married first Jane Byford and in 1820, after her death, Elizabeth Eagle...

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Gray [née Anderson], Elizabeth (1831–1924), fossil collector, was born on 21 February 1831 at the Burns Arms inn, Alloway, near Ayr, the second child of Thomas Anderson, innkeeper, and his wife, Mary Hamilton Young. She began her education at a small private school in ...

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Hastings, Barbara Rawdon [née Barbara Yelverton], marchioness of Hastings and suo jure Baroness Grey of Ruthin (1810–1858), fossil collector and geological author, was born on 20 May 1810 at Brandon House in Warwickshire, the only child of Henry Edward Yelverton, Baron Grey of Ruthin...

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Lloyd, Robert Wylie (1868–1958), collector and mountaineer, was born at Grove House, Oswaldtwistle, Blackburn, Lancashire, the only son of John Lloyd, a calico printer, and his wife, Rachel Wylie (1844–1890). His grandfather was Nathaniel Lloyd, a successful calico printer at Church, Accrington. His father and mother separated, and he was brought up by his mother in reduced circumstances at ...

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Sowerby, James (1757–1822), natural history artist, publisher, and collector, was born on 21 March 1757, at 2 Bolt-in-Tun Passage, Fleet Street, London, the son of John Sowerby (1719–1766), a lapidary, and his wife, Arabella Goodreed (1725–1782). He was educated at a day school, where he often made models during his lessons that he could sell. When he was fourteen friends provided ...

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James Sowerby (1757–1822) by J. C. Edwards (after Thomas Heaphy, 1816) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Whipple, Robert Stewart (1871–1953), manufacturer of scientific instruments and collector, was born on 1 August 1871 in Richmond, Surrey. He was the eldest son of George Mathews Whipple, scientist and later superintendent of the Royal Observatory, Kew, and his wife, Elizabeth Martha, who formerly assisted with experiments at ...