Biographical Dictionary of British Coleopterists

Michael Darby

Feedback: Please forward notice of errors and corrections to ().



J.F. Stephens (1828, p.48) records that a J. Abraham presented him with a 'fine and perfect' male of Carabus intricatus found in some dried wood brought from the vicinity of Ashburton. (MD 7.01)


There are Coleoptera bearing this name in the collection at Oldham Museum (information from S. Hayhow). Perhaps this is the D.M. Ackland who recorded the presence of Dorcus parallelipipedus (L.) with ants in a tree at Weston-super-Mare in EMM, 79, 1943, p.251, and who at that time lived at 17 Grange Park, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol? (MD 7.01)

ADAMS, Arthur (1820-1878)

Published a 'Systematic list of the Coleoptera found in the vicinity of Alverstoke, South Hants.' in Zoologist, 14-16, 1856-58. Immediately after he seems to have travelled to the Far East, notes about the beetles he found there being published in Zoologist in 1860, 1861 and 1863, and in AMNT in 1861. Nissen, C.(1969) lists him as the Editor of The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Samarang under the Command of Capt. Sir Edward Belcher during the years 1843-46, (1848-), 1850, which includes 106 plates of insects, and as a contributor to G.B. Sowerby, Thesaurus Conchyliorum, (1842-), 1847-87. In 1870 he published a book entitled Travels of a Naturalist in Japan and Manchuria.

Listed in Ent. Annual, 1860, at Brook Cottage, Alverstoke, Hants., together with his wife who is also recorded to have an interest in British beetles.

There are Coleoptera collected by Adams in the Rippon Collection, NMW (information from A.H. Kirk-Spriggs). (MD 7.01)

ADAMS, Frederick Charlstrom (d. 1920)

Best known as a New Forest dipterist (see obituaries in Ent. News, 32, 1921, p.64 and EMM, 56, 1920, p.256; his collections are in the NHM) but he did show an example of Cantharis rustica Fallen at the ESL in 1892 (Trans. Proc., 1892, p.iv) and I have seen beetles collected by him in the general collection at Doncaster Museum. Chalmers-Hunt (1976) notices that a collection of beetles formed by Adams was auctioned by Stevens on 11 March 1919, but Hancock & Pettit (1979) state that this was, in fact, a collection of Diptera in six boxes and is now in Bolton Museum and Art Gallery. (MD 7.01)

ADAMS, Herbert Jordan (1838-1912)

Primarily interested in Lepidoptera (see obituaries in EMM, 48, 1912, p.243, and Trans. ESL, 1912, p.clxv) but Chalmers-Hunt (1976) records that some British Coleoptera were auctioned by Stevens on 24 September 1912.

Adams, who lived in Enfield for most of his life, was the brother of Frederick Charlstrom Adams and one of the founder members of the Enfield Entomological Society. He gave one collection to that Society and another, formed during the last thirty years of his life, of Lepidoptera to the NHM. This last (140,000 specimens) was given with the stipulation that it should be known as the 'Adams Collection'. In a manuscript journal now in the University Museum, Cambridge, Oliver Janson records that he acquired beetles at the sale of the 'Adams Collection' in May 1873 and perhaps this may have been an earlier collection formed by Adams. Correspondence relating to the sale is in the Janson archive in the NHM.

FES 1877-1912. (MD 7.01)

ADAMSON, Charles Henry Ellison (d. 25 June 1930)

W.W. Fowler named Paussus adamsoni after Adamson who collected it at Minhu, Irawadi when stationed there as a Colonel in the Royal Artillery (FBI, Coleoptera, General Introduction, 1912, p.481). Later he became Assistant Commissioner and Chief Magistrate in Mandalay before leaving Burma after more than twenty years. On his return to England he lived at Crag Hall, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.

P. Davis and C. Brewer (1986) record that collections of Lepidoptera and ethnographical material made by him are in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, together with published catalogues, but do not mention Coleoptera.

Adamson was a Committee member of the Nat.Hist.Soc.Northumb. 1897-, Hon. Curator, Invertebrate Zoology, 1897- and Vice- President, 1903-07.(MD 7.01)


Published 'On the Hylobius abietis or fir weevil' in Trans. Highl. Agric. Soc. Scotland, (4) 11, 1679, pp.72-76. (MD 7.01)

ALCOCK, Alfred William (1859-1933)

Known primarily for his zoological work in India where he moved in 188I, after leaving his post as Assistant Professor of Zoology at Aberdeen. His interest in entomology developed after his appointment as Superintendent of the India Museum, Calcutta in 1893 in succession to J. Wood-Mason. His main entomological work was on mosquitoes, although beetles collected by him survive there. He left India in 1907 when he was appointed Lecturer in Entomology at the London School of Tropical Medicine. In 1919 he was appointed Professor of Medical Zoology in the University of London.

Gilbert (1977) lists three obituaries, and there is an account of Alcock by Annandale in Rec. Indian Mus., 2, 1908-9, pp. 1-9. Manuscripts and drawings survive in the NHM, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have some autobiographical notes of 1906. (MD 7.01)


This name appears on labels in the general collection of Coleoptera in the Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham. Is this, perhaps, the same R. Aldridge who published three notes about Lepidoptera in Ent., 1870? (MD 7.01)


Appears to have become interested in entomology while stationed in India as a Captain in the 8th Madras Light Cavalry. He published two notes in EMM, one of which 'Notes on the habits of Indian insects' (2, 1865, p.23) concerned the capture of Batocera rubus at Sangor in Central India. (MD 7.01)

ALEXANDER, G.B. (d. 1980?)

A collection of some twenty homemade store boxes of beetles formed by Alexander is in the Booth Museum, Brighton, presented by his sister. Locality labels are present but no species names. Some interesting specimens are included such as Dorcatoma dresdensis Herbst, which he took in his home at 24 Montpelier Place, Brighton. He was a carpenter by trade and is known to have lived in Leeds before moving south. He never married. (Information from Peter Hodge). (MD 7.01)


Practised as a Doctor of Medicine in Edinburgh and published Tantamen medicum de cantharidum historia ac usu, Edinburgh, 1769. It is unlikely that he died in 1783 as stated by Horn & Schenkling (1928) who seem to have confused him with William Alexander (1726-1783) the American general who claimed to be the 6th Earl of Stirling. Alexander published a number of works of medical subjects and a History of Women, 1779, in two volumes which was translated into French and German. He was known as William Alexander the Younger. (MD 7.01)

ALLAN, James Russell

Published a note on Acanthocinus aedilis (L.) in the Scottish Naturalist, N.S. 5 (11), 1891, p.40 in which he recorded that he had found the specimen 150 fathoms down in a coal pit and that he had subsequently presented it to the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh. (MD 7.01)

ALLEN, Benjamin (1663-1738)

One of the first British naturalists to have taken a serious interest in beetles. He was born in Somerset and subsequently educated at St. Paul's School and at Queen's College, Cambridge where he took a degree in Medicine (15 April 1688). By 1692 he had established himself as a Doctor at Braintree, Essex and it was there that he met John Ray who subsequently became a life-long friend, and Samuel Dale, the botanist. It would seem that it may have been Allen's interest in Lampyridae which first brought him into contact with Ray for in a letter to Sir Tancred Robinson of 8 July 1692 Ray wrote: '1 doubt not but that they are everywhere to be found, being nothing else but a kind of long-bodied beetle ... The reason why I mention this is because this gentleman [Allen], meeting with this beetle and finding by strict observation that the body of it answered exactly in figure to that of the creeping glow worm, suspected it to be the male glow worm; and, having some creeping glow worms by him, put this animal into a box with one of them; which after some short time, coupled with it.' Nearly twenty years later Allen published his own account of this experiment in The Natural History of the Mineral Waters of Great Britain to which are added some Observations of the Cicindela Glow Worm, London, 1711.

Allen also published another work concerning beetles entitled 'An Account of the Scarabaeus Galeatus Pulsator or Death Watch' (Phil. Trans., xx, 1699, pp.376-8). In this he recorded that in August 1695 he took two of the beetles and that he kept them several days for observation. He describes them in minute detail, ridicules the common idea of the noise foretelling death, and illustrates his description with three figures one of which was 'drawn with the help of the microscope'. (Is this the first record of someone using a microscope to study beetles?)

Two manuscript Common Place Books in the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons contain amongst medical and other information several hundred pen sketches of 'insects' (a term used by Allen in a very wide sense, he includes, for example, that well known 'insect' the Oyster!) amongst which are more than fifty drawings of beetles.

There are two excellent accounts of him by Miller Christy in The Essex Naturalist, 16, 1910, pp.145-75 and ibid., 17, 1912, pp.1-14. Allen is buried alongside Ray in the churchyard at Black Notley, Essex. (MD 7.01)

ALLEN, G. Dexter

Smith, A.Z. (1986) records the existence of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera from Switzerland and France, and also Oriental insects of many orders, collected by Allen and presented to the Hope Department by his wife in 1930.

ALLSOP, Henry Stuart (b. 9 November 1912)

Born in Sileby, Leicester. Became Chairman and Managing Director of Timber Decay Co. Retired in November 1977 but continued interested in wood boring Coleoptera.

FRES from 1966 (MD 3/03)

ANDERSON, Joseph (d. 1934?)

Best known as a Hampshire Lepidopterist but amongst his extensive list of publications are several pieces on other groups including beetles, for example 'Winter quarters of Coccinellidae', Scientific Gossip, 11, 1875, p.166 and 'The scales of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera', Young Naturalist, 1, 1879-80, pp.27-29. Anderson lived in Chichester for much of his life. (MD 7.01)

ANDREWES, Herbert Edward (1863-1950)

E.B. Britten writing in the EMM., 87, 1951, p.64 noticed that 'in the space of twenty-years beginning at the age of 55 Mr Andrewes achieved a world reputation as an authority on oriental Carabidae. He trained originally in forestry at Nancy and then moved to the Indian Forestry Service in 1885. After a few years, however, he was forced to give this up because of eye trouble and he returned to England to start in business. By this time his interest in beetles was beginning to assert itself and at the suggestion of Sir Guy Marshall he retired early in order to specialise in Carabidae at the NHM. He continued to work in the entomology section there until after the war when his sight finally failed altogether.

Andrewes published his first article: 'Papers on Oriental Carabidae' in AMNT, 1919, by which time he had clearly already done a considerable amount of work in compiling a catalogue of oriental carabids. This was followed by more than forty further 'Papers' and 'Notes' in this magazine, and by some seventy or so other articles there and elsewhere. These included catalogues of the Carabidae of the Philippines (1926), Ceylon (1928) and India (1930), the last running to 389 pages; revisions of the oriental species of several genera including Tachys (1925); many papers on Sumatran, Javanese, Samoan and other oriental faunas including that of India; and keys to many of the Indian genera. He also published two volumes in the FBI series on Carabinae(1929) and Harpalinae (1935), and was responsible for the volume on Carabidae in The Generic Names of British Insects series published by the RESL (l939). In preparing the last he designated, selected and fixed the types of many of our genera.

Andrewes presented his extensive collections to the NHM in batches from 1923. Riley,N.D. (1964) noticing that 38,434 specimens were given before the war and a further 35,000 specimens afterwards. Andrewes also gave to the Museum a collection of Coleoptera formed by H. Stevens in Sikkim between 1916 and 1918 amounting to 1,395 specimens. Further collections of Coleoptera including the syntypes of many new species (1915-22) and a collection from India, Burma, New Guinea, Natal, Tennessee, including some syntypes of Jacoby, Horn, and Regimbaurt (1900) (formed with F.W. Andrewes), together with books and bound separata (1945-46) is in the Hope Department (Smith, A.Z. 1986). His main library, however, was presented to the RES.

As far as MS material is concerned Harvey, Gilbert & Martin (1996) record the existence of 36 cloth files and 2 notebooks consisting of notes on Carabid collections and identifications from private and institutional collections that Andrewes had seen throughout the world, and of a four-volume loose leaf catalogue [Catalogue of Oriental Carabidae] listing collecting localities of material he had seen, in the NHM. They also note the existence of correspondence in the Janson archive. And Smith,A.Z. (1986) records correspondence with Poulton and Notes on Types in the Chevrolat Collection, on Putzey's Types of Clivina (Hope Collection), and on Types of eastern Carabidae (Hope Collection) at Oxford.

Several beetles were named after Andrewes including Agonotrechus andrewesi and Neoblemus andrewesi by Jeannel, 1923 and a variety of Calosoma imbricatum Klug by Breuning, 1928. The genus Andrewesa, named after him by Neotolitzky in 1931, was subsequently synonymised with Bembidion by Andrewes himself.

FRES 1910 until death; Council 1920-22. In 1920 he gave 21 towards the purchase of 41 Queen's Gate. (MD 7.01)

ANDREWES, Henry Leslie (d. 1946)

Nephew of H.E. Andrewes. His main interests were Lepidoptera and Aculeate Hymenoptera but he also collected beetles. Horn & Kahle (1935-37) notice that part of a collection of Coleoptera he made in India passed to the NHM via H.B. Andrewes and that single specimens were sold by Janson and Sons. Amongst a collection of British Hymenoptera in the Dorset County Museum at Dorchester acquired from Andrewes are two boxes of British beetles. There is another collection formed by Andrewes in the University of Hull, Department of Zoolooy (information from Roger Key). The beetle Neocollyris andrewesi Horn is named after him. There is a short obituary in Proc. RESL,(C) 13, 1949, p.66 (from information supplied by G.M. Spooner). (MD 7.01)

ANDREWS, William Valentine (11 February 1811 - 1878)

Born in Pilton, Somerset. Entered the Coldstream Guards as a private at an early age and eventually rose to the rank of Captain. Subsequently resigned his commission and moved to London, Ontario where he became engaged in the book trade. From thence he moved to the United States and settled in Brooklyn where he spent the last years of his life in the same branch of business. Andrews devoted his leisure time chiefly to the pursuit of entomology. He had 'a well arranged collection of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, and a small but well selected library of entomological works' (Canadian Entomologist, 10, 1878, p.240. Also in Rep. Ent. Soc. Ontario, 10, 1879, pp.35-36). These accounts mention that his collection and library were purchased after his death by Mr John Akhurst of Brooklyn, but Horn & Kahle (1937) notice that his collection passed via L.R. Reynolds to Fr. J. Psota of Chicago.

Andrews' publications mainly concerned Lepidoptera but he did write notes about the Potato Beetle in Sci. Gossip, 11, 1875, pp.161 and 14, 1878, 1-2, pp.118-119, and also published 'Elytra of Dytiscus and Acilius in Psyche, 21, 1883, p.126.

(Note: there have been and, indeed, still are many important entomologists with the names Andrewes and Andrews. Because their names are frequently mis-spelt, even in obituary notices, I have had great difficulty in sorting them out. I hope that I have interpreted the material correctly and that the three listed were the main coleopterists) (MD 7.01)

ANGELL, Gordon Locksley (b. 29 July 1927)

Born in Chatteris, Cabridgeshire and worked for Cyanamid and later BASF UK Ltd. Interested in Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Exopterygota.

FRES from 1962 (MD 3/03)

ANNANDALE, Thomas Nelson (15 June 1876 10 April 1924)

Born in Edinburgh. Educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1898. In 1899 he joined the Skeat Expedition to the Malay Archipelago, and between 1901 and 1903 he revisited that country on more than one occasion with H.C. Robinson. These were the first of many foreign journeys which took him to Iceland, Palestine, China, Japan, Morocco and elsewhere. From 1902 to 1904 he was a research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded a D.Sc. in 1905. He went to India in 1904 as Deputy Superintendent of the Indian Museum in Calcutta. In 1907 he was promoted to Superintendent, in 1923 he was made President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1923, and in 1924 President of the Zoological Section of the Indian Science Congress. He remained in India until his death, being associated particularly with that country's Zoological Survey.

Annandale was a man of wide ranging knowledge and ability, the writer of his obituary in Rec. Ind. Museum, XXVII (1), 1925, pp.1-28, noting that 'he worked with remarkable speed and seemed endowed with a special instinct for taxonomic differences, recognising species almost at a glance but systematic work in its narrowest sense he esteemed but little ... it was his ambition to grapple with larger problems'. This ambition led him to write extensively on many subjects from freshwater sponges to Malayan weaponry, from the dynastic genius of Siam to the growth rate. of Barnacles, and from limbless skinks to island life in the Faroes. Amongst this large number of books and articles are thirty two publications on insects of which several concern beetles. These included: an Annotated List of the Asiatic Beetles in the Collection of the Indian Museum. Cicindelinae, (19O9, with W. Horn); 'The life history of an aquatic weevil', Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, 11, 1906, pp.105-7 (with C.A. Paiva); and 'The Cicindelid beetles of Barkuda Island', Rec. Ind. Museum, XXII, 1921, pp.335-7 (with C. Dover).

Although Annandale's own work on beetles was not very great, his influence on the study of Coleoptera in India was considerable. As head of the Museum he gave great help and encouragement to entomologists, and there is hardly a book about Indian insects written in the early part of this century which does not mention his name. Furthermore, he established the Records and Memoirs of the Museum which acted as vehicles for entomological publications. Most importantly, he was responsible for seeing through the establishment of the Zoological Survey of India in 1916, of which he was appointed first Director, and under whose auspices the FBI series was continued.

Smith (1986) records that there are several collections of insects at Oxford, including material from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Siamese States (collected with H.C. Robinson) but does not mention Coleoptera.

Harvey, Gilbert & Martin (1996) record that a MS notebook titled Annandale Coll[ection]: Ruwenzori Coll. Including notes about material collected on the Ruwenzori (Uganda) Expedition 1905-06 and unpublished notes and descriptions of new species, is in the NHM. (MD 7.01)

ANSORGE, Sir Eric Cecil (6 March 1887 - 3 January 1977)

Primarily a lepidopterist but he was also interested in beetles. Baron de Worms noted in his obituary (Proc. BENHS, 10, 1977, pp.29-30) he 'was quite an expert on our Coleoptera, of which he ... made a fine collection'. Ansorge undoubtedly acquired his interest in insects from his father, Dr W.J. Ansorge, the celebrated explorer and naturalist.

He was educated at St. Paul's School, London and at St. John's College, Oxford before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1911. During a residency of some thirty five years in India, during which time he held many responsible posts, he collected insects, including beetles, extensively (see, for example, 'On a collection of Carabidae from the Kumaon- Tibetan frontier' by H.E. Andrewes, EMM., 62, 1926, p.69). His distinguished career was rewarded by a knighthood when he left India in 1946. He subsequently joined the Colonial Service and spent two years in Nyasaland before retiring to Chalfont St. Peter where he lived until his death. During retirement Ansorge travelled to many parts of Britain, especially to the Scottish Highlands, and made several trips overseas, always collecting where he went. His collections passed to the Aylesbury Museum and there is also a collection of Lepidoptera from Africa in the Birmingham Museum, presented by Sir George Kenrick.

Ansorge was a member of BENHS and of the RES. (MD 7.01)

ARCHER, Francis (17 June 1839 - 29 February 1892)

Educated at Liverpool Collegiate Institute and Trinity College, Cambridge where he gained a degree with honours in 1862. Admitted to Liverpool firm of Bateson and Robinson, solicitors, in 1865 and subsequently became a partner, before becoming attracted to journalism and politics when he gave up the law. He became sub-editor of the Liverpool Daily Post but found this 'too exacting and absorbing' and went hack to the law in partnership with Isham Gill. The firm was later called Gill, Archer and Maples. He was President of the Liverpool Law Society, 1890-91.

T. Mellard Reade, Archer's friend for twenty years, recorded in his obituary (Naturalist, 201, 1892, pp.113-6) that Archer was a 'many sided man of great vigour'. His interests included Tennyson, much of which he knew off by heart; civil engineering works in Liverpool; writing reviews on scientific works for the Daily Post, and natural history. The last included entomology, particularly Coleoptera and Lepidoptera. Later in life Archer became very interested in anthropology and travelled to the Valley of the Somme, and to Ireland and to the West of England in pursuit of material.

W.E. Sharpe (1908) lists Archer as among those 'students and collectors of the Coleoptera, belonging perhaps to a somewhat different social order [i.e. not artisans], who have now passed away but to whose labours we owe much information and many records'. He also notes that Archer, who lived at Crosby, contributed a short note on the Coleoptera of the district to the 'Liverpool Naturalists Scrapbook', a manuscript volume having a limited and brief circulation among Liverpool naturalists, which was not printed. The more important of these records were, however, subsequently published by J.W. Ellis in Liverpool Coleoptera, 1889 (but compiled by 1880). He also wrote two articles in the Zoologist, 22, 1864: 'Cicindela maritima and C. Hybrida' and a 'List of Coleoptera taken in the Liverpool district during 1862 and 1863'.

Some beetles collected by Archer abroad are in the H.W.Ellis collection at Liverpool Museum, and some letters survive it the correspondence of George C. Hyndman (1854-62) in the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society. (MD 7.01)

He was member of the Liverpool Geological Society, the Liverpool Biological Society (taking an active part in establishing the station on Puffin Island), the Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society and the RES.

Besides the obituary already mentioned, which includes a portrait, there are further obituaries in Ent., 25, 1892, p.100; EMM, 28, 1892, p.112 (by S.J. Capper) and ERJV, 3, 1892, p.80.

ARMITAGE, Edward (20 May 1817 - 24 May 1896)

One of the most successful history painters of the second half of the last century. Eldest son of James Armitage of Leeds. Educated in England, France and Germany. After deciding to become a painter studied under Delaroche in Paris from 1837. Competed successfully in the competitions for the decoration of the new Palace of Westminster and was subsequently asked to execute the two frescoes on the walls of the upper waiting hall of the House of Lords. After studying for twelve months in Rome submitted first picture at the Royal Academy in 1848. Continued to exhibit there until his death. Elected ARA in 1867 and in 1875 was appointed a Professor. The DNB notes: 'Always of independent means Armitage was able to follow his ideals in art without regard to fashion or profit'.

Besides painting, Armitage was also interested in sailing and collecting beetles. The EMM noticed: 'In none of the numerous notices [of Armitage] has any allusion been made to his entomological proclivities... well known to many that he possessed a considerable collection of exotic coleoptera and was one of the oldest members of the Entomological Society ... never lost interest either in the subject or the Society' (32, 1896, p.164) They also notice that he did not publish anything, but he did write one article (with J.O. Westwood) entitled 'Note on a species of Oeketicus' (Trans. ESL, (3) 2 Proc. 1865, pp.103-4).

According to Horn & Kahle (1935-8) Armitage's collections were divided up as follows 'Coleop l896 to H.S. Gorham. Exotic Coleop auct. Stevens 27 Sept 1910. Cicindelid. to F. Bates and then British Museum (Nat. Hist.). Malacoderm and Heterom. to M. Pic. Byrrid, Parmid. Melmid. Heterocerid. via A. Grouvelle to Mus. Nat. Hist., Paris. Lycid. Clerid. and rest Pal. Coleop. part via A. Ford to T.G. Bishop. Coccinell. Cassid. Endomychid. Erotylid. Cetoniid. via O.E. Janson to J.E. Black. Rutelid. via F. Bates, via B.G. Nevinson to BMNH. Bupestrid, 1903 to C.H. Schill. Chrysomelid. to F.C. Bowditch'. One collection formed by Armitage is now in the RSM.

Besides the obituaries noticed by Gilbert (1977) there are accounts in The Art Journal, 1863, pp.177-80; Illustrated London News, 9 March 1867, pp.238-9, (Portrait p.224); Men of the Time, 1891 and DNB.

Note: Armitage exhibited a painting at the Royal Academy in 1878 titled 'After an Entomological Sale, beati possidentes' in which he represented himself in a sale room rejoicing over a fresh acquisition for his collection 'in company with his friends Calderon, Hodgson, Winkfield, and others'. The present whereabouts of the picture are unknown, but an engraving is illustrated in Salmon (2000). (MD 7.01)


There are Coleoptera bearing this name in the collection at Oldham Museum (Information from S. Hayhow) (MD 7.01)


Published the capture of Rhopalomesites tardyi, Curtis at Bardsea in Lancashire in EMM, 46, 1910, p.16. At that time he lived at 74 Leigh Street, Warrington. (MD 7.01)

ARROW, Gilbert John (20 December 1873 - 5 October 1948)

Son of John Garner Arrow of Streatham. Entered an architectural office, but after five years moved to the NHM in 1896. Although he officially retired on 20 December 1938, by which time he was Deputy Keeper of the Entomological Department, he continued to work at the Museum, in spite of eye trouble in later years, almost daily until his death. In recognition of his work on systematic entomology during this period the Trustees bestowed upon him Honorary Associateship of the Museum. Arrow married Rachel Katharine Davis and lived at 9 Rossdale Road, Putney. His hobbies were music, photography and gardening.

Although in later life Arrow interested himself in the Neuroptera, most of his work was on beetles. M.E. Bacchus, 'A Catalogue of the Type Specimens of the Cetoniinae described by G.J.Arrow' in Bulletin of the BMNH, Entomology, 31(2), 1974, pp.23-44 notices that he described about 1,800 species in 24 families 'mostly from material in the Museum collection'. Bacchus also includes a complete bibliography of his entomological publications which date from 1899 to 1951, and amount to 210 items. Most are on the Scarabaeoidea. His major works were undoubtedly the four volumes in the FBI series on: Lamellicornia: Cetoniinae, Dynastinae (1910); Rutelinae, Desmonycinae, Euchirinae (1917); Coprinae (1931) and Lucanidae, Passalidae (1950); a paper 'On Sound Production in the Lamellicorn Beetles' in Trans. ESL, 1904 (iv), 709-750; and his book Horned Beetles (1951). Apart from these works on the scarabs he also published accounts of the Endomychidae and Erotylidae of Sumatra (1927) and Indo-China (1928), and a revision of the African Languridae (1929). Riley (1964) records an interesting anecdote of Arrow whom he describes as 'a rather short compact figure and a prodigious worker ... As an entomologist Arrow was in one way possibly unique: he did no collecting, for he could not bring himself to kill anything, even a beetle'.

Harvey, Gilbert & Martin (1996) record correspondence in the Janson Family archive in the NHM.

Gilbert (1977) lists several references and obituaries, though it should be noted that the seven page article by Horn is, in fact, a notice of Arrow's retirement covering only a few lines; for 76 read 70! There are also Arrow's own brief notes in Who's Who and Who Was Who.

FRES 1899 until his death, and on Council 1905-07. (MD 7.01)

ASHBY, Sidney Robert (May 1864 - 18 September 1944)

Born in Paddington, London. Worked for a few years in a solicitor's office before joining the Post Office in 1883 where he remained until his retirement in 1924. Died at his house in Harrow.

Charles Mackechnie Jarvis, who received his early instruction in the Coleoptera from Ashby and who acquired part of Ashby's collection of British beetles, notices in his obituary of him in Proc. Trans. SLENHS., 1944-45, pp.xxv-xxvii: 'Ashby was primarily a Coleopterist and studied the British fauna throughout his 64 active collecting years. In earlier days, from 1880 to about 1910, he took Lepidoptera also and built up a representative collection, but found that the time required for attending to his breeding cages prejudiced the study of other orders. Preferring to break new ground, he took up the study of the Hemiptera under the expert guidance of [William] West, and at the same time paid attention in the field to several of the lesser known orders as well.'

'In addition to his extensive British collections, he amassed some 150 store boxes of foreign Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and 'Other Orders', all of which he carefully arranged and for the most named. Perhaps it was his early training in the solicitor's office which caused him to develop his elaborate system of colour coding and indexing by which his specimens were recorded. The card index relating to his favourite Order, the British Coleoptera, is particularly comprehensive, and gives full details of capture and references to the relevant literature...'

'Having always lived in the London district with access to good libraries Ashby kept few books. He was undoubtedly a field entomologist at heart and felt no urge to write for publication, although in earlier years he had corresponded widely with entomologists interested in Coleoptera and Hemiptera'.

'Methodical to an extraordinary degree, his passion for cataloguing everything connected with insects (and much besides) is reflected in the contents of some fifty loose leaf binders...'

Ashby was also a very active member of the South London which he joined in 1895 and was for many years Curator of the Society's collections. MacKechnie Jarvis records that Ashby's own collection of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera from Britain 'in two 40 drawer Brady cabinets', and also his collection of British Hemiptera and miscellaneous other Orders 'with the relevant card-indexes, and unworked material together with a selection of the foreign Coleoptera' was retained by himself; while Ashby's collection of foreign Lepidoptera and Coleoptera in some 120 store boxes was dispersed. A further collection of some British Hymenoptera and Diptera passed to E.E. Syms. I have seen beetles collected by Ashby in the Hudson Beare collection at the Royal Scottish Museum, and in the collection of Doncaster Museum.

FRES from 1907 to death, Council 1944 to death.

There are other obituaries in EMM, 80, 1944, p.264 and Proc. RESL. (C)9, 1944-45, p.47. (MD 7.01)

ASHDOWN, W.J. (1855 - 9 November 1919)

Lived at Leatherhead in Surrey. He was chiefly interested in Coleoptera but also collected Lepidoptera and Hemiptera. Joined the in 1895 and bequeathed his collections to that Society along with the Natural History section of his extensive library. His annotated copy of Curtis's British Beetles, 1863, however, is in the RESL Library. At the time of his death he was a member of the Council of the Society and Recorder of Attendances at meetings.

Ashdown occupied most of his time collecting in the Leatherhead area but spent his holidays in Switzerland and France, and collected on those occasions too. He published two articles about Coleoptera in the EMM in 1895 and 1897, but thereafter appears to have confined his publishing to notes of field meetings, etc., in Proc. Trans. SLENHS.

A specimen of Sphaerites mutilatus was given to NHM by him in 1918 (Register, 1, 1914-22)

There are brief obituaries in EMM, 56, 1920, p.17, and in Proc. Trans. SLENHS, 1919-20, pp.34-5. (MD 7.01)

ASHE, George Hamilton (14 December 1879 - 29 June 1961)

Born at Stavely in Ulverston the son of the Reverend Henry Ashe of that parish. Attended St. Bees School, Cumberland and won a Classical Exhibition to St. John's College, Cambridge. Subsequently switched to the sciences, and on leaving Cambridge took up teaching. Taught at schools at Stevenage, Saffron Walden and Hartlebury before retiring in 1939 to live at Colyton. Married Joanna Vawdrey, daughter of Reverend D. Vawdrey of Areley Kings, Worcestershire.

A.A. Allen in his obituary of Ashe in EMM, 1962, p.110, notices that it was while he was at Hartlebury that 'we first hear of him collecting, with enthusiasm and great success, the beetles of the district ... Here in the course of years he captured many rarities and species quite new to that part of England, and it is to be regretted that (as far as we know) he published no list of his finds in the area... He quickly made friends among the many collectors of the period, and some of those who stayed with him for the purpose of sampling the local beetle fauna were Sir Thos. Hudson Beare, Prof G.W.Nicholson, and Messers Bedwell, Bowhill, Daltry, Donisthorpe, Harwood, and Stott. It was here that he made his first addition to the British list in the shape of the tiny Histerid Acritus atomarius Aube.'

'At Colyton, where he naturally had more leisure to devote to his favourite hobby, he continued to collect with no less energy and success, and from then on contributed frequent notes and lists of his more interesting finds to the EMM. He was, we believe, engaged for some years on a comprehensive Devon list, but unhappily did not live to complete this desirable project. He became especially keen on the difficult small Staphylinids (Atheta, etc.) - so badly neglected by the ordinary run of collectors - and here his sharp eye and patient perseverance stood him in very good stead; he would, for instance, work minutely through sack after sack of flood refuse from the River Coly in search of some desired Atheta and nearly always succeed in his quest in the end. A. alpina Benick and Oxypoda planipennis Thoms. both new to Britain [the latter from Nethy Bridge, where he spent many summer holidays] are among his best finds in this group. His most spectacular discovery was no doubt the addition to our fauna of the large weevil Hylobius transversovittatus Gze.; but no less important was his separation (in 1946-7) of Cantharis cryptica Ashe ... from C. pallida Gze, ... It was he who put Moccas Park, Hereford 'on the map' as a haunt of rare species (though not the first to collect there), of which he took quite a series over a number of visits; one of them Trixagus brevicollis Bonv. was new to Britain, and he afterwards found it also at Shute Park, Colyton.'

Ashe bequeathed his collection to Torquay Museum, and I have seen other beetles collected by him in the Birmingham Museum (Dyson Perrins); Doncaster Museum (ex. coll. E.M.Eustace) and Manchester Museum. Trevor James informs me that there also specimens collected by him in the D.G.Hall collection at Baldock Museum. (MD 7.01)

Duff (1993) p.7 records that A.A. Allen has some of Ashe's duplicates. (MD 10/03)


W.W. Fowler, General Introduction (1912) to the Coleoptera volumes of the FBI series notices that a Reverend Assmuth collected Paussidae in India near Bombay. (MD 7.01)

ATKINSON, David Jackson (June 1897 - 27 March 1952)

Born at Knaresborough, Yorkshire. Studied Forestry at Oxford and spent a year working under Lefroy. Posted as Forest Officer, later Forest Entomologist and Conservator of Forests, Burma. In 1942 he controlled the civil evacuation of Burma via the Upper Chindwin and Manipur, and was then appointed Chief Conser- vator of Forests, Burma, a post he held until 1946. On retirement he joined the staff of the Commonwealth Institute of Entomology and specialised in timber beetles, particularly the Scolytidae. He died while working in the NHM.

His few publications included 'Ips (Tomicus) erosus in Britain' EMM, 57, 1921, pp.253-4.

There is an obituary notice in Proc. RESL, (C), 1952-53, 71. (MD 7.01)

ATKINSON, Edwin Felix Thomas (6 September 1840 - 15 September 1890)

Born in Tipperary. Passed entrance examination for the Indian Civil Service in 1862. Held many important posts including Financial Secretary to the Indian Government. Between 1874 and 1879 published a Gazetteer of the North East Provinces and was also the author of works on Indian law and kindred subjects. He was appointed President of the Board of Trustees of the Indian Museum, and was responsible for starting the publication of Indian Museum Notes, which dealt largely with economic entomology a subject in which he interested himself, and did a good deal of early work. Much of Atkinson's serious entomological research was on the Hemiptera-Heteroptera, but he also interested himself in beetles.

Horn & Kahle (1935-7) notice that a collection of Cicindelidae made by Atkinson passed via 0. Thieme to P. Richter and thence to W. Horn, and that another collection of Elateridae passed to Godman and Salyin via E.W. Janson. This latter collection was subsequently acquired by the NHM which also acquired a part of the remainder of Atkinson's beetle collection, what was left being sold through Standinger and Bang-Haas. It is worth noticing that Chalmers-Hunt (1976) records the sale of Indian insects belonging to Atkinson which may have included beetles by Stevens at auction on 2 December 1895.

Atkinson's published work on Coleoptera appears to have been confined to the first twelve parts of the 'Catalogue of the Insects of the Oriental Region (Coleoptera)' published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1889-1891.

He died at Calcutta. Gilbert (1977) lists eight obituary notices. There are many references to his collecting activities in the FBI series (e.g. G.J. Arrow, Lucanidae Passalidae, 1950, pp.50,53,58,72, etc.) Atkinson is said to have been related to Col. Swinhoe, the coleopterist. (MD 7.01)


Published an article 'On Coleopterous insects discovered among linen enveloping the body of a mummy from Thebes' in Trans. LSL, 14, 1825, pp.585-6. This is probably the same Atkinson who was elected a member of the first ESL on 6 December 1808.

There is a manuscript account of an unidentified fossil animal from the Yorkshire coalfield, by John Atkinson and George Edwards, dated 1825, in the Royal College of Surgeons, and he published on the 'Ephemerae' in Zoologist, 11, 1843, pp.272-5 and a volume of Sketches in Natural History, with an essay on Reason and Instincts, London, 1861. (MD 7.01)

ATMORE, Edward Alfred (Feb. 1855-1930)

A pharmacist by profession, Atmore was born in Kings Lynn, and educated at the Grammar School there. Married Margaret Witt. He had a considerable knowledge of all orders but was particularly interested in the Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera of which he had extensive local collections. He also donated specimens to the Museum at Kings Lynn which he helped to save when it was under threat, and of which he subsequently became a member of the Committee. Died in Kings Lynn.

Atmore published various articles in the Trans. of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Soc. of which he was made an Honorary Life Member shortly before his death, and two notices in the EMM, 40, 1904, pp.85 and 238, recording the capture of Tetropium castaneum L. and Odontaeus mobilicornis F. [= O. armiger] near Kings Lynn. It is worth noticing that on p.86 of this issue E.A. Newbery records that Atmore sent him beetles for naming.

He was FRES in 1886 and a Special Life Follow in 1930. There are obituary notices in ERJV, 42, 1931, p.160 (by H.J. Turner), The Lynn News and County Press, 14 October 1930, and in Proc. ESL, 1931, p.130. (MD 3/03)


Published a note on 'Strangalia aurulenta P. in Devonshire' in EMM, 41, 1905, p.69 and a further note on 'Amara anthobia Villa in the London district', 42, 1906, p.13. Immediately after the War he moved to St. Leonards and published on Odonata in Ent.

The late Mrs Morgan wrote to me about Attlee as follows: 'When I was preparing my paper on the Coleoptera of Merioneth ... I was sent some correspodence between Attlee and P.M. Miles of Aberystwyth. The former was then living at 4 Combermere Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea and the last note is dated 28.1.60 (on postcard). His collecting in W. Merioneth was 1904-1919 but the individual records are not dated and localities are not specified for all species. Colin Johnson had a look over the list and was prepared to accept the records. He says in a letter to me 'He was obviously pretty good at finding things'. Incidentally Attlee's name was misspelt as 'Attle' on a paper in the ER, 19, 1907, p.94 on 'Coleoptera in Wales in 1906'.' (MD 7.01)

ATTWOOD, R.W. (d. 20 July 1941)

Had an extensive knowledge of the Lepidoptera and took up Coleoptera in his later years, eventually amassing fine representative collection of both these orders. He was particularly associated with the SLENHS which he joined in 1931 and on the Council of which he served from 1941. S. Wakely, in an obituary in Proc. Trans. SLENHS, 1942, p.43, noticed that he was a regular exhibitor at meetings and that the field trips he led to South Benfleet, where his parents lived, were especially memorable occasions'. It was while leading a field meeting at Oxshott that he suffered a heart attack and died, L.G. Payne recording: 'he just lay down and went to sleep in the woods amongst the creatures he loved so well'. (MD 7.01)

AUBROOK, Edward Wrigley (1 September 1915 18 April 1990)

There is a full obituary by Colin Johnson, upon whom he was a formative influence, in EMM, 127, 1991, pp.91-95, including a complete bibliography and photograph. The following is extracted from it.

Born in Oldham and educated at Hulme Grammar School which he left at the age of 16. Acquired his interest in insects at the age of ten and joined the Oldham Natural History Society in his youth. His first job was in the carpet department at Ryland's Warehouse, Manchester. In his lunch hours he visited the Manchester Museum where he befriended Harry Britten who became an important influence on him. Joined the Manchester Entomological Society in 1932 and was a regular exhibitor at meetings. Britten obtained for him the job of Laboratory assistant in the University in 1934, the year in which he published his first article 'Water beetles under ice' (Nwest. Nat. 26, 1934, 55) and he found an unusual beetle at a chrysanthemum show in Manchester, subsequently named after him by Horace Donishtorpe: Micrambe aubrooki. When Joseph Collins, a friend of Britten's, retired from the Hope Department at Oxford in 1935, Aubrook was appointed to succeed him as a junior assistant, and he left Manchester in October. He remained there until 1939 when, after a brief period as Assistant Curator at Paisley Museum, he joined the Tolson Memorial Museum, Huddersfield, where he was to remain for the rest of his working life, being appointed Director in 1946.

After the war he started collecting beetles again becoming FRES in 1946. As a member of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union from 1959 he led field meetings, gave talks and acted as Coleoptera Recorder. In 1968 he published (with Johnson) 'Oxypoda nigricornis Mots. new to Britain' (Entomologist, 101, 1968, pp.71-72) and in 1970 'Cis dentatus Mell. an addition to the British list' (ibid, 103, 1970, pp.250-51). During the 1960s and 70s Aubrook was a regular member of survey teams working on insect recording in Scotland and, after his daughter moved to New Zealand in 1968, he visited her six times making many insect collections there too. These included the Ptiliid Notoptenidium aubrooki which Johnson named after him.

Johnson records that Aubrook was a determined Coleopterist, particularly in regard to difficult groups, and that they enjoyed more than fifty days in the field, including trips to Scotland and to East Anglia.

Aubrook's British insect collections, mostly beetles, (over 12,000 specimens) are divided between the museums of Huddersfield and Manchester, and his notebooks and New Zealand collection (6,300 specimens) are in the Manchester Museum. Simon Hayhow informs me that there is also material bearing his name in the collection at Oldham Museum.

FRES 1946 until his death (MD 7.01)


Coleoptera from Scotland bearing this name and the date 1875 are in the collection of C.G.Hall at Oldham Museum. (Information from S.Hayhow) (MD 7.01)

Last updated: 10th July 2001