History of the Berwickshire Naturalists Club


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Memoir of the late George Tate, by Mr R. Middlemas. 273 Mr Tate commenced the study of geology at an early period, probably about the year 1832, when that science was in its infancy. No works of any value had then appeared in England save “ Smith’s Tabular View of British Strata,” “ Buckland’s Yindicise Geologicae,” and “ Reliquae Diluvi- anse.” The publication of “ Lyell’s Principles of Geology ” seems to have induced Mr Tate to commence a series of investigations in the neighbourhood of Alnwick, which gradually extended over Northumberland, Durham, and a great part of Berwickshire. His reading kept pace with the views then rapidly propounded by scientific men, and, as he was indefatigable in his investigations, his practical know- ledge enabled him to grapple with problems then little understood. He seems early to have paid special attention to the Carboniferous and Mountain Limestone formations ; and these formed the subjects of his earliest illustrations and lectures.* Each journey added to his collection of fossils; many of which were so unique as to be figured in the monographs issued by the Palseontographical Society. Mr Tate favoured the public with the sight of a part of his col- lection in an exhibition held in the Corn Exchange, Alnwick, in the year 1869, on the first distribution of prizes to the students of the Science and Art classes in connection with the Mechanics’ Institute. The number and variety of fossils were so great, that few people imagined so much could be accomplished by a single person. He also lectured upon that occasion. Mr Tate was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society; an Honorary Member of the Hastings and Newcastle-upon- Tyne Literary and Philosophical Societies; and an Associate of the Edinburgh Geological Society. In the year 1849, Mr Tate first noticed the marks of ice action on the rocks of Northumberland. His observations were made upon the farm of Hawkhill, about 2| miles from Alnwick. There, underneath a bed of red tough clay, the surface of the limestone rock was polished, scratched, and grooved, over an area of 20 feet by 6, from which the clay had been removed; and the same polished and scratched surface * .Estheria striata var Tateana, Candona Tateana, Beyrichia Tatei, fossil Entomostraca of the Mountain Limestone were named by Professor T. E. Jones after Mr Tate.

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