Haslemere Educational Museum
Culture & Learning Since 1888
Natural History Collection

Natural History

The Notable Insect Collectors

Butterflies from the Buckle collection

Exploration, history and collecting come together in the Buckle Collection. Butterflies and moths were collected in England, India, South Africa and possibly also in Aden and Egypt.

Major A.S. Buckle started collecting butterflies and moths in 1899, when he was a captain serving in the Goldmohur Valley, Aden (present day Yemen). He was soon promoted to Major in about 1901, serving in India and South Africa. Whilst at these postings, (1901–1908) he collected many different types of specimens.  His collection was mostly housed in travelling cases and the date of the specimens gives an insight into where he was serving at a particular time.  By the end of his career in India, he had risen to the rank Major General.  The Buckle collection came to our museum as a gift in 1930 from Mr A.C.C. Buckle.

Beetles from the Oliver Hawkshaw's collection

Another military man with a passion for entomology was Colonel Oliver Hawkshaw (great nephew to Sir Charles Darwin).  He donated a collection of mostly British beetles gathered over the late 19th and early 20th century. Colonel Oliver Hawkshaw presented the Hawkshaw collection to the museum in 1935.

Butterflies from the Rupert Long collection

Mr. Rupert Long collected over 7,000 butterflies and moths between 1922 and 1959, mainly from Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Cornwall, Dorset, the South Downs, Kent and West Sussex. Mr Long also bred some insects. He lived locally (in Horsham) and gave his collection to our museum in 1977.

The butterflies depicted here were collected in the early 20th century, primarily from Surrey and Hampshire.

The Notable Shell Collectors

Robert Henson Moses Collection

The collector Robert Henson Moses (1871-1949) bequeathed a large collection of worldwide marine, land, and freshwater shells to Haslemere Museum. The connection with Haslemere was through an associate Colonel J. F. Bensley, whose mother lived in the area. Both Colonel Bensley and Moses were both members of the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

Moses worked as a pharmacist in North London. He had a broad interest in natural history, but he disposed of his collections of plants, birds’ eggs and lepidoptera to specialise in molluscs. He visited the Kent coast often, particularly Sandwich Bay, to collect marine shells. Some of these were placed in his collection, but others were used for exchange. He corresponded with conchologists all over the world and the bulk of his collection is non-British.

Each specimen is neatly labelled with its scientific name, authority where known and locality where available. Only a few have a date of collection, but most are probably dated 1930 to 1948. A manuscript catalogue to the collection in a bound ledger provides an index to the genera and listings with data. The catalogue covers general marine shells in the first part and land shells in the second part.

Reverend Eyre Collection

Reverend Eyre bequeathed his shell collection to Haslemere Museum in 1914. In addition to land and fresh water shells, he also donated mosses and slime moulds (mycetozoa). He was a well known Hampshire naturalist, and a past president of the British Mycological Society. Testimony to his zeal as a conchologist is afforded by the numerous records that appear under his name in J. W. Taylor’s Monograph of British Land and Fresh-water Molluscs.

His collection at Haslemere Museum is stored in two cabinets and contains several species and varieties of special interest from across Britain and the Channel Islands. The Eyre material also well supplements the museum’s British reference collection.

The Notable Botany Collectors

Miss Lightfoot Collection

The Miss Lightfoot Collection is stored in 16 volume albums and contains over 750 English vascular plants. They were collected between the 1850s and 1880s with the majority from the 1870s. Each plant has a poem accompanying it.

The Lightfoot Collection provides a fascinating glimpse into common British wild plants in the Victorian period and reflects changes that have occurred since then over the last 150 years.

Mr Swanton Collection

This gall was formed in the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur, L.) by a fly (Cynips kollari Hartig 1843). It was collected from St Georges Down, Isle of Wight January 1921. Ernest William Swanton (1870–1958) was the Curator of Haslemere Educational Museum for over 50 years. He was an expert in many fields of natural history but had a particular interest in plant galls. In 1912 he published British Plant Galls, detailing all the gall-inducing species in Britain at that time.

Swanton´s considerable collection of roughly 200 items is cared for and researched at Haslemere Museum. Most of the specimens are from southern England and were collected in the first half of the 20th century.