Chairman Neil Ramshaw welcomed three new members in addition to attending members to the second meeting of the season. A warm welcome was extended to Terry Byrne; David Jackson and John Tyreman. Six apologies had been received from Dennis Anderson; Tony Bills; Grahame Devonport; Mike McKevitt; Roy Smith and John Taylor.
The “Vote of Thanks” rota still had two unfilled vacancies which Dave Essam would be grateful to see filled as he is away for the next few weeks.
Today’s Speaker Mr Roger Oldfield is a current member and recent Programme Secretary at Harrogate Men’s Forum. His topic of “Small Acorns-Mighty Oaks” was not he assured about trees but rather about three local men who in their time made a significant impact in their chosen fields of expertise.
From Thwaite in Swaledale came the brothers Kearton, Richard (1862-1928)and more significantly Cherry (1871-1940) who would take their childhood interests in birds and the countryside into important and inspiring careers based on wildlife lectures and illustrated books, wildlife photography and innovations such as the use of tele-photo lens,first motion photographs of animals and aerial photography. A significant meeting in their teens was with Sidney Gilpin a founder of Cassells and Gilpins Publishing House at a local shoot which led to job offers eventually to both of them and a move to the capital.Together with Richard writing and Cherry illustrating, a number of books were produced including the British Birds Nest Book in 1897. Cherry Kearton became more prominent and his C.V. included taking photographs on the Western Front in World War One; taking the first aerial photograph from a collapsing! airship and going on safari’s with President Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit and filming their exploits. No less than David Attenborough holds Cherry Kearton as one of his childhood heroes.
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) came from Dent in Dentdale and became an acknowledged master in the geology field. Educated at Cambridge University he made that body’s geological collection one of the finest of its kind. His most important work took in the geological mapping of Devon and Cornwall; the Lake District; Scotland and North and South Wales and he formed the system for classification of Cambrian rocks. He was elected President of the Geological Society in 1829. One of his students/assistants was Charles Darwin who he maintained a continuing but at times fractious relationship with.
The third local hero was Reginald Farrer (1880-1920) who although born in London settled at an early age in Clapham in Cravendale.His family bought and extended Ingleborough Hall and Estate and due to some unfortunate physical defects as a child Reginald became something of a loner. This led to him developing a keen interest in botanic’s stimulated by his experiences on his home estate. He went to Balliol College Oxford and subsequently a trip to Japan and seeing the oriental gardens inspired him further. He established Craven Nurseries in his home village and found success with his Travel Books including “My Rock Garden” in 1908. He successfully brought back many plants from abroad that could be grown in a naturalistic style and a lasting legacy of this can be seen in plants growing wild around Ingleborough. At the end of this illuminating and entertaining talk the Speaker took questions from the audience.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Michael Cochrane on behalf of the 41 attendees.