The Papers of Philip Lake

Scope and Content

The collection contains notebooks and hand-written catalogues about specimens collected, mostly concerning Cambrian Trilobites, 1900-1945. There is also some correspondence, and drawings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philip Lake was born on 9 April 1865 at Morpeth, Cumbria where his father, George Lake, was headmaster of the Grammar School. He attended the Durham College of Science at Newcastle-upon-Tyne where his interest in geology was first raised by Professor G.A.L Lebour.

In 1883, he received a scholarship to St. Johns College, Cambridge. He excelled and was the first recipient of the Harkness Scholarship for Geology. Soon after graduating, he joined the Geological Survey of India. He remained there for three years before resigning due to ill health and returning to Cambridge.

In 1896 Lake was appointed Principal of Colchester University Extension College. In 1908, he was appointed University Lecturer in Regional and Physical Geography. In 1919, he became Reader in Geography and subsequently, Head of Department. He resigned from Geography in 1927.

Between 1893 and 1912, Lake researched the Lower Palaeozoic of North Wales. This included much work on trilobite fossils including Acidaspis (1896) and in 1904 Brokkveld trilobites from South Africa.

In 1943, he developed a photographic technique which could be used to remove the effects of distortion on fossil specimens. Lake was an Invertebrate Palaeontologist specializing in trilobite fossils.

Between 1904 to 1907 and 1927 to 1928 Lake was a Council Member of the Geological Society. He was associated with St. Johns College, Cambridge.

Philip Lake died 12th June 1949.


No clear original order of these records exists.

The collection is still to be arranged and catalogued.

Access Information

The papers are open for consultation by researchers using Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. However, as the papers have not been appraised, there may be some closures.

The Geological Conservation Unit [Brighton Building] is open from Monday to Friday, 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00. A prior appointment made at least two weeks in advance, and two forms of identification are required.

Please contact the Museum to ask about the collection or to make an appointment.

Other Finding Aids

The DDF Archive Inventory spreadsheet is available which contains basic box listing entries for the legacy records of the Sedgwick Museum and Department of Earth Sciences. Please ask staff for further information.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Some of the material is fragile. Staff will advise.

Archivist's Note

This collection level description was created by Sandra Marsh and Dr Lyall Anderson of Sedgwick Museum in January 2011 using information from the papers themselves.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies, photographs, and printouts from scanned images may be provided. Charges may apply. Readers may also use their own digital cameras subject to copyright legislation and in-house rules.

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Sedgwick Museum Staff.

Please cite as Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, The Papers of Philip Lake, LAKE

Appraisal Information

The collection is still to be appraised.

Custodial History

4 boxes (already amalgamated into conservation boxes in the 1980s/1990s) were identified as being records created or retained by Philip Lake during the DDF project (2010-2011)

As no documentation could be recovered in legacy museum correspondence files to ascertain the provenance or acquisition details, it is not clear when these records were physically transferred to the Museum.

The records had been transferred from the Sedgwick Museum [Downing Street, Cambridge] to the Geological Conservation Unit [Madingley Road] between 1991-2009.


No more records are currently expected.