The Papers of Professor John Kenneth Sinclair St Joseph

Scope and Content

The collection comprises original art work for a publication on Stricklandia lirata (circa 1935), and papers for work on Brachiopods including 118 slides of diagrams and photographs (circa 1938). None of the material appears to be dated.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Cookley, Worcestershire on November 13th 1912, Kenneth Sinclair St Joseph was the son of John D. St Joseph and Irma Robertson (nee Marris). He was educated at Bromsgrove School, and studied geology at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 1934. He was later appointed a lecturer of Geology at the University in 1937 after completing his post doctoral dissertation, a post he held until 1945.

St Joseph worked on specimens from the Sedgwick Museum (and other Museums) working on Stricklandia lirata (circa 1935), and Brachiopods (circa 1938).

During the Second World War he served as an intelligence analyst with the Royal Air Force (RAF) looking at photographs of bombing operations to judge their effectiveness. It was this experience which led to him becoming interested in aerial photography and its role in discovering and analysing archaeological sites. He returned after the war as a geological lecturer once again (1945-1948) but also became a curator (and subsequently director) of aerial photography at Cambridge University.

The discovery of Mucking in June 1959 resulted in major excavation lasting 13 years, and St Josephs interest in Roman Britain continued; the aerial survey work he undertook discovered more than 200 previously unknown Roman forts.

St Joseph was a member of the Council for British Archaeology, the Ancient Monuments Board, the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, and the Council of the British Academy. He was Vice-President for the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and Honorary Vice-President for the Royal Archaeological Institute. He gave a number of lectures and won several awards.

St Joseph held honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin (1971), and the Universities of Dundee and Amsterdam (1982).

In 1945 he married Daphne Margaret March and they had two sons and two daughters. He was awarded an OBE in 1964 and later a CBE in 1979. He died in Histon, near Cambridge on 11 March 1994.


There is no obvious original order to these records.

The collection has been provisionally arranged into 2 sub-series to reflect the records and work undertaken by St Joseph.

STJH 1: Research Notes

  • 1/1 Research, Stricklandia lirata
  • 1/2 Research, Brachiopods

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.

Archivist's Note

This collection level description was created by Sandra Marsh of Sedgwick Museum in January 2011 using information from St Josephs entry in Who Was Who (A and C Black, 1997) and 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 Kenneth Sinclair St Joseph, STJH.

Appraisal Information

The collection is still to be appraised.

Custodial History

2 boxes were identified as being records created or retained by St Joseph. These were repackaged into 3 conservation grade boxes 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.