The Papers of Philip Cambridge

Scope and Content

The collection comprises species card indexes; records of species given away; notebooks, maps and notes; correspondence with other conchologists; cuttings; material relating to time spent at the University of East Anglia, Norwich; and personal papers including poems, cuttings, and personal photographs and negatives.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born on 2nd June 1918 in Cheddar Philip Cambridge grew up in Cardiff. He was a boyhood fossil collector and he quickly acquired an impressive collection. He started work as a window dresser in a womens clothes shop after some short-lived positions after leaving elementary school.

He then entered the RAF as an apprentice and served as a filter-armourer, maintaining nuclear missiles at secret sites in East Anglia. Whilst inactive he spent time reading widely pursuing his correspondence and cataloguing his collection of fossils and producing a unique card index of descriptions and figures of Crag fossils.

He moved around frequently but spent some time in Canada which rekindled his enthusiasm for geology and palaentology. In 1946 he was posted to RAF Wattisham in Suffolk and it was here that his interest in Coralline and Crags really developed. His post-RAF career (after over 30 years) as chief technician and research assistant in the school of environmental sciences, University of East Anglia was entirely appropriate.

In 1965 Philip Cambridge spent a year in Aden, studying the living shells of the area. He was an enthusiastic collector and dedicated conchologist, Palaeontologist and geologist with a particular and life-long commitment to the East Anglian Crags and their equivalents in Belgium and the Netherlands. He was able to undertake excavations mainly into Coraline Crag at Ramsholt (1974), Sutton (1989, 1993) and Gedgrave Broome Pit (1992) with sponsorship from the Geologists Association.

Philip was a member of the Conchological Society from 1961 and the Geologists Association from 1943, serving on the laters council for two years and receiving their Foulterton Award in 1970. He was a founder member of the Geological Society of Norfolk and later treasurer, editor/assistant editor of their Bulletin.

Philip Cambridge died of a heart attack in his sleep 29th May 1993. His ashes were scattered near the Coraline and Red Crag pits at Sutton, near Woodbridge.

He had married Mildred (date unknown) and left behind a daughter Rilla and a granddaughter. A son Terrence Clive Cambridge was born in 1963.


The files were in good order from the filing cabinet (boxes 912-915) and a hand-written list of basic file titles was uncovered.

There was a label on the top filing cabinet drawer "Crag-Notes, Forams-Whales, Notes and papers below".

One of the drawers was not in any particular order but the original order was recovered with the help of the basic list.

The original box files were labeled. 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.

Please contact the Archivist, Sandra Marsh to make an appointment or make an enquiry about the collection.

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.

For those records originally from the filing cabinets (boxes 912-915) there are additional paper notes available.

Please ask staff for further information.

Archivist's Note

This collection level description was created by Sandra Marsh of Sedgwick Museum in November 2010 using information from an obituary in the Journal of Conchology, (volume 35, pp83-85) by P.E Long, and from the papers themselves. Assistance was also given by Laurence Ralph, gap-year volunteer student 2010-2011.

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 Cambridge, CMBG

Appraisal Information

A number of boxes contained reprints that have now been removed from the archive collection and stored with other published material for consultation.

The collection contained many duplicate papers. These were not retained.

The rest of the collection is still to be appraised.

Custodial History

20 boxes and a full filing cabinet were identified as being records created or retained by Philip Cambridge. The boxes were repackaged into 27 conservation grade boxes during the DDF project (2010-2011).

The filing cabinet records are still to be repackaged. A number of boxes containing reprints were removed from the archive.

As no documentation could be recovered in legacy museum correspondence files to ascertain the provenance or acquisition detailsl, 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.

Location of Originals

Cambridge collection of fossils are now in the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge whilst his collection of shells can be found in the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.