Charles Whitley Correspondence

Scope and Content

Several of these letters (nos 3, 5 and 16) shed light on Whitley's scientific interests and his friendships with leading figures in the contemporary scientific world, among them Charles Darwin, William Whewell (1794-1866), William Hopkins (1793-1866), the geologist and mathematician, and J.S. Henslow (1796-1861), Professor of Mineralogy and Botany at Cambridge, whose letter to Whitley mentions the casks of natural history specimens he has received from Darwin. Others (nos 1-2, 6, 8, 19, 20-21, 24) concern affairs of the University of Durham. No. 20, from Thomas Sopwith, the Newcastle upon Tyne mining engineer, illustrates Whitley's interest in developing the teaching of science in the university. Nos 18, from the architect Anthony Salvin (1799-1881), and 23 concern alterations to Durham Castle. No. 14 is from the sculptor John Gibson (1790-1866), and no. 15 from A.D. Bache (1806-1867), the American educationalist and physicist. The remaining letters are mainly about personal matters.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Thomas Whitley (1808-1895) was one of the founder members of staff of the University of Durham. The son of John Whitley of Liverpool, he was educated at Shrewsbury School and St. John's College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. (Senior Wrangler) in 1830, and was elected a fellow of St. John's in 1831. In 1833 he was appointed Reader in Natural Philosophy and Mathematics in the new University of Durham, a post which he retained until 1855. He also filled a number of other university offices for various periods during those years - Librarian, Proctor, Tutor, and later Vice-Master of University College. He was ordained in 1836, and in 1849 became an honorary canon of Durham Cathedral. In 1854 he was appointed Vicar of Bedlington, Northumberland. Whitley's translation of Louis Poinsot's work on rotatory motion was published in Cambridge in 1834, the same year in which the French original first appeared. At Cambridge he had become a close friend of Charles Darwin, and he maintained his scientific interests and correspondence throughout his life. From 1864-1872 he was President of the College of Medicine and Surgery in Newcastle upon Tyne.



Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Winifred A. Myers (Autographs) Ltd, 1971


Part of : Additional Manuscripts

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available at online catalogue.

Related Material

Thorp Correspondence

University of Durham Records


Poinsot, Louis, Outlines of a new theory of rotatory motion from the French of Poinsot, with explanatory notes, translated by C.T. Whitley (Cambridge, 1834)

Corporate Names