Professor H J Fleure Archive

Scope and Content

The archive contains typescripts of anthropological and geographical essays written by H J Fleure, entitled 'The Advance of the Chinese in China', 'Drifts of Mankind in Africa and Europe', and 'Megaliths and Beakers'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Herbert John Fleure was born on June 6th 1877, in Guernsey. He suffered from poor health as a child, and therefore received his education at home. By 1897 his health had improved sufficiently to allow him to take up an open scholarship to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he read zoology, geography and botany. He graduated with a first class degree in zoology in 1901. The following year, he received a scholarship to study abroad, and attended the Zurich Zoological Institute, where he focused upon anthropology and marine biology. For his work in this area, he was awarded a DSc from the University of Wales.

In 1904, Fleure returned to Aberystwyth to take up the post of assistant lecturer in zoology, gology and botany. In 1907, he became lecturer in geology, zoology and geography, and was made head of the Department of Zoology and interim head of the Department of Geology the following year. He became Professor of Zoology in 1910, and in 1917 was appointed first Professor of Anthropology and Geography at Aberystwyth.

Fleure left Aberystwyth in 1930, when he was offered the first chair of geography at the University of Manchester. He remained in Manchester until his retirement in 1944. Although retired, Fleure continued his reasearch, and was made Tallman Visiting Professor at Bowdoin College, USA in 1944. He also received similar honours in subsequent years from the Universities of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, and University College, London.

Fleure published his first work in 1918, Human Geography in Western Europe. This was followed by many other books, essays and scientific studies, including his Natural History of Man in Britain (1951). Fleure also worked untiringly for the advancement of his chosen subjects. From 1917 to 1947 he acted as Honorary Secretary and Honarary Editor of Publications for the Geographical Association, and became its President in 1948. In 1936, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society - the first geographer to receive this honour. He received the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographgical Society in 1946, and was also involved with the Cambrian Archeological Association, the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Folk Lore Society, among others.

Fleure also maintained his links with the Channel Islands. In 1910 he married Hilda Mary, the daughter of Charles H Bishop, a former methodist preacher on Guernsey. Together they had three children. He died at his Surrey home on July 1st 1969.

Access Information

The papers may be consulted through application by e-mail to: or by post to: Aberystwyth University, Archives, Information Services, Llandinam Building, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DB. Tel: 01970 628593.


Description compiled by Rhian Phillips, Archives Hub project archivist, with reference to E T Williams and C S Nicholls (eds), The Dictionary of National Biography, 1961-1970, (Oxford: University Press, 1981), pp 368-69.

Other Finding Aids

Basic finding aid available on request from Archives staff.

Related Material

Further papers and correspondence of H J Fleure can be found at the National Library of Wales, the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, and the National Library of Scotland.