The Papers of Reverend George Ferris Whidborne

Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence and papers sent to Windborne including correspondence from Thomas McKenney Hughes, Samuel Garret, and John E. Marr 1903-1910. Also including correspondence with the Windborne family in relation to executing the will (concerning papers and books).

Administrative / Biographical History

George Ferris Whidborne was born in 6th August 1845, the son of George Whidborne. He attended Clifton College in Clifton Somerset and Cheltenham College Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He then went to study at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge in 1864 and graduated in 1868. He obtained his M.A. in 1872.

He was ordained Deacon in London 1881 and Priest the following year. He was then Curate of St Pancras, 1881-6 and St Paul's, Onslow Square, 1886-8. He was Vicar of St George's, Battersea, 1888-96 and also Of the Priory, Westbury-on-Trym, 1897-1903. He was then a licensed preacher to the diocese of Chichester, 1903-1910.

For over twenty years Whidborne had spent time figuring and describing the Devonian fauna of the South West of England in the annual volumes of the Palaeontographical Society. He is also recorded as leading a Sedgwick Club party in 1880.

Mr Whidborne served for many years on the council of the palaeontographical Society, and contributed papers to the Quarterly journal of the Geological Society (1881 and 1883) and numerous papers to the Geological Magazine (1889-1901).

On June 4th he married Lucebella Margarita, daughter of C. H. Chambers, barrister and they had several children. They lived at Hammerwood Lodge [later Hammerwood Park] near East Grinstead, Sussex.

The First World War claimed the life of George, his eldest son, in 1915 and a younger son in 1917. The Military Cross was awarded to all three sons. The eldest daughter worked with the Red Cross, and another daughter Elfrida went to Sudan to work as a missionary.

George Whidborne died from an attack of Pneumonia February 14th 1910 at Hammerwood Lodge, East Grinstead in Sussex.


The collection contains correspondence, which was in no particular order. It was unclear how the collection came to be the property of Mrs Gelsthorpe and whether she had arranged the records in any way.

It has thus been (artificially) arranged into one series with two sub-series.

  • WDBN 1 Correspondence
  • WDBN 1/1 Correspondence, general
  • WDBN 1/2 Correspondence relating to estate and will

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. Please ask staff for further information.

Archivist's Note

This collection level description was created by Sandra Marsh of Sedgwick Museum in January 2011 from an obituary, the Cambridge Alumni database, and 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 George Whidborne, WDBN.

Custodial History

1 box was identified as containing records created or retained by George Whidborne. These were repackaged into a conservation grade box during the DDF project (2010-2011)

The material had been transferred (gift) to the museum [to Colin Forbes, curator] in 1979 by John Thackray of the Geological Museum, who felt the records were better placed in this repository.

It was not clear how Mrs Gelthorpe (the depositor to the Geological Museum) came to have the records in her possession, nor whether they had been arranged in any way before their arrival at Sedgwick 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.