Unlocking the Natural History Heritage of Essex
Until this project the Essex Field Club publications had not been available for public or research access since the early 1980s, with minimal access until 1992, none since the closure of the Passmore Edwards Museum in Newham. The collection and library include a wealth of archival material on the fauna, flora, geology and lithic archaeology in the County of Essex, representing the county's biodiversity and geodiversity. The geodiversity covers the last 120 million years of the evolution of Essex, the biodiversity collections cover the more recent past, mostly from the mid nineteenth century to the present. Recorders today measure the current situation and dynamic changes which point the way to the future. Much of the material in our collections has close associations with eminent scientists and naturalists working in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is nationally and regionally important.
Now our Unlocking the Natural History Heritage of Essex project provides easy access to our publications, facilitating research into the history of natural history recording and changes that have taken place within Essex since the inception of the Essex Field Club. The entire back catalogue of Essex Field Club publications dating back to 1880 has been digitised (modern Essex Naturalist journals currently up to and including Volume 21, 2004, later ones to follow) and made accessible and freely available to the public through the dedicated web facility you see here (see also archive search tips. The standard of digitisation is extremely high, but if you do find errors then please report them using the 'tick' icon facility available on the archive page. The project is a part of our overall aim to make all our collections and library accessible to the public through the provision of a new centre with research facilities, exhibition area and education space.
The project has focused on Essex Field Club publications dating from the present day back to the origin of Essex Field Club in 1880, with 22815 pages, 2444 individual books, articles and papers and 7807111 words currently read, checked and indexed. The publications consist of a range of natural history information contributed by scientists and naturalists. The publications cover a wide array of subjects relating to the flora, fauna, geology and lithic archaeology of the County of Essex. The publications are a unique collection documenting not only the heritage of the Essex Field Club, but also the natural history heritage and social history of Essex.
The archive enables learning and research by universities, schools, naturalists, community groups and the general public by allowing text searching of papers included in the publications and contents/index searching for papers included in the publications. The project will also conserve the publications in perpetuity as electronic copies of the original documents, preserving them in case of the sometimes inevitable and irreversible deterioration of the originals caused by handling and the possibility of disasters like flood or fire damage. If material contained herein is to be used for commercial purposes, a licence fee is payable.
We are very grateful to the following organisations and societies for permission to include the publications listed below in the digitisation project:
- Flora of Essex, S.T. Jermyn, 1974 - Essex Wildlife Trust (digitisation of this volume is not yet complete)
- Grasshoppers and Crickets of Essex, 1997 - Alan Wake and Colchester Natural History Society
- Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge Chingford, Chingford Historical Society Bulletin No. 3, 1965 - Chingford Historical Society
- Thurrock Natural History Society, ten years on, 1980 - Thurrock Natural History Society