James Croll was born in 1821, the son of a Perthshire stonemason and crofter. He was to suffer from ill health throughout his life. In 1864, while working as janitor, he published the paper The physical cause of the change of climate during geological epochs. This proposed the theory that variations in the earth’s orbit were responsible for cyclical climate changes, including ice ages. In 1867 he was offered the position of office-keeper at the Scottish branch of the Geological Survey. This job left him sufficient freedom to pursue his climate studies and resulted in the publication of the book Climate and Time (1875).
In 2010 the Quaternary Research Association established the James Croll Medal, its highest award for merit.
This letter is from W H Spaull who was a magistrate at Oswestry. He is enquiring about geologist Charles Bertie Wedd (1868-1945) who was allegedly up a tree sketching near an army camp and mistaken for a German spy and almost lynched! This letter as well as showing some of the dangers a field geologist may face also demonstrates the fear of German spies less than two months after the outbreak of World War 1.
Parish's Loam Work, Erith. This is the southern portion of the great pit, entered along the southern tramline. View looking south and shows mode of working. A small adit is made at foot of the face. The overlying sand is shovelled down, with the truck placed at mouth of adit. This causes the curious aspect of the face. The sand does not show bedding unless seen very closely. This exposes the whole thickness of the Thanet Sand, about 70 feet, with an ill-defined capping of the pebbly series. Date taken: 27/06/1911 Old photograph number: A01191 Bob McIntosh