Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-swqlm Total loading time: 0.211 Render date: 2021-12-05T06:14:58.969Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

2 - Fieldwork and Excursion Culture

Get access

Summary

In 1865 John Gray, a founding member of the Natural History Society of Glasgow, published a sketch of the celebrated eighteenth-century Scottish naturalist, the Revd David Ure. In his potted biography Gray cast Ure as a heroic explorer fully equipped for the scientific investigation of local natural history. Ure, Gray noted, entered the field with,

a tin box for stowing curious plants – a large cudgel, armed with steel, so as to serve both as a spade and pick-axe; a few small chisels and other tools; a blow-pipe, with its appurtenances; a small liquid chemical apparatus, optical instruments, etc., etc., so that his friends used to call him a walking shop, or laboratory. In this way, he braved all weathers; and heat or cold, wet or dry, seemed equally indifferent to him.

In Gray's telling Ure's life provided a ‘romance of improvement’ in which fieldwork played an important part. Ure overcame not just the elements but also, in his single-minded pursuit of scientific truth, ignorance of nature and nature's God. In this way Gray's account reflected a widely shared set of assumptions about fieldwork which, as a moral as well as a scientific pursuit, aided the development of a sound mind and a healthy body.

As the example of Ure demonstrates, excursions with the purpose of exploring local natural history had a longer history and the outdoor work of nineteenth-century natural history societies participated in a rich and venerable tradition of fieldwork. David Allen, by identifying the earliest mentions of specialist equipment, outlets for publication and institutional supports, has uncovered fieldwork's rich and diverse past. In the eighteenth-century, fieldwork as a social rather than solitary pursuit received impetus from the ‘herbarizing’ associated with the Society of Apothecaries and from the need to supply a growing number of botanic gardens. Field excursions were employed from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to teach natural history at the University of Edinburgh and, later, at other British universities.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×