S&SWM PR papers L978

Our thanks to Adrian Green, Director of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum for allowing us to use the image of Henry P. Blackmore on this page.

H.P. Blackmore in his museum [Copyright S&SWM]


[Blackmore] | Salisbury | 10 Dec 1892

Dear General Pitt-Rivers,

Just at present I am busy with a lecture on Extinct Mammalia but next week will try and look you out some specimens from our Drift.

We have found no fresh ones for some time past Milford Hill is built over and Bemerton Pits not worked so there is little chance of adding to our local specimens.

Your additions to the village museum must be very instructive & just what is wanted to diffuse a more general knowledge on these subjects. The easiest way of teaching is always through the eye - a specimen gives a clearer and better idea than pages of letter press.

With kind regards
Yours very truly
H.P. Blackmore




Salisbury | 20 Dec 1892

Dear General Pitt Rivers

By today's parcel post I have sent you a few palaeolithic flint implements from this locality. They are the best we can spare you at present & unless other pits are opened I fear but few more will turn up in the future.

Those from Bemerton gravel are very important as I know of no other English locality which so well shows that man was "preglacial" It is rather remarkable that Lyell, Prestwick & Evans all missed this point, although they recognised the fact that the gravel in which they are found is older than the lower level brick earth which contains the glacial fauna.

This sheet of higher level gravel was spread over the chalk hill long before the spring freshets [?] eroded the Avon & Nadder valleys & deposited the beds of brick earth which clothed the chalk spur on either side. The age of this brick earth is abundantly proved by the presence of Mammoth [insert] Rhinoceros [end insert] Reindeer, musk ox, lemming spermophilus and arctic fox. The most numerous assemblage of arctic animals from a single locality, yet found in England.

With kind regards & the good wishes of the season
Yours very truly
H.P. Blackmore



Ansd, Nov. 22/94

Salisbury | 16 Nov 1894

Dear General Pitt Rivers

I am very pleased to hear from Mr Doran Webb that there is a chance of your giving us another lecture at the [Blackmore] Museum.

I am writing to ask you to fix an early date as possible - would about 3 weeks hence be too soon for you? Then are lectures promised after Xmas, but we want to fill up the time before that date.

As to subjects we should be glad to have anything you have worked up lately if that would in any way help you. A chapter in Early Romano British country life as illustrated by grave excavations at Woodcutts & other places in your district would suit us nicely & you have all the material so much at your finger ends that would be very little trouble to you.

I need hardly add that it would afford me pleasure to give you a bed for the Night & in my house you can always do just as you please

With kind regards
Yours very truly
H.P. Blackmore



Salisbury | 25 Nov 1894

Dear General Pitt Rivers

I am very sorry to hear you do not feel well enough to give us a lecture. Doran Webb mentioned that you did not like to enter into a long engagement & that was why it struck me that you might possibly be able to give us a lecture at once - however we must put up with the loss, as of course everything must & ought to give way to your health & convenience.

With regard to what you say about the Bronze Age - it is clearly a point that wants careful working out.

Of course one side of the question is whether Bronze was introduced entirely by a conquering & intrusive race - this was clearly so in some parts of England but would hardly apply to Ireland.

Whereever the Bronze people conquered & took possession of the land they would naturally occupy the old Neolithic settlement & camps

I only wish you could have thoroughly explored Old Sarum - for this spot [insert] above all others [end insert] would probably have given good results and it would have been most interesting to see how the early ramparts had been altered, improved & added to by the various occupants.

Yours very truly
H.P. Blackmore

Henry Purnell Blackmore, brother of William Henry Blackmore who founded the Blackmore Museum at Salisbury, he was a doctor in Salisbury and an archaeologist. Blackmore did provide artefacts to Pitt-Rivers very quickly, 6 stone tools obtained from the gravels at Bemerton and Milford Hill were accessioned in the catalogue of the second collection in November 1892 [sic], see Add.9455vol3_p875 /11 and on

Transcribed by AP May/ June 2011

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