Banner image showing PRM Gallery


The following are transcriptions or notes of holdings

UC/FF/60/1, 1884-86

24 July 1883: Howard MacGarvey (Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineer, plumber, iron and brass founder) to Deane. Plans for heating ‘the new Anthropological Museum and the laboratories proposed to be erected in connection with the University Museum at Oxford in accordance with your plans’ Plan enclosed, showing new anthropology museum, and associated buildings (see pencil sketch of this by FL)

12 November 1884: Report of Committee on Pitt-Rivers Museum for Hebdomadal Council reduction of original tenders, primarily by changing structure of roof and galleries and by diminishing length of building by 14 feet (one-seventh) – but ‘whole area will not be proportionately reduced, because the galleries are increased in width from five feet to ten feet’ recommends application for further grant so as not to reduce length of building

[initially there were going to be two doors on both sides of PRM court connecting with OUM, rather than one central door]


19 January 1883: printed ‘Report to the Hebdomadal Council of the Committee of Members of Convocation appointed to consider the Offer by Major-General Pitt-Rivers F.S.A., F.R.S., etc., of his Anthropological Collection to the University, and to advise thereon.’, [see PRM foundation volume, photocopies]

including two plans for Anthropology Museum appended, by Redgrave. Museum to be 70 feet by 160 feet (later pencil notes change 160 feet to 100 feet), with door in centre of short wall (later pencil moved door to one side) and two blocks of cases under two skylights. [see pencil sketches by FL]

14 June 1883: Deane (Architect) to Gamlen

has great pleasure in prospect of working for the University again.

19 June 1883, Tylor to Gamlen, hopes to be at forthcoming Curators’ meeting

30 June 1883: T.N. Deane to Gamlen

plans now ready for the surveyor and his specification. Possibility of adding a ‘theatre’ is mentioned (no details given)

6 July 1883: Morrell & Son, Solicitors, to Gamlen,

‘The matter [of executing the Deed], we understood, was standing over whilst a catalogue of the collection was being completed + printed.’ Have heard from Farrer + Co that PR would like the following conditions added:

‘1) That a Lecturer shall be appointed by the University who shall yearly give Lectures at Oxford on Anthropology

‘2) That the Donor and his agents shall have the right at all reasonable times of making drawings of the objects in the collection for purposes of publication’

Morrell has replied that decision only possible during October term, but cannot imagine any objection to (2) but (1) would involve an annual outlay and do not know what view the University would take.

‘To this Messrs Farrer reply that they understood that it had been already agreed by the University Authorities but that they quite consent that it should stand over.’

Should be glad to know whether it has been informally agreed, as could then press to execute the Deed.

27 July 1883: Morrell & Son, Solicitors, to Gamlen,

In further reference to your letter of the 21st inst, we have written to Messrs. Farrer and Co urging them to get General Pitt-Rivers to execute the Deed and stating the reasons which make it desirable to get it done at once.

We are sorry to say they have replied this morning to the effect that General Pitt-Rivers declines to execute the Deed until further conditions which he requires have been inserted.

24 May 1884: T.N. Deane to Gamlen

Plans for the anthropological museum will be sent on Tuesday, and various estimates

Deane in consultation with Gamlen re contracting Symm + Co for building work

June 1884, two large documents, estimates for preliminary works for Anth Museum, University of Oxford

June 1884: estimate for construction work for anth museum from Arding, Bird and Buzzard, London

10 June 1884: Form of tender signed by Symm + Co addressed to Curators of the University Chest to effect that they are willing to erect the Museum in accordance with plans and specs by T.N. Deane + Son and giving details of costs – basic cost of £4977, range of possible additional costs also given.

17 June 1884: E.T. Turner to Gamlen

PRM came before Council yesterday, but Council were of the opinion that it could not be considered this late in the term

4 July 1884: Moseley to Gamlen

I saw Franks in town yesterday and he said he would not value the Pitt Rivers Collection but advised insuring it for £10000 about the same as the cost of the building +c this I expect is the best I can do.


2 December 1884: Morrell and Son (Solicitors) to Gamlen

Enclosing Deed of Gift of PRC dated 20 May 1884 [Deed no longer with letter]

December 1884: Deane to Gamlen re lighting

27 January 1885: Secretary, Science and Art Dept, S. Ken to Tylor

regarding two requests 1) that S.Ken Museum provided ‘men and vans necessary for the packing and removal of the Pitt-Rivers Collection’ if the University delegates at Oxford pay costs, and 2) ‘whether the Department would present to the University Museum the wooden wall-screens on which weapons +c are arranged at present’. The Lords of the Committee of Council on Education agree to both proposals

11 February 1885: Tylor to Gamlen

requirements for cases drawn up by EBT and HNM with estimates


28 ft of court cases 896

340 ft wall cases 600 680

250 ft desk cases 306 450

extra for drawers, cupboards 150

internal fittings, linings, locks 200

contingencies 124

total 2500

11 February 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

‘On going to the Pitt Rivers Collection yesterday I found that it had been shifted out of its place by the S. Kensington authorities and packed closely into one room. The galleries formerly occupied by it were ordered to be cleared for the patent collection. I think the cases have been moved carefully and that the objects are not injured but it is impossible to get at any but those adjoining the passage.

‘I believe that General Pitt Rivers will receive the first intimation of what has been done from a letter I have written to him tonight. I imagine the Curators of the Chest to whom I beg you will communicate the content of this letter will have to ascertain in how short a time the building for the collection will be ready for its reception and then ask the S. Kensington authorities whether they will permit the collection to remain as now stored till that time. It would also be well to have the collection examined to find out whether it will deteriorate as now placed I could not speak with any confidence on the matter after the very short view I had of it. If the Kensington authorities refuse to house the collection till the building is ready the things will have to be moved to some temporary resting place here. In that case the finer cases which will be required for the new building had better be ordered at once. As all the best things in the collection are now in cases which belong to S. Kensington and would not be stored here safely and so as to preserve their arrangement except in similar cases.’

21 February 1885: Secretary, Science and Art Dept, South Ken, to Gamlen

‘…although the Department is anxious to disturb the Pitt Rivers Collection as little as possible, it is quite out of its power to undertake that it shall remain in its present situation until the proposed new building at Oxford is ready for its reception. The Collection is at present placed in a Gallery which does not belong to the Department, and which it has received notice to vacate as soon as possible, as the building is required by the Treasury and the Office of Works for other purposes.’

Hope PRC will be removed as early as possible and glad to hear of any arrangements in next 3 months

19 March 1885: Tylor to Gamlen

forwarded case estimate from F. Sage and Co, £25 per court case including delivery and set up in University Museum (£8 or more below Holland and Sons), EBT has seen their work at the College of Surgeons Museum and has been over their factory, and approves of all. Shall try and arrange a joint examination with Moseley too

24 March 1885: Symm and Co (contractors) contract with University signed

25 March 1885: Secretary, Science and Art Dept, South Ken, to Gamlen

Dept would be glad to learn that steps are being taken as requested to remove PRC before end next May

15 May 1885: F. Sage to Gamlen

Glad to begin delivering cases on 1st June

18 May 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

‘I think you had better arrange with the S. Kensington people in the first instance about the removal but you must refer them to Tylor and me for instructions as to the order in which things are to be moved and the superintendence of the job. Some have to come here others to go to the Clarendon building and the packing must be arranged accordingly. You will I suppose let the builders know that the opening into this building will have to be ready by June 1st for the cases and also an ascent of some kind to the hole outside.’

23 May 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

‘The Authorities of the Science and Art Department have presented to the University a series of wall screens made especially for the Pitt Rivers Collection and to which a considerable portion of the collection still remains attached.

‘It will be most convenient that the screens should be brought here and stored till they can be erected in the new building, with the exhibits attached to them. As they are of large size it will be impossible to get them in to the rooms at present available without cutting them into short lengths a matter of expense and not without risk of damage to the specimens. It will therefore be of great advantage if some University building the approaches of which will allow the entrance of the screens intact can be devoted to their storage for six or eight months from the beginning of next month. And I beg that you will bring the matter before the Curators of the University Chest.

‘The extreme size of the screens is 9ft by 12ft. Most of them are 9ft by 9ft 3.’

30 May 1885: Duncombe, Secretary, Science and Art Dept, South Ken, to Gamlen

can be ready to pack PR collection at a day’s notice of the date when Moseley and Tylor can be present

12 June 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

‘It is very possible we may want to begin to store some Pitt Rivers things in the Clarendon upper rooms tomorrow. Will you kindly tell the Curators and see if they can be swept out etc.

‘I am off to town with Tylor to superintend.’

17 June 1885: Tylor to Gamlen, written while at the Athenaeum

EBT is ‘in town about the Pitt-Rivers collection’, writing about the stairs (as Moseley, below, 22 June 1885)

22 June 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

has just heard that the staircase down into the Court has been reduced from 6 ft wide to 4 ft 2 in without referring to him or to Tylor. ‘I cannot conceive how a serviceable building is ever turned out of the University on a system of this kind. We have devised the building and are responsible for its efficience [sic] for the purpose of taking the collection for which it is intended and yet a most important alteration is permitted without a hint to us who are the people who will suffer by the error.

‘The six foot doorway half blocked by a wall of brick only three feet distant from it in a direct line will look absurd and hideous. The four feet two stairway will not allow the carrying down of a single one of the 28 cases now erected in the old building…The front door of the Old Museum was so ludicrously bungled through oversight that it is inconvenient and useless and now we are day by day with our eyes open making a worse bungle of the entrance of the new building.’

Sage says the cases will have to be taken to pieces again to get them down the stairs now. The door is six foot and the stairs 4 ft 2, therefore part of the door is blocked by an internal wall coming to meet the corner of the stairs.

‘How will Pitt Rivers like to see his inscription over such an abortion? Tylor is going to the Vice-Chancellor about the matter.’ …

‘I do trust that if it is proposed to abolish the galleries or omit the skylights or build up hermetically all approaches to the building we shall be afforded an opportunity of expressing our disapprobation first.’

June/July 1885: Deane to Gamlen re alterations to staircase

July 1885: F. Sage and Co. to Gamlen re specs and estimate for cases [N.B. Sage and Co., Shop Fitters, Gray’s Inn Road, London]

29 June 1885: Sage and Co. acknowledging receipt of £700

3 July 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

‘I enclose a statement of expenses of Spencer and myself in attending the removal of the Pitt Rivers Collection. I have paid Spencer the £6.9.8.’ Also enquires re railings for PR building gallery and who contractor is and whether it is in hand. Needs complete drawing so a to decide on desk cases and whether to fit them to the railings

17 July 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

re exhibition cases

‘After consulting with the British Museum authorities concerned with Ethnological collections I concluded that 23 feet is not too long for the wall case compartments.’ [Does this mean the space between case doors? Surely not?] The cases are ‘nearly the kind of case which he [Sage] makes great quantities for shops’ [sic]

25 July 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

re cases for the PRM:

Moseley asked for a plan of the building, giving dimensions, when he ‘set about devising a system on which cases should be made for the Pitt Rivers Building’ and never doubted the plan’s correctness. On the basis of this plan ‘the Keeper and I recommended the order of the 28 transparent cases to fill the available floor space with proper intervals’. Now an extra 6 feet 1 inch added to the building, but this will make little difference.

For wall cases:

‘In selecting the kind of wall cases to be recommended I first got an estimate at per foot run by subsequently thinking it better to get an offer to make the entire set of wall cases required for a lump sum including a certain modification of breadth for 23 feet in the middle of the east wall…’ etc.

Original plans suggested by Redgrave and adopted by the University Chest Curators. Moseley guaranteed the plans as correct in his letter to Messrs Sage (the case-makers). Sage offered 240 ft of wall case for £600. Seems they now need 6 ft extra of wall cases, which will cost £2.10 per foot (ie £13 10s in all), but peculiarities of requirement (e.g. for going round door to PRM etc) means will probably be more than this.

Requests up to date plan so can confirm design of cases, case doors and partitions

Also need 12 additional feet of desk cases

Breadth of building now 76 ft not 70 ft

Needs to confirm situation before Sage begins work. ‘I have given a very great deal of my time to the Pitt Rivers matter’ and has been trying to save expense.

27 July 1885: Secretary, Science and Art Dept, South Ken to Gamlen

invoice for ‘expenses incurred by the Department in connection with the removal of the Pitt-Rivers Collection to Oxford’

12 October 1885: Moseley to Gamlen

It is necessary that I should have the help of a skilled assistant for a year to aid me in arranging and labelling the Pitt Rivers Collection. I think I shall be able to obtain such aid as I require for a payment of £100. I propose merely to make the engagement for the job without any suggestion of future employment and I shall be much obliged if you will apply for me to the curators of the University Chest for permission to [unclear – enfeud?] £100 of the sum allotted to the purposes of the collection in the payment of such an assistant.’

Also needs a carpenter ‘for some six months or a year to fit and fix wall screens, shelves, brackets +c and do useful jobs of all kinds’

3 November 1885: Deane to Gamlen

have written to Symm and Co. and the glazing contractors to push on with the work. ‘We are sorry you think the work is progressing slowly but at the same time beg to say that we are in no way the cause of it.’

December 1885: letters from Deane to Gamlen re. pillars, hot water channels, doorway, heating

21 December 1885: Tylor to Gamlen

re doorway, building doorway centrally between buttresses would minimize irregularily, would mean altering steps but would make doorway right in the Museum Court and not harm much in PRM, where already lack of symmetry between buttresses and iron columns. Not an architect, but thinks present arrangement will look ill.

1 January 1886: Tylor to Gamlen

‘It is correct that I was with Deane about the new doorway and that Moseley acquiesced…It is I suppose useless to say any more about the doorway but I wish you would go round that way and see how it strikes you.’


4 February 1886: F. Sage to Moseley

‘We have been thinking that as we have had so much wet weather lately the walls of your new building will be very damp for a long time after it is completed, therefore would it not be wise to paint the boards for the back of the cases two stiff coats [sic] of red lead before they are fixed we mean that side next the wall [sic], the cost of doing this will be £10.16.0. If you give the order for this to be done we should do the painting before the work leaves here. Perhaps you will be able to tell us more when the building will be covered in so that we may form an idea when we can begin to fix the cases.’

[Moseley’s order for painting backs of cases received by 8 February]

4 February 1886 Deane to Gamlen re revised estimate for hot-water

February/March 1886: Haden and Son re estimates for heating apparatus, Deane and Son re estimates for heating apparatus, plans for heating

8 February 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

complaining that the £500 set aside for ‘removal and rearranging of the Pitt Rivers collection’ has been drawn upon for other purposes. Original estimate drawn up by Moseley and Tylor, and neither expected this:

‘We counted as most people do when making an estimate on savings on one item compensating for loss on another and in giving three weeks of our time up to the work of superintending packing and preliminary labelling of the collection we were I am sure much actuated by the consideration that we thereby saved must cost which saving would enable a larger proportion of the collection to be placed under glass should the sum granted run short. I also spared my assistants services here in connection with the museum collection with the same view.

‘I have agreed as is most expedient to receive nearly the whole of the Ashmolean’s ethnological specimens and incorporate them with the Pitt Rivers collection without asking for any increase in the sum for cases +c mainly on the idea that the savings effected would be available for the Pitt Rivers collection and I have also heard from General Pitt Rivers of numerous [insert] valuable sets of [end insert] objects at his house in London shortly to be added to those already received without raising questions of further expense on similar grounds.

‘I have spent very much time and trouble and correspondence in obtaining everything connected with my part of the work of the collection [insert] at as low a cost as possible [end insert] on purpose to make the money go as far as possible in displaying and preserving the collection suitably and I shall certainly feel disappointed if the result is to be expended on the warming apparatus of another part of the Museum and I find the funds for extra cases +c run short in the end.’

…Hopes original fun for arranging the collection will remain. ‘Nothing is more difficult that to make absolute calculations as to the disposal of a collection of indefinite dimensions which ahs never been arranged as a whole previously anywhere.’

9 February 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

‘I should have mentioned in my letter that the whole expense of moving the Pitt Rivers collection cannot be regarded as yet defrayed. The cost of moving all the specimens now stowed at the Divinity School and the new Schools to the Museum will be quite considerable. The estimate made by Dr. Tylor and myself was calculated before it was known that two removals would be required.’

15 February 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

‘I am constantly interrupted during my lectures here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by violent hammering in connection with the Pitt Rivers building. At first I was able by leaving my class and finding a servant to take a message to the foreman of the works to resume my lecture in quiet after an interval but now I am unable to get the noise stopped.’

Can the Curators of the Chest do anything to stop the noise on these days between 10 and 11.30 while Moseley is teaching. ‘If the builders had finished the work according to agreement there would have been no need for hammering during lectures. I have of course no authority at all with the builders.’

17 March 1886: Tylor to Gamlen

might be sensible to have a plank going along roof so that ventilation shutters and roof can be accessed if anything goes wrong, without the need of scaffolding

22 March 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

going on holiday until 3 May, so could Gamlen make arrangements to pay Balfour from the ‘Pitt Rivers fund’ on March 25th ‘one quarters salary, viz £25’ and ‘£20 to be expended during my absence on wages and small purchases under one pound and accounted for my me on my return’

Undated pencil note by Moseley:

‘I prefer in the painting of the interior of the Pitt Rivers building the dark red bases of the pillars with yellow narrow rings about. Also the rails coloured light grey with yellow ring ornaments.

‘If the joints under the galleries and their ends if painted should be coloured nearly white.

‘Borrow scaffold man from Mr Axtell and pulley and rope for handing the screens up to the Galleries’

[NB I think Axtell must have been a technician or maintenance for the University or the OUM]

3 April 1886: Deane to Gamlen re Symm and Co. painting underside of gallery floors, order for this work sent 14 April. Later April, Haden and Son re deciding on circle design for gratings. Late April/May, discussion re blind wells and drainage

6 May 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

‘Sage’s men are very anxious to begin putting up the wall cases in the Pitt Rivers building. They suggest that the floor round the margin where the cases are to rest might now be finished off at once. I see nothing to prevent this being done. They have been left waiting a long while with the cases filling their warehouses. I dare say Axtell could easily manage the matter.’

8 May 1886: W.J. Hill, Science Collections, S. Ken, to Moseley

‘In turning out drawers and cup-boards in the office, I have come across some Pitt Rivers labels. I rather think they are copies of many you have but will send them if they are likely to be of any service.

‘I suppose by this time the Pitt Rivers annexe is built and pretty well furnished…’

14 May 1886: Sage acknowledge order for ’26 additional standards and 8 wrought iron braces’

20 May 1886: Gardner, Anderson and Clarke, Engineers to Gamlen

sending photo of ‘the Anthropological Museum as finished’ – later note (by different hand) states that this is a photo of the finished roof, but no photo remains

2 June 1886: Sage to Gamlen

asking for £500 – had intended to wait until after work finished, but building has been some months longer than anticipated. Their work should be completed by end of month, ‘All the material are on the ground and we believe well advanced’

11 June 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

re inscription over the door. ‘I think the enclosed will look very well but I had an idea that the stipulated inscription was Pitt Rivers Anthropological Collection I know he is very sweet on the long word…’

‘I want leave to ask one of the S. Kensington authorities to allow one of their superintendents who had charge of the Pitt Rivers Collection to come here for a week to give his services in cataloguing the collection. We to pay his expenses [sic]. Such favours are often granted in the case of collections sent to new provinces +c. The man had charge of all the old catalogues of the Museum and has a wide knowledge of the collections and would bring the old catalogues and identify many things the labels of which were mislaid when the collection was shifted in a hurry owing to the University leaving it at Kensington too long. It was determined to ask for this Mr Hill’s services when the things were packed for moving to Oxford. He was then of the greatest use. It is possible the SK people might send him at their own expense.’

19 June 1886: Secretary, Science and Art Dept, S. Ken, to Gamlen

confirming that Mr Hill’s services will be placed at the disposal of the University authorities on condition they pay travel and personal expenses

22 June 1886: Sage re ventilating wall cases at extra cost

23 June 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

Mr Hill to come week of 18 July (ie on Monday 19), he (Moseley) and Balfour will be here: ‘I want Balfour to find him a lodging +c and write to him when the time comes.’

30 June 1886: Balfour to Gamlen (HB’s address is Longlands, Henley-on-Thames)

has taken rooms for Hill at Museum Cottage

30 June 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

re petty cash for the Pitt Rivers. ‘Fred Long is a small boy brother of the workman Long who does varnishing +c on his holiday. We shall probably require carpenters assistance in the vac [sic] now the building is finished + the expenditure will thus be a bit higher.’

5 July 1886: Sage sending an account for cases, now completed

10 July 1886: Moseley to Gamlen, has tried all locks on cases and is satisfied, has checked Sage’s invoice

19 July 1886: Deane and Son, need drainage pipe for boiler

24 July 1886: Moseley re blackening grates in PRM

August and October 1886: University Chest settling accounts with contractors

23 October 1886: handwritten ‘Estimate for further expenditure in arranging etc the Pitt Rivers Museum’

includes fittings for cases, screens, more table cases for Upper Gallery, ‘special small cases’, labels painted on wood, salary for assistant to Moseley for one year from Oct 28 at £150 [this is Balfour, up from £100 for first year of work], salary of ‘servants paid weekly from petty cash’ at £39. Total £725.10.0

Total petty cash expenditure for 27 Feb to 23 Oct 1886 was £60

Another estimate, written by Moseley at about the same time:

Includes more table cases for upper gallery, fitting screens in upper gallery, wall cases and screens in lower gallery, stands and fittings for cases, special small glass cases, large labels finished in oil colours. Long’s salary for 53 weeks at 15s =£39. Balfour began work on Oct 28 1885 and was paid: £17.10.8 on December 31; and £25 on each of 29 March, 30 June and 23 October

1 November 1886: Moseley to Gamlen

re estimates for following year (see above)

‘I include amongst such specimens those which with the sanction of the University have been transferred from the Ashmolean to the Pitt Rivers collection in exchange for objects formerly in the General Museum, a certain number of objects transferred directly from the General Museum to the Pitt Rivers collection, and a very few objects presented by various donors to the Pitt Rivers collection since it arrived at Oxford. The whole of these additions to the collection as presented by General Pitt Rivers to the University form a very small proportion of the whole. That portion of the objects received from the Ashmolean Museum which is known as ‘Captain Cook’s collection’ has been arranged in a case formerly used for ethnological objects in the General Museum not in a new one purchased for the purpose. I do not think that the objects now in hand can be properly cleaned, preserved, repaired, set up and displayed in cases or on screens without an expenditure such as I propose. No doubt there will remain some small spaces in the cases +c in which future additions may be intercalated but no superfluous accommodation has been definitely allowed for in my estimate. The range of new table cases in the Upper Gallery which I wish to have put up will be entirely occupied by the vast collection of stone and bronze implements ancient and modern still in the new Schools.’

11 November 1886: Sage to Moseley, estimate for 253ft 6in table cases. Desk cases ordered by 13 November 1886 for the ‘upper gallery of the Anatomical Museum’ (must be a mistake due to Moseley’s writing paper)

By late 1887, Balfour writing to Gamlen for petty cash and wages money [Moseley now sick], and sending estimate of expenditure to end of year December 1887, which includes ‘my assistant’s wages’ at 17/6 per week, a second assistant at 14/- per week, Martin for joinery (3/12), Lambourne for carpentry (2/4), blacksmith, ironmongery, printing slips.

12 January 1887: Balfour to Gamlen

can he ‘raise the wages of my two men to £1 and 15/- a week respectively, as was suggested’

March 1889 Balfour still writing on Anatomical Dept paper

31 May 1889: Balfour to Gamlen

requests new door at top of stairs to maximise space which could be used for storing duplicate specimens.

June 1889: estimate from Symm and Co for new door

23 January 1890: Balfour to Gamlen

proposing to increase J. Long’s wages. ‘I can only hope that his appointment here may be considered a permanent one as he is indispensable to the department.’ Raise from £1 to £1/2/6 per week

15 March 1892: Balfour to Gamlen

requesting that maintenance money is deposited in the bank so that he can draw on it directly without having to apply to the University Chest each time. At present he can only get money on Saturdays and has to borrow from other departments or draw on his own private account if the petty cash runs out. Other departments draw their own cash. The work on the new rooms [Curator’s room, workrooms, see annual reports] has gone on for 9 months now. Balfour would be happy to put £5 towards matchboarding the curator’s room. He would also be happy to take £50 from the Chest and see that the work is finished himself, because it is taking so long. He is hoping to open the whole of the Museum by next term but ‘hardly sees how this is possible’ at the present rate of work.

21 March 1892: Balfour to Gamlen

Balfour fails to see how present system for petty cash benefits anyone or ensures that expenditure is kept down, given that he only gets a certain amount each year anyway. He details requirements for fitting the new rooms. He thinks Symm and Son are expensive and slow. The money can be made to go much further if Balfour is allowed to draw it at his own discretion, and it would also be quicker. The loss of time is ‘very distressing’ and incurs expense.

31 March 1892: Balfour to Gamlen

Balfour happy to submit an account of the expenses each year, and therefore requests a cheque for the first half of the year so that he can bank it. At present he is drawing on his own account at considerable inconvenience. Also supposes he is empowered to spend the remaining £40 for fittings for new rooms. He would like to use a cabinet from the main Museum for the new rooms [probably the Curator’s room?], presently full of ‘rubbish’, which would save considerable expense, but Tylor has refused, saying it will be used for bird skins. Balfour thinks bird skins would be better in the large cabinet that was purchased from Moseley.

5 April 1892, Tylor (in Antibes) to Gamlen

At this distance, not sure if the cabinet in question is currently used for the Hope collection or the geological collection, but either way cannot see how it can go to the Pitt Rivers given that cabinets are wanted for the geological collections

3 June 1892: Balfour to Gamlen

It turns out that the fittings will cost more than £40 but Balfour will not apply to the Chest for more than the £40 [implication that he will cover extra costs personally]

14 Feb 1895 Balfour to Gamlen re condition of blinds (poor), rain leaks, and closing eth dept to the public

etc etc, e.g. covering hot water pipes, petty cash, assistants wages, window alterations, estimates and orders for cases, estimates of annual expenditure, drainage of boiler house, painting works

26 July 1897 Balfour calling attention to entry of rain into his private rooms

2 Dec 1899 Tylor to Gamlen asking authority to order trap-doors for PRM (to reach large cases from galleries

2 July 1901 Balfour to Gamlen asking particulars of insurance at museum


1 Mar 1927 Draft decree and letter confirming Balfour reappointed curator for further seven years

4 June 1918: Registrar to Secretary of University Chest

‘The Hebdomadal Council yesterday considered an application by the Curator of the Pitt-Rivers Museum for a Scientific Assistant or Demonstrator. They granted the application, and resolved that, subject to the approval of the Curators of the University Chest, a sum of £150, from the Residue of the Common University Fund, be devoted to this purpose in 1919. Would you kindly lay this before the Curators?’

As above: alterations and repairs to PRM, including discussions over tablet commemorating installation of electric light

UC/FF/54k/3, 1883-1905

30 Oct 1903, Tylor to Gamlen, grateful thanks and acceptance of re-election as Professor of Anthropology

4 June 1903, agenda for delegates of Common University Fund, inc letter from Balfour requesting £75 for erecting wall case in upper gallery. Application approved

15 Feb 1902 Tylor to Gamlen, re Museum delegates approval of application to CUF by Prof Townsend for grants for expenses of Department of Experimental Physics. One-off grant approved, annual grant under consideration


8 Nov 1897: short letter from Tylor to Prof. Esson re geometrical models to be picked up by the curators of the Schools

29 Oct 1898: Short letter of thanks from Tylor to Gamlen for readership


6 Mar 1902: short letter Tylor to Gamlen re Prof. Townsend’s application for electrical lab money

UC/FF/100/6/1, 1883-1892

UC/FF/100/6/2, 1893-1913

4 Feb 1913 ‘Report of Reader in Social Anthropology’ to Secretary of Delegates of CUF

R.R. Marett enc. list of lectures given since commencement of tenure, M.T. 1910. ‘If I may venture to comment on these figures, I would point out that they are satisfactory from a lecturer’s point of view, inasmuch as they have never fallen below double figures; the reason being that the Diploma students have regularly afforded the nucleus of the class. The lectures, as distinguished from the Seminars, attract a certain number of other students, mostly men reading for Literae Humaniores, more especially when the subject announced borders on political philosophy or psychology. The Seminars, which involve the perparation of papers by those attending them, attract comparatively few students from outside, though these few have generally consisted of rather picked men. I have tried to keep the clases within manageable limits – under twenty – partly by introducing a rather more technical treatment of the various topics as time went on, and partly by holding such classes at 9 a.m., thereby most successfully eliminating the casual amateur.’

MT 1910        Elements of Social Anthropology (22)

            Primitive Institutions (10)

                        Primitive Religions (14)

HT 1911         The Psychology of Magic (16)

                        Early Forms of the Family (12)

                        Primitive Religions continued (14)

E&TT 1911    Leading Aspects of Primitive Society (30)

                        Early Legal Systems (15)

                        Primitive Religion in relation to Ethics (14)

MT 1911        Social Anthropology: Terminology and First Principles (25)

                        Geographical Distribution of Culture (16)

                        Religion: Rudimentary Forms (18)

HT 1912         The Psychology of Primitive Belief (24)

                        Classical Origins in the light of Anthropology (15)

                        Early History of the Family (14)

E&TT 1912    Leading Aspects of Primitive Society (27)

                        Early Legal Institutions (18)

                        Primitive Religion in relation to Ethics (20)

MT 1912        Rudimentary forms of Social Organization (18)

                        Ancient and Modern Races of Man (12)

                        Magic and Religion (13)

HT 1913         Leading Ideas in Primitive Religion (18)

                        Totemism and Exogamy (14)

                        Classical Origins in the light of Anthropology (16)

E&TT 1913    Primitive Morals (to follow)

                        Early Forms of Law (to follow)

                        Higher Aspects of Primitive Religion (to follow)

UC/FF/100/7, 1883-1886

UC/FF/100/8/2, 1891-1895

UC/FF/100/9, 1896-1909

UC/FF/100/10, 1910-1913

Wpbeta/2/17 Deed of gift and declaration of trust of Pitt Rivers collection, 20 May 1884

Catalogue of Papers of the Oxford University Museum:

delegates minutes books 1853-1905

rough minute books of delegates meetings 1874-1924

Museum committee minute books 1892-1912

acta and agenda 1882-1954

gazette clippings relating to Museum and Science Departments 1870-1912

Accounts and financial papers, inc fund ledgers, cash accounts, petty cash books, wages books, vouchers, bank books and statements, fee books


secretary’s office re. administration 1874-1905

correspondence with University Chest 1902-1913

general correspondence 1875-1932

Subject files

employees and employment c1890-1954

grants and estimates c1902-14, 1925-1953

facilities for study; use and development

Donations and collections

UM/F/6/1 list of donations 1883-1887

UM/F/6/3 clauses and conditions relating to bequests 1875-1902

UM/F/6/5 specimens transferred and destroyed, 1892-1903

carving fund

correspondence about carving work, building contractors etc

Maintenance and Services

keys, telephones, electricity, heating etc

Fire Protection insurance, precautions, appliances

Duty Free Spirit correspondence 1903-1950

Miscellaneous files

UM/F/11/5 notes about early professors and the history of the Museum, 20th Century typescript

Plans, Drawings and Maps (lots of these!) inc UM/P/2 heating arrangements for PRM, 1911, notes to 1924

Miscellaneous certificates and maps

Miscellaneous items

duty free stock book, fire guard’s log, UM/Misc/3/4 and 5, visitors to the Ashmolean Museum 1834-1842

Not Viewed:

UC/FF/60/4 ‘Pitt Rivers Museum May 1928-Dec 1948’ (letters to University Chest, decrees, building works, finances)

UC/FF/60/5 ‘Pitt Rivers Museum Jan 1949-1964’ (letters to University Chest, decrees, building works, finances)

UR6/PRM/1 file 1, ‘Pitt Rivers Museum, 1 March 1927 – 2 Nov 1949’ (University Chest correspondence, building works, stipends and salaries, appointments)

UR6/PRM/1 file 2, ‘Pitt Rivers Musem, March 1951 – July 1961 (University Chest correspondence, building works, stipends and salaries, appointments, gazette annual reports)

UC/FF/100/2 ‘Common University Fund. Transfer Jan 1948 – Nov 1952’ (CUF decrees, finances, vacancies)

UC/FF/100/3 Common University Fund ‘From January 1953 to February 1957’

UC/FF/100/4 ‘Common University Fund loans to colleges Mar 1957 – Dec 1959’

UC/FF/100/5 Common University Fund 1960-1963

Committee for Anthropology, est. 1904

DC/1/1/1 Committee meeting minutes book 1905-c1914

DC1/2/1 correspondence and other papers of the committee 1894-1904

see photocopies


‘My dear Tylor

‘Enclosed is a revised draft of the [handwritten] memorandum on Anthropological Needs, which I hope you will find to incorporate the amendments which we discussed today.

‘I have no typewriter, but if you approve of the form of the draft, and do not mind signing this manuscript, and sending it in to the Vice Chancellor, it would save a certain delay; and it is already rather late for it to go in.

‘I have to be in town tomorrow and probably Tuesday, but so far as I know I should be back on Wednesday, in case there is anything further to discuss; but I hope you will find the draft all right now.

‘Yours very sincerely,

‘John. L. Myres’

Museum House, Oxford (unsigned, printed letter) February 7, 1905

You will probably have received a request from the Registrar for reply to three questions for information of the Committee of the Council, which is considering the memorandum on Anthropology at Oxford

draft letter, from Myers?

‘I am desired by the Committee of the Council which has under consideration the ‘Memorandum on the Position of Anthropology in the University’ of which you were one of the signatories last Term, to invite you to and the Committee by an expression of your opinion on the three questions which follow:-

  • What should be the limits of the course of study for the suggested Diploma in Anthropology; and what subjects should be included therein?
  • What provision exists already, in any department with which you are yourself connected, for instruction in such subjects; and what provision could be made for such instruction, as required, in consideration of sums paid by ? on behalf of candidates, and without increasing the grants which the University makes at present in aid of Anthropological studies?
  • What classes of student do you regard as admissible to the suggested course of Anthropological study? In existing diploma courses provision appears to be made for three distinct classes of students
  • a)members of the University who have completed a B.A. course
  • b)members of the University who have not completed a B.A. course
  • c)other persons, not being members of the University.

An early reply is requested.

copy of supplement to The Cambridge Review, Thursday, November 24, 1904, Vol. XXVI, No. 643, ‘The Practical Value of Anthropology’ by Sir Richard Temple, Bt., C.I.E., delivered on November 17th, to welcome the est. of a Board of Anthropological Studies at Cambridge University.

21 November 1904, R. Gardner to Myres

‘Tylor has spoken to me about the diploma. My reply (which I am quite ready to amend if I am wrong) was that already a man can take the B.Sc. degree on a year’s advanced work. Therefore the diploma only seems needed 1) to encourage elementary or practical work or 2) for persons not members of the University.

‘If any qualified man applied for the B.Sc. degree, and said that he wished to pursue advanced study in anthropology for twelve months, under the direction of the Professor (or Balfour) the Board could not refuse to admit him as a candidate. At the end of the time he would be examined.’

Handwritten draft memorandum on position of Anthropology

reading list and note on Museums and Collections (see photocopy) sent out by Myres toP.Vinogradoff, Herbert Blunt, Henry Balfour, Marett, Edward Hedwood, and others unsigned

Letters, December 1905, from College librarians to Myres detailing their anthropological holdings, at Myres request to put them on a list given to anthropological students. When the answer is no, it is both due to problems of access and not having the books listed

Mansfield (no), University (probably yes), Worcester, New (yes), Trinity (probably not), Merton (none of books), Corpus Christi (none of books), All Souls Codrington Library (yes), Wadham (none of books), Magdalen (not at moment, but could consult library committee at college), Queen’s (probably yes), Pembroke (yes), Manchester (will consult the principal), Hertford (no), Balliol (probably not), Lincoln (yes), Oriel (yes), Brasenose (no special anth section but happy to help)

Letters informing Myres whether anthropology students would be welcome, could usefully attend various related lecture courses being given.

Lewis R. Farnell, Exeter College: next term’s lectures on history of later Greek sculpture, so not very useful, but happy to assist anth students informally.

A.M. Bell: offers his ‘hearty assistances’, will give eight lectures on the Neolithic Age next term

Thomas Case [or Care], Corpus Christi: fears he can do nothing to help with regard to anth

T.H. Bullock: does not know anyone who could give anth instruction on Eastern Asia

W.J. Sollas: happy to do all in his power, lectures might be useful for general knowledge, but could manage a short course on ‘the latest episodes in the Earth’s history with a special view to anthropological requirements.’

            W. McDougall: ‘Next term I shall continue my lectures on Social Psychology taking up especailly the Psychology of Peoples enquiring into the nature of the ‘collective mind’ in general and its evolution , and into the nature and origin of the differences of mental elariachtery [??] of natives [or nations]. As this is a very large and difficult topic I don’t think I shall have time to get up any other new course of lectures. The lectures I mention may however be of interest to some students of anthropology, for altho’ perhaps they do not bear immediately on the topics of the syllabus proposed, it seems not unreasonable to maintain that the form of the mind of a race is as important as the shape of its skull, and I hope to be able to clear the ground a little at the base of the study of racial psychology.’

            Henry Balfour: in reply to Myres enquiry about the loss of Atkinson’s colour chart after an exhibition in the Committee room. Willing to give ‘informal instruction in the PRM on ‘Technology’ combined if necessary with a certain amount of Prehistorics.’ twice a week, two hour sessions. ‘I do not think that formal lectures need be considered until there is a definite class formed.’ If we start next term, exam should be held at end of October. [Myres replies that exam times are completely up to the Committee, but don’t know of any exams other than once a year at the end of the academic year, which may be reason for putting anth exam at end of the calendar year. If we examine twice a year, end of Trinity and Michaelmas Terms would suit academic routine best.]

            Hubertson [?], School of Geography: willing to cooperate, but fear lecture courses for next term not suitable. They are Mountains and Coast; Topography of Europe; C & W Europe (regional); special surveying course; Climatic regions

            Arthur Evans, Ashmolean Museum: ‘I shall be delighted to give informal instruction - …. q. any practical scheme. I am not yet satisfied that the present scheme is really elementary enough for anyone who has only a year to give. I think some modification will be necessary.’

            R [or P] Gardner: anxious to do what I can, as long as have time to spare. a little work on Greek coins or sculpture would come into my sphere. ‘Comparative religion is scarcely my business, though of course I am interested in it.’

Francis Gotch [Gulch?]: Lectures in physiology consisting initially of practical work on the minute structure of the special sense organs, and a course of lectures on Sensation. General course of lectures on sensation given in Summer term. ‘The structure of the special sense organs would necessarily involve that of the skin and pigmentation of both skin and iris would therefore come in.’

W.F.R. Weldon, Dept of Comparative Anatomy: prepared to give instruction in elementary craniometry and other methods of measurement to any students interested. ‘I am always ready with instruction in the means of reducing and dealing with statistical data. The collection of skulls in my charge (Rolleston, Greenwich and others) is of course open to students.’

            Griffith?: happy to help any serious students

            Professor of Human Anatomy prepared to give informal instruction in the Essentials of Physical Anth

            P. Vinagradoff: happy to give informal instruction. Next term, hope to treat comparatively the early legal institutions of the Indo-European nations which might be of help to students interested in legal problems of anth

            Herbert Bhut (Economics?): although an amateur in the subject would instruct anyone specially interested in the question of method of cultural anthropology (psychology of unsophisticated evidence, statistical manipulation of incomplete data etc)

            G.F. Carritt: gives lectures on philosophy of art and Philosophical basis of poetic criticism in 17th and 18th centuries – neither would be very useful to anth students, but glad to help in any way

Handwritten list of lectures:

Professor of Anthropology lectures on Primitive Man and takes students informally

Curator of PRM gives informal instruction on Technology, inc prehistoric arts and industries

Keeper of Ashmolean Museum will give informal instruction

Wilde Reader in Psychology lectures on Social Psychology and receives students informally

R. R. Marett lectures on The Moral Aspect of the Social Institutions of Savages and takes students informally

L. R. Farnell will receive students informally and take questions of Primitive Religious Ideas

W. A. M. Bell lectures on the Neolithic Age and will take questions on early traces of man in Europe

W. J. G. Myres lectures on Prehistoric Greece, will take students informally and questions on early man in the Mediterranean Basin

The Lincoln and Merton Prof. of Classical Art and Archaeology will receive students informally and take questions of the History of Art and special study of Greek Art

The Professor of Geology is prepared to give short course on the Latest Episodes in the Earth’s History if required

The Professor of Philology will receive students informally for questions of Philology

The Reader in Geography will receive students informally for questions of Geographical distinction and the influence of Geographical conditions on Human types and societies

MacDonell Ind. Relig. V. Custom

Committee for Anthropology

First Meeting: Oct 27th 1905


  1. A.To appoint a Secretary
  2. B.To draft regulations for the Diploma in Anthropology
  3. C.To make provision for additional teaching in Anthropology


includes drafts for the anthropology diploma syllabus, rough copy of committee meeting agenda, Henry Balfour’s suggested syllabus (see photocopies), Thomson’s letter re Tylor’s syllabus (see photocopy)

Letter from Balfour to Registar (see photocopy), answering 3 questions posed above, dated 23 Feb 1905

‘The Museum is more especially adapted to the teaching of comparative Technology – the origin, developmental history and geographical distribution of the Arts of Mankind, both utilitarian and aesthetic. It may also serve to illustrate the classification of peoples by culture; and to elucidate such questions as the monogenesis or polygenesis of particular arts and customs. There is further an extensive collection of Prehistoric objects, particularly of the Stone and Bronze Ages, arranged specially to illustrate the sequence of Prehistoric periods, and sequence in the development of particular types of implements, their geographical distribution, manufacture etc. The Prehistoric objects as associated, as far as possible, with specimens illustrating survivals of similar primitive types among modern Savage and Barbaric races or peoples, and Ethnology is thus brought into close relationship with Archaeology, each serving to elucidate the other.’

shall be in a position to give instruction ‘as soon as I have an efficient assistant’

all work would have to take place in the public galleries, as there are no other rooms

financial reservations – hard to see how diploma can be self-supporting without help from University


see photocopied papers

N.B. 1913 edition of ‘Diploma in Anthropology’, although title changes to ‘School of Anthropology’ is almost completely identical to the first, 1905, edition (see photocopy)

committee agendas, minutes, annual reports (sporadic), termly lecture lists etc.

(selected notes: see photocopies for full story)

Paper 8 ‘Objections to Mr. Myres’ proposed Amendments to Draft Regulations (paper 6) [Prof. Thomson, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Marett]

objections voiced over Myres’ proposal that candidates should study a special region or subject area. Argument that this would over burden the curriculum and make examination more difficult. Interesting quote here though: ‘But, if the scheme be overburdened at the outset, the Diploma course may well remain as much of a ‘dead letter’ as the course in Anthropology prescribed as a special subject in the Final School of Natural Science.’

Also, in papers 7 and 8, interesting debate about the use of the term ‘ethnological’, which Myres thinks is ambiguous and should be scraped, but Thomson, Balfour and Marett defend. Although not present, it is noted that Tylor joins T, B and M in their defence of the draft regulations

Paper 10, page 3 reports coming series of lectures to be given by Dr. Seligmann during Hilary Term, on recent ethnological investigations in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Paper 76 notes that the lectures were on ‘The Ethnology of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan’, held in the School of Geography

Paper 76, annual report for 1911, including acceptance of loan of portion of Tylor’s library, on condition it is kept as far as possible in one room and used for anthropological study. Now housed at Acland House, 40 Broad Street, and may be consulted by application to librarian of School of Geography, slip catalogue of all but minor volumes and pamphlets, runs to 1000 entries

Paper 108, annual report for 1914, outlines plans for a set of rooms to be alloted to Social Anthropology at a reasonable rent in Barnett House (institution set up as organizing centre for Social Studies at the University). Donations from Tylor and Rev. Dr. Boyd have helped, but still resources of committee hardly adequate for maintenance of new establishment. This development emerged from vast increase in numbers of students registered during 1913 (before the war set numbers down). Worshipful Company of Drapers of the City of London have now promised an annual grant of £200 for three years to help upkeep. Rooms at Barnett House include a library, laboratory and club-room

[Transcriptions by Frances Larson and Alison Petch during ESRC funded Relational Museum project]



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