G.S. Obituary

H. Dewey

Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 1934

[i] William James Lewis Abbott, who was born in 1853, was by calling a jeweller. Early in his career he took up the study of gemstones, on which subject he afterwards lectured at the Polytechnic. But he had wider interests and devoted [ii] much of his time to geological and archaeological field-work, especially in the south-east of England. His love of these open-air pursuits drew him away from his business, but he considered that the sacrifice was well worth while. If, however, his business suffered, geology and archaeology gained. His principal achievement was, perhaps, the investigation of the Shode fissures with their rich vertebrate fauna, the results of which were published in the Quarterly Journal for 1894. Previous to this investigation, the total number of vertebrates known from the Pleistocene caves and fissures yielded over one hundred species. Abbott was one of the pioneers in the study of early Neolithic (Tardenoisian) culture, and his work on the kitchen-middens of Hastings ranks among the best that he accomplished. The fauna and flora yielded by the deposits under the new Admiralty Buildings in Whitehall were scrutinized by him, and he was able to demonstrate their semi-arctic nature. In his later years he devoted much time to the study of the formation and modification of flint and its natural and artificial fracture–a study that interested him to the last, and about which he formed many theories.

He was instinctively a collector and his various collections have been housed in different museums, including the Geological Survey, the Natural History and the Wellcome Historical Museums.

He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1888 and was awarded the Lyell Fund in 1897.


Back to the

Back to the

Back to