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In Focus

The following people represents a selection of topical, unusual or interesting records from our collection. These records have been selected by our team of curators.

Name:  Myers, William Joseph
Nationality:  British
Occupation:  Military Officer, Traveller, Collector

Trained at Sandhurst and then commissioned into the King's Royal Rifle Corps where he served for 16 years until 1894. Posted to Cairo in 1882 at the age of 24. Began collecting in 1884.

Myers bequeathed his collection to Eton , which he attended between 1871 and 1875. He returned to Eton, four years after retiring from the Army, as Adjutant to the Volunteers, a force made up of boys from the school. In 1898 he went back to the army and to South Africa where he was killed soon after.   [More Detail]

Name:  Holcroft, Charles
Nationality:  British
Occupation:  Iron & Coal Master

Charles Holcroft was born at Bilston, Staffs on 16 July 1831, the younger son of Thomas Holcroft of Brierley Hill, and was well known for over fifty years as a sucessful iron and coal master. He began his career in 1848 at Horseley Engineering Works, Tipton, as a junior in the drawing office. In 1856, and for some years afterwards, he was associated with his brother James and others in the firm of Messrs Hall, Holcroft and Pearson, whose business included laying down of plant and sinking of the first pits of the Conduit Colliery Company at Cannock Chase. This no doubt presented Charles with the opportunity to develop his leisure interest in geology. His brother James also shared the same interest and made a collection of some 500 specimens which included Coal Measure plant fossils. From 1876-1897, Charles Holcroft assembled a major collection of fossils, predominantly from the West Midlands area. The majority of the specimens are of Silurian and Carboniferous age and represent a wide variety of animal and plant groups. Shortly after Charles finished active collecting he began to disperse the collection, making generous donations to Mason College, Sydney Museum, West Bromwich Museum and to various individuals. The scientific and historical value of the Holcroft Collection is enhanced by the existence of Sir Charles Holcroft's manuscript catalogue of his collection. The columns list the catalogue number of each specimen, the name he applied to the fossil, its stratigraphic and geographical location, the person from whom he purchased the specimen, the year of purchase and the price. After Sir Charles Holcroft's death the collection was donated to Mason College by his nephew Sir George Holcroft in 1917. Sir Charles had been a major benefactor of the College.   [More Detail]

Name:  Nettlefold, Margaret
Nationality:  British
Occupation:  Designer

Eldest of 9 children; daughter of Arthur Chamberlain and Louisa Chamberlain (nee Kenrick).
Margaret was born in 1871and was amongst the first pupils to attend Edgbaston High School for Girls. After leaving high school, Margaret became a student at the Birmingham School of Art.
Margaret married John Sutton Nettlefold in 1891 at the Church of the Messiah, Old Street, Birmingham. Margaret designed the garden at Winterbourne house after its completion in 1904. Mother of Evelyn, Annie (Nina), John Kenrick, Beatrice, Lois and Valerie Nettlefold. Also mother of Lousia and Robert Nettlefold who died in childhood.   [More Detail]

Name:  Claudius
Nationality:  Roman
Occupation:  Emperor

Claudius was the fourth Roman Emperor after his great-uncle Augustus, uncle Tiberius and nephew Caligula. His reign saw the conquest of Britannia and further centralisation of power. Popularly, he was most noted for his limp, stammer and unfortunate choice of wives. His coins emphasised his family ties. Claudian coins were issued in the names of his mother Antonia, father Drusus, deified grandmother Livia, brother Germanicus, sister-in-law Agrippina major, nephew and adoptive son Nero, and wives Messalina and Agrippina. minor.   [More Detail]