Geology and physical sciences staff
William Brown Street
Alan John Bowden
I worked for World Museum as the Head of Earth and Physical Sciences until my retirement and continue here in an advisory capacity. My research interests are varied and range across the collection areas I am responsible for. I have specialist interests in 17th-18th century cosmogenies and other aspects of the history of science. These include the work of John MacCulloch and his geological mapping of Scotland, the history of geological collections and institutions, the history of palaeobotany, meteoritics, micropalaeontology and Palaeolithic studies.
Current research interests are focussed upon the palaeoenvironmental interpretation of the local Anisian rocks with an emphasis upon understanding the role and diversity of vegetative cover during this period of geological time.
Curator, Earth and Physical Sciences
Previous research includes the Ravenhead collection of Upper Carboniferous (Langsettian/Pennsylvanian) plant fossils collected by Henry Hugh Higgins (1814 - 1893) from the St Helens area of Merseyside.
My current research is on the local Triassic rocks to establish vegetation and environment of the Liverpool area during the Anisian (Middle Triassic) to allow an accurate depiction of landscape and developing ecosystems.
I am also researching the history of mineral specimens from the Derby Collection acquired in 1893 and developing and writing up a new system of storage for physical science objects in museum collections.
I am engaged in historical research on the Triassic vertebrate footprints (ichnofossils) found in North West England. This has been centred on the period from the initial finds of 1838 up to the final closure of the local quarries in the 1940s. Current research is concerned with the footprints mistakenly attributed to Rhynchosaurus articeps in both the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
An additional field of research has concerned the history of former local scientific societies. This currently includes a paper on the Liverpool Geological Association (1880-1910) written to commemorate the centenary of the Association's amalgamation into the still-extant Liverpool Geological Society.
The aim of my research is to obtain a better understanding of the horological trade in Lancashire, covering the period 1700-1900. This area supplied the developed world with clocks, watches and the specialised files and tools required by workers in the trade. A database has been compiled of around 22,500 people who worked in the trade, mostly in South West Lancashire.