Door 13: The Rotunda Museum
This beautiful image of the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough, taken by Philip Hadland, was the third place winner in our 2015 photography competition, featuring sites from our list of 100 Great Geosites.
The Rotunda Museum is one of the oldest purpose-built museums still in use in the United Kingdom. The curved grade II listed building was constructed in 1829 as one of the country’s first purpose-built museums. Situated in the English coastal resort of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, it houses one of the foremost collections of Jurassic geology on the Yorkshire Coast.
Described as the finest surviving purpose-built museum of its age in the country, the design suggested by William Smith, ‘Father of English Geology’. Smith’s pioneering work established that geological strata could be identified and correlated using the fossils they contain. Smith came to Scarborough after his release from debtors’ prison. The dramatic Jurassic coastline of Yorkshire offered him an area of geological richness.
Full of fascinating objects, the Rotunda Museum is home to Gristhorpe Man, a unique Bronze Age skeleton. Found near Scarborough buried in a tree trunk, Gristhorpe Man is the best example of a tree burial in the UK.
There is also the Speeton Plesiosaur – a fantastic marine reptile from the lower Cretaceous period, found near Filey. Scarborough’s Lost Dinosaurs is an exploration of Jurassic Scarborough and its residents.
Text adapted from Wikipedia and the Rotunda Museum website
- The Rotunda © Scarborough Museums Trust
- Fossil Ammonites © Scarborough Museums Trust