Newcastle on Tyne
5th Nov. 1877
Dear Lady Armstrong.
I have got Mr. Atthey’s collection of Coal fossils into the museum all safe. I packed them myself and had a large spring cart to go out twice out for them. The Collection fills about 70 of our Cabinet [p.2] drawers and several large cases – It is a wonderfull collection. If it would be convenient I should like to call upon you at Jesmond this week to talk the Atthey’s matter over — Wednesday or Thursday would suit me.
I should like also to see what is going on at the new Conservatory.
Yours very truly | John Hancock [signature]
1877 Copy to Lady Armstrong
1. Thomas Atthey (1814-1880) the ‘Village Palaeontologist.’
The Atthey collection of coal measure fishes and amphibians is of significant importance to the study of palaeontology in the North East. Lady Armstrong purchased the collection from Atthey and donated it to the Natural History Society for their museum collections.
2. A spring or sprung cart was a lightweight two-wheeled open cart which could be pulled by a single horse. The springing of the wheels helped prevent jarring of the precious cargo in this case Atthey’s fossils.
3. Lord William and Lady Margaret Armstrong had their main residence, ‘Jesmond Dene House’ built in Jesmond Dene, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1835 when they married.