Kathleen Bever Blackburn (1892-1968) was a naturalist and academic botanist.
Kathleen gained her degrees from the University of London before coming to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1918 when she was appointed as lecturer in botany at the then Armstrong College, Durham University, located in Newcastle*. Blackburn was employed at Armstrong College and then King’s College throughout her career, retiring in 1957. She was known as a dedicated, thorough and very knowledgeable teacher. Her research specialised in plant cytology and genetics.
She gained an international reputation for her work on roses and particularly on species of Campion (e.g. Silene latifolia). Later, she became a prominent British palynologist (pollen analyst), making important contributions to an understanding of the history of vegetation especially following the last ice-age. Her wide knowledge of plants and pollen enabled her to assist archaeologists in their work, for example on Hadrian’s Wall.
Apart from her academic work, she was an active field botanist and member of a number of natural history societies: the Natural History Society of Northumbria, the Northern Naturalists’ Union, the University of Durham Philosophical Society and the Wallis Club (a field club for naturalists). She carried out field work in the Hebrides, as a member of the expeditions made there by her department in the 1930s.
* Armstrong College merged with Durham University College of Medicine in 1937 to form King’s College, Durham University, which itself then formed the basis of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne when the latter was established in 1963.
If you would like to learn more about Kathleen and her work, we recommend you read a recent paper by her biographer Alan Hart, published in the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s journal Northumbrian Naturalist.
HART, A L (2017) Kathleen Bever Blackburn: A Distinguished British Botanist. Northumbrian Naturalist 83: 49-61.
PUBLISHED WORKS BY K B BLACKBURN
BLACKBURN, K B (1917). On the vascular anatomy of the young epicotyl in some Ranalean forms. Annals of Botany 31: 151-180.
BLACKBURN, K B (1921). Ginkgo biloba. The Vasculum 2:28.
BLACKBURN, K B (1923). Sex chromosomes in plants. Nature 112: 687-688.
BLACKBURN, K B (1924). The cytological aspects of the determination of sex in the dioecious forms of Lychnis. British Journal of Experimental Botany 1: 413-430.
BLACKBURN, K B (1925). Chromosomes and classification in the genus Rosa. American Naturalist 59: 200-205.
BLACKBURN, K B (1926). A study on the sex of flowers in Campions and Catchflys. The Vasculum 4: 134.
BLACKBURN, K B (1927). Polyploidy within a species. Nature 120: 157-158.
BLACKBURN, K B (1927). Chromosome number in Silene and the neighbouring genera. Transactions of the International Congress on Heredity, Berlin, pp 439-446.
BLACKBURN, K B (1927),. Fertilization and sex. The Cambium 2: 1-3.
BLACKBURN, K B (1927-1932). The chromosome basis of sex determination. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society 7: 54-57.
BLACKBURN, K B (1927-1932). A new rose from Northumberland. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society 8: 101-103.
BLACKBURN, K B (1929) On the occurrence of sex chromosomes in flowering plants with some suggestions as to their origin. Proceedings of the. International CongRess of Plant Science 1: 299-306.
BLACKBURN, K B (1930) Polyploidy within the species. Proceedings of the Fifth International Botanical Congress 234-235.
BLACKBURN, K B (1931) Part II: Possible glacial survivals in our flora, pp 30-36 in RAISTRICK, A, and Blackburn, K B, The late glacial and post-glacial periods in the North Pennines. Transactions of the. Northern Naturalists’ Union 1: 30-36.
BLACKBURN, K B (1931). Hexham Natural History Society: Some old-fashioned plants. The Hexham Courant 21st February 1931.
BLACKBURN, K B (1931). Some notes on a magenta pool in Jesmond Dene. The Vasculum 17: 23-25.
BLACKBURN, K B (1931-1937). Notes on the chromosomes of the duckweeds (Lemnaceae) introducing the question of chromosome size. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society 9: 84-90.
BLACKBURN, K B (1932). The dust of flowers or pollen. The Vasculum 18: 131-135.
BLACKBURN, K B (1933). On the relation between geographic races and polyploidy in Silene ciliata pourr. I 15: 49-66.
BLACKBURN, K B (1934). Wasting disease of Zostera marina. Nature 134: 738.
BLACKBURN, K B 1935-1936 Botryococcus and the algal coals Part I A reinvestigation of the alga Botryococcus braunii Kutzing. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 58 No 29: 841-854
BLACKBURN, K B (1938). On the occurrence of hermaphrodite plant of Empetrum nigrum Journal of Botany, 76:306-307.
BLACKBURN, K B (1938-1950). Linton Mires, Wharfdale. Glacial and post-glacial history. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society 10: 32-37.
BLACKBURN, K B (1940). The botanist checks up on a local tradition. The Vasculum 26: 14-17.
BLACKBURN, K B (1944). Obituary (A. W. Bartlett). Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Session 155, 1942-1943.
BLACKBURN, K B (1946) On a peat from the island of Barra, Outer Hebrides. Data for the study of post-glacial history. X. New Phytologist , 45: 44-49.
BLACKBURN, K B (1947). Pollen analysis of Wellhaugh Flow, North Tyne 1944. Report to Forestry Commission.
Backburn, K B (1949). Chromosomes and classification in Rosa, pp 53-57 in British flowering plants and modern systematic methods: being the report of the Conference on the Study of Critical British Groups : arranged in April 1948, by the Botanical Society of the British Isles. London.
BLACKBURN, K B (1949) Forests and man. Nature 164: 687.
BLACKBURN, K B (1950). Some late glacial species from the Lower Tees area and their present distribution. The Botanical Society of the British Isles Conference, March 31 – 2 April.
BLACKBURN, K B (1951). A historical approach: some late glacial species from the Lower Tees Area and their present distribution, pp 96-102 inLOUSLEY, J E (editor) The Study of the Distribution of British Plants. Oxford.
BLACKBURN, K B (1952). The dating of a deposit containing an elk skeleton found at Neasham near Darlington, County Durham. New Phytologist 51: 365-381.
BLACKBURN, K B (1953). A long pollen diagram from Northumberland. Transactions of the Northern Naturalists’ Union 2: 40-43.
BLACKBURN, K B (1954) Review of New Zealand Pollen Studies. The Monocotyledons by Lucy M. Cranwell. New Phytologist 53: p. 544.
BLACKBURN, K B and BOULT, J J (1927-1932). The status of the genus Saponaria and its near allies considered in the light of their cytology. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society, 8: 260-266.
BLACKBURN, K B and HESLOP-HARRISON, J W (1921) The status of the British rose forms as determined by their cytological behaviour. Annals of Botany 35: 159-188.
BLACKBURN, K B and HESLOP-HARRISON, J W (1922). The meiotic phase in the Salicaceae. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. p. 398.
BLACKBURN, K B and HESLOP-HARRISON, J W (1924). A preliminary account of the chromosomes and chromosome behaviour in the Salicaceae. Annals of Botany 38: 361-378.
BLACKBURN, K B, and HESLOP-HARRISON, J W (1924). Genetical and cytological studies in hybrid roses I. The origin of a fertile hexaploid form in the Pimpinellifoliae-Villosae crosses. British Journal of Experimental Biology. 1: 557-570.
BLACKBURN, K B and LOBLEY, E M (1939). Some bryophytes of the small isles parish of Inverness-shire and of the island of Soay. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society, 10: 130-140.
BLACKBURN, K B and MORTON, J K (1957). The incidence of polyploidy in the Carophyllaceae of Britain and of Portugal. New Phytologist 56: 344-351.
BLACKBURN, K B and THOMAS, M (1923-1927). On the use of bleaching action of chlorine in the rapid detection of fatty oils and the investigation of some other substances and structures of green cells. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society, 7: 202-207.
HESLOP-HARRISON, J W and BLACKBURN, K B (1927). The course of pollen formation in certain roses, with some deductions therefrom. Memoirs of the Horticultural Society of New York 3: 23-32.
HESLOP-HARRISON, J W and BLACKBURN, K B (1931). A preliminary examination of the morphology of the somatic chromosomes in Rosa. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society, 8: 332-336.
HESLOP-HARRISON, J W and BLACKBURN, K B (1946). The occurrence of a nut of Trapa natans L. in the outer hebrides, with some account of the peat bogs adjoining the loch in which the discovery was made. New Phytologist 45: 124-131.
RAISTRICK, A and BLACKBURN, K B (1931). Pollen analysis of the peat on Heathery Burn moor, Northumberland. Proceedings of the University of Durham Philosophical Society 8: 351-358.
RAISTRICK, A and BLACKBURN, K B (1932). Part III: The post glacial peats, pp 79-103 in RAISTRICK, A, and BLACKBURN, K B, The late glacial and post-glacial periods in the North Pennines. Transactions of the Northern Naturalists’ Union 1: 79-103.
RAISTRICK, A and BLACKBURN, K B (1932). Analysis of some Lake District peats. NorthWestern Naturalist 7: 94-97.
TOMKEIEFF, S I and BLACKBURN, K B (1942). On the remains of fossil wood enclosed in a tertiary lava on the Isle of Rum, Inner Hebrides. Geological Magazine 79: 14-17.
WOLVERSON COPE, F and BLACKBURN, K B (1939). II. Oil occurrences in south-west Lancashire. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Great Britain No.2: 18-25.
The following two papers are by her father:
BLACKBURN, E P (1934). A survey of the land and fresh water mollusca of Northumberland and Durham. Transactions of the Northern Naturalists’ Union 1:139-186
BLACKBURN, E P (1941). Distribution of Crausilia cravenensis Taylor (Suttoni Westerlund) in Britain. Journal of Conchology 21: 289-300.
Theses held in the Robinson Library, Newcastle University which may have been supervised by BLACKBURN or where the author has been given advice by her. The theses are usually from the Botany Department at Armstrong or King’s College but a supervisor is not always named. (The theses were published by the University of Durham.)
LOWTHER, W M (1923). An account of the germination and development of Euphorbia helioscorpia and also of the anatomical features of the seed, seedling and mature plant.
IRVINE, F R (1927). A contribution to the flora and ecology of the Gold Coast, with special reference to the native names and uses of plants. Missing from library.
GREEVES, F M (1928). Comparative studies in the chromosomes of the Scilliae, with special reference to their morphology and numerical relationship.
JOHNSON, J (1929). A study of the cytology of some species belonging to the genera Saponaria and Vaccaria with a view to further elucidating their relationship to each other and to the neighbouring genera.
THOMPSON, I (1930). The chromosome numbers found in some species of the genus Scrophularia.
MILLER, E W (1931). The effects of certain rust fungi upon their host plants, with special reference to the host cell nucleus. Missing from library.
RICHARDSON, M M (1932). The phylogeny of the British members of the dactyl orchis. Studies in the light of their morphology, ecology, anatomy and cytology.
MCCULLAGH, D M (1933). A study of comparative chromosome morphology in Plantaginaceae.
REGNART, H C (1933). The cytology of a fertile interspecific Brassica hybrid.
FYFE, J W (1936). The cytology of Silene otites (sensu stricto).
SMITH, M E (1936). The classification of Papaveraceae with special reference to its cytology,
WILKINSON, J (1939). The cytology of the cricket bat willow. II. On the phylogeny of Salix.
BROOK, A (1948). Studies on the ecology of the algal flora of slow sand filter beds of water works, with special reference to the establishment of species in the beds.
HUSSEIN, F (1948). Chromosome races in Cardamine pratensis: their relation to geographical distribution and to the occurrence of double flowers.
MASSEY, Y (1949). Some British species of Rubus: their cytology, taxonomy and geographical distributions.
BRITTAN, N H (1950). The cytology, taxonomy and geographical distribution of some species of Agrimonia L. with special reference to the British spp
MORTON, J K (1953). A cytotaxonomic investigation of the British variants of Cerastium fortanum Baumgarten.
PEARSON, M C (1954). The ecology and history of some peat bogs in West Northumberland, with special reference to Muckle Moss.
ROBERTONS, D A (1955). The ecology of the sand dune vegetation of Ross Links, Northumberland with special reference to secondary succession in the blow outs.
RICHARDSON, J A( 1956). Studies in the ecology and physiology of plants growing in colliery spoil heaps, clay pits and quarries in the coal measure and magnesian limestone areas of County Durham.
MARSHALL, G E (1958). Studies in the quantitative morphology and ecology of Melandrium rubrum (Weig) Garke in the County of Durham.