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Curry served

Three generations of Curry

Geoscientist 20.12 December 2010.January 2011

Three generations of the Curry family were present in Chichester on Saturday, 2 September 2010, to witness the launch of the book Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: A Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912-2002) and to receive signed copies writes John Whittaker. The event was held at the West Sussex Record Office, through the kind cooperation of Tim and Alison McCann.

Dennis Curry was one of the UK's most noted amateur geologists - “the professional amateur”, as he has been called. A genuine and modest polymath, not only was he a most successful businessman (as managing director and chairman of Currys Ltd.) but also a gifted scientist who published over 120 papers in his lifetime and became honorary Professor of Marine Geology at University College London. He was also a generous philanthropist.

Edited by John Whittaker (Natural History Museum, London) and Malcolm Hart (University of Plymouth), the book's 300 pages contain 12 chapters, each covering a topic, theme, area, or stratigraphical interval in which Dennis Curry had an interest and undertook seminal research in his lifetime. These include papers from friends and former colleagues in Britain and France on wide-ranging aspects, especially of micropalaeontology, as well as Hampshire Basin stratigraphy and palaeoecology, English Channel sedimentology, and strontium-isotope stratigraphy. The book also contains a review of the valuable collections (especially of molluscs and foraminifera) that he presented to the Natural History Museum, authored by the Curry curators themselves (who had been funded through Dennis Curry's Charitable Trust). It is pleasing to report that a good proportion of these authors came from across the UK on Saturday to celebrate Dennis's life and work. The editors paid tribute to the late Jake Hancock for his initial editorial work, highlighting potential contributions and “persuading” authors to write them.

Somehow or other, in spite of the book's long gestation, its publication came as a complete surprise to the family (picture) - especially to Dennis's daughters, Margaret Curry Jones and Patricia Edmond, who had helped the editors in so many ways without knowing the real purpose of our endeavour! Patricia Edmond's grandson Oliver (aged five-and-a-half), I think, summed up the family's reaction when heard to remark ...”So, Great-Grandpa was famous!” Indeed he was, and is much missed.

The Micropalaeontological Society is pleased to mark the remarkable life and work of Dennis Curry with this volume, which is published in their Special Publication Series by The Geological Society Publishing House. This is also most fitting, since in his lifetime, Dennis gave a very large donation (in the form of Currys shares) from which the Geological Society of London (GSL) later set up the Publishing House. Other geological societies, most notably the Geologists' Association, were also close to his heart and benefited financially.