Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hutton, William (1798-1860)

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HUTTON, WILLIAM (1798–1860), geologist, born in 1798, near Sunderland, settled in Newcastle-on-Tyne at an early age, and acted as agent of the Norwich Fire Insurance Company. He soon acquired a reputation as a practical geologist, an authority upon the coal measures, and an ardent collector of coal-fossils. 'The fossils of our coal-fields first found an exponent in him.' His intimacy with John Buddle [q. v.] gave him great advantages in his researches. He was an honorary secretary of the Newcastle Natural History Society from its foundation in 1829 till he left Newcastle in 1846, and many papers written by him were published in the society's 'Transactions' (1831-8). He took a leading part in the establishment of mechanics' institutes in the north of England. He was a fellow of the London Geological Society, and contributed papers to its 'Transactions.' He also prepared with John Lindley [q. v.] 'The Fossil Flora of Great Britain,' London, 1831-7 (3 vols.) On leaving Newcastle in 1846, Hutton settled at Malta, but returned to Newcastle in 1857, and afterwards removed to West Hartlepool, where he died 20 Nov. 1860. His portrait, by Carrick, is in the possession of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers at Newcastle-on-Tyne. After his death Professor G. A. Lebour edited from his papers and from those of Dr. Lindley 'Illustrations of Fossil Plants,' London, 1877; this was published for the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, and contained a reproduction of Carrick's portrait of Hutton. Hutton's valuable collections of fossils, which passed to the council of the Mining Institute, is now partly in the Museum of the Natural History Society at Newcastle, and partly in the Museum of the Durham College of Physical Science in the same town.

[Gent. Mag. 1861 i. 111; Stockton and Hartlepool Mercury, 24 Nov. 1860; Ormerod's Cat. Geol. Soc. Proc.; Mr. R. Howse's Cat. of … Hutton Collection … in Nat. Hist. Soc. Museum in Soc. Trans. x. 191; Tyneside Nat. Field Club, v. 21; information kindly sent by Mr. Richard Howse.]

W. A. J. A.