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Sir William Boyd Dawkins

Sir William Boyd Dawkins (1837 to 1929)

Sir William Boyd Dawkins

Basic biographies of Sir William Boyd Dawkins can be found on Wikipedia and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. These do not, however, cover in any depth his links with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Sir William had a soft spot for the Peak District which represented many of his interests in its geology and archaeology and in particular its bone caves. Having been a regular visitor to Derbyshire and the Buxton area, in 1928, when nearing the end of a highly productive life, Sir William opened the new Buxton Museum and Public Library. Not long after, in 1929, when he died, his widow Lady Mary Boyd Dawkins, donated his library of over 400 rare and important volumes to the museum.

These books, together with other items such as pictures, ornaments and furniture are now housed in the Boyd Dawkins Study which was opened in 1929 by Sir Arthur Keith. In addition, the study also houses material bequeathed by Miss Alicia Jackson, following the death of her father J Wilfrid Jackson, who was a pupil and colleague of Sir William. 

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery holds a large archive of material relating to Sir William including letters, newspaper cuttings, notebooks, and other ‘ephemera’. This material is catalogued to a basic level but it is the aim of the museum to produce a more detailed archive catalogue when resources permit.

The brief listing of this material along with the library catalogue is attached to this page. If you would like to consult the archives or library, please make an appointment with Ros Westwood, Derbyshire museums manager, email: