Obituary: William Thurgood, 1876 - 1949

Extracted from Journal of Conchology, Volume 23, p.119.

William Thurgood, the son of Thomas Thurgood of Baldock and Mary Isobel (née Stead) of York, was born in Birkenhead on 9 May 1876 and died at Leeds on 4 December 1949. He had been ailing for some time and was in hospital for two months, where he died. He left Birkenhead when an infant and lived in York for many years, where he entered the service of the North Eastern Railway Company (later absorbed into the L.N.E.R. Company) at the age of 14 years. First at York, he was subsequently train master at Middlesbrough for several years and finally yard master, station master and goods agent at Blaydon-on-Tyne for some years. He retired from there in 1936 and came to live in Leeds.

For several years Thurgood was honorary district organizer for the East Pennine section of the British Thunderstorm Survey. He also took a great interest in male voice choirs and was for many years conductor of the York Male Voice Choir and the York Glee and Madrigal Society.

Thurgood had been keenly interested in land and freshwater Mollusca since the age of 12 years, and was for many years a member of the York Field Naturalists’ Club and later of the Wallis Club, Neweastle-on-Tyne; on coming to Leeds he joined the Leeds Naturalists’ Club, of which he was President in 1941 and the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union. He was elected a member of the Conchological Society in 1938; he was Recorder for the Yorkshire Branch and in 1948 became Hon. Librarian and Curator of the Society. His interests were general and he never specialized.

When sorting back numbers of the Journal in the Society’s library at Leeds, his attention was attracted by two articles on the Mollusca of Grange-over-Sands, one by Standen, 1898, and the other by Jackson & Moore, 1904. Mrs. Thurgood and he decided to visit this area in 1948, and the results of their collecting were recorded in the Journal (23, 1949, 48).

A further paper by Thurgood was published in the Journal (23, 1949, 73), on “The Mollusca of the Leeds Naturalists’ Club and Scientific Association’s Area,” embodying his presidential address to the Club. He died ten days before its publication.

Thurgood had much to do with the transference of the Conchological Society’s library and collections from the Manchester Museum to the Leeds Museum on my retirement, and spent considerable time on its arrangement in the new quarters. By his death the Society has suffered the loss of a devoted and conscientious officer, whose place it will not be easy to fill.

I am much indebted to Mrs. Thurgood for the biographical particulars incorporated in this obituary.