Since a child I had always been interested in natural history and had hoped that on leaving school at age fifteen, I would find employment in a museum as a preparator/model maker etc. However, I ended up as a parcel packer for a year [1962-1963] in a wholesale warehouse! Followed by a five-year [1963-1968] trade apprenticeship (which my father arranged) in telecommunications with GEC, during which time I did voluntary weekend work at Derby, Nottingham (Wollaton Hall) and Leicester (new walk) museums in the hope that one day my dream employment would come true.
So, that is how I became friends of Sue Herriott (Derby) who had an interest in historical taxidermy and wrote a small directory about it, Don Sharp at Wollaton Hall and Dick Hendry at Leicester who worked there with the famous Ted Williams and latterly Tom Richmond who hailed from Rowland Ward.
I did complete my apprenticeship and qualified, but then left and took-up a job as Palaeontological Preparator at the Department of Geology Nottingham University [1968-1972] which I greatly enjoyed as it was an old well-established department with vast collections but just moved into brand new premises with superb facilities and wanting for exhibitions and new student teaching collections. So, I had a free hand to develop many techniques and in particular model making with new materials.
Whilst working in geology and still doing my weekend museum work, I got married and my wife, Evelyn, who worked in the Department of Community Medicine in the newly established Nottingham University Medical School. She came home one evening and said that there was a new job going at the school in the Department of Human Morphology (anatomical preparator) which was paying good money and looked very interesting. I applied for the job and got it [1972-1977] on account of my skills in both geology and more importantly natural history.
The department, Human Morphology, was small and we took our first intake of only 48 students the year I started work. I learnt to preserve bodies and developed my own fluids, had a superb well-equipped workshop and produced new perspex cased displays of my own dissection work. The department had lots of money and I was sent on trips to all the top UK medical schools for work experience where I took careful note of all the good things they offered and binned all the bad things that I witnessed! Thus, I was able to go my own way and with much thought, develop lots of novel techniques and go on to produce quality museum display material.
During this time, I joined the Museums Association and took award courses with them.
A few years later, I was contacted by Professor R.M.H. (Bob) McMinn who was incumbent professor of the Department of Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons, of England, London who, to put it short, offered me a job there as Prosector which was a very well-paid academic post [1977-1978]. So, Evelyn and I took the bold plunge and moved to London and bought a flat then a house in south Wimbledon.
The College was amazing and I had every opportunity to develop my skills even further, travel and work abroad; and also began in 1978 to co-author books on human anatomy, which I still do today 42 years on! I say a turning point because it was when I started doing books that I had to make the bold decision to totally focus on my professional career and step back from all the other things that I was contributing to and the Guild of Taxidermists was one of them, hence my rather abrupt stepping down and departure.
Looking back, I can honestly say that it was a good decision because I could not continue to dilute my work time and continue to produce material of the highest quality that my professional position demanded. My career did take off!
In 1987 when my son Robert was just over one year of age, we made our last move to Cambridge where I took-up the Academic post of University Prosector to the Department of Anatomy, a position I held for some considerable time [1987-2005].
I took early retirement from this post in 2005 in order to concentrate on looking after my son, five years after my wife’s untimely death from an incurable brain tumour. I did however maintain my connections with Human Anatomy by continuing with producing books on the subject and giving the odd lecture/presentation at scientific meetings in UK and abroad, which I continue to do.
Some 11 years ago, I made contact with a friend in Switzerland, where I used to work from time-to-time, who was in similar circumstances to me and our friendship grew. So, I now spend about 7 months of the year living with her in a small village north-east of Switzerland, Kanton of Thurgau, very close to the German Medieval City of Konstanz on the Bodensee and the rest of the time in Histon, Cambridge staying with my son who lives in the newly renovated family home.
In Switzerland, we spend much of our time walking in the Alps, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany which are all relatively close being just a few hours drive away (Italy 4). The Black Forest via Konstanz, we can make in about 1½ hours. So, I am still enjoying the outdoors (mountains, forests and lakes) and the vast variety of natural history those unspoilt environments have to offer.
I did enjoy my time with the Guild, particularly in the initial early years, mid 70’s, when the first working parties and committees were so focused, eager and keen to make all their aspirations work, and through great effort, it has to be said, that it all paid off in the end, and thanks’ to that small band of dedicated people the Guild ‘blossomed’ to what it is today.
Founder Member: 1976
Committee Member: 1977 to 1982
Chairman Elect: 1979
Immediate Past Chairman: 1981
Working Party Member on 'Health & Safety': 1977
Working Party Member on 'Wildlife & Countryside Acts' with Department of the Environment: 1978
Bari Logan, 2020