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Foggitt, William (1835 - 1917)


Biographical notes

William Foggitt of Thirsk, is one of the best known members of a family of Yorkshire Naturalists. From his early youth he was a close friend of John Gilbert Baker and an enthusiatic and knowledgable field botanist. Together with Baker he is considered to be among the founding members of the Thirsk Natural History Society in about 1852. The Thirsk Natural History Society was destined to become the successor to the Botanical Exchange Club, evolving eventually into the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. (Allen, D. A. 1986 The botanists, London.)

His father, Thomas Jackson Foggitt (1810 - 1885), was a Drugist of Yarm and also a known botanist, having made a contribution to various "floras" (Desmond 1977). William married Elizabeth Thompson Blackett in 1857 and raised a large family, several of his sons following the profession of Druggist and Chemist. His eldest son, also a Thomas Jackson Foggitt, was an active botanist who, in the final years of his life, along with his new wife Gertrude Bacon, acted as treasurer of the Botanical Exchange Club. Of his other sons, Gilbert Baker Foggitt (1867 - 1943) emigrated to Australia in 1886 and John Blackett Foggitt (1861 - 1942) has specimens in various herbaria.

Likeness (left) from his Obituary notice in the Naturalist 1917.
1835 February 2 : Birth William, son of Thomas Jackson Foggitt and his wife Elizabeth née Dale baptised at Thirsk 1835 February 17.
Date of birth from Desmond 1977.
1857 February 3 : Marriage 1 1Leeds Times - 1857 February 7
MARRIAGES. - MISCELLANEOUS. On Tuesday, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Thirsk, by the Rev. W. Lindley, Mr. William Foggitt, chemist and druggist, to Elizabeth, second daughter of Mr. John Blackett, currier, all of Thirsk.
1865 :
Botanical Exchange Club
Appointed curator of the Botanical Exchange Club; a post he held for one year.
1885 January : Appointed J.P. 1Newcastle Courant - 1885 January 23
DARLINGTON. APPOINTMENT OF NEW MAGISTRATES. - The Lord Chancellor has appointed the following new magistrates for the borough :- ... Mr William Foggitt ...
[Caution - his uncle Charled Foggitt was also a J.P., could this be his appointment?]
1903 March 1 : Death of wife 1Leeds Mercury - 1903 March 5
The funeral, which was one of the largest which has taken place in the town for some years, took place at Thirsk yesterday of Mrs. Wm. Foggitt, wife of Mr. Wm. Foggitt, J.P., who died on Sunday, at the age of 65.
1914 March 22 : Home fire 1Hull Daily Mail - 1914 March 23
Mr William Foggitt of South Villa, Thirsk, was roused [by] a crackling sound, and on going downstairs he found the dining-room on fire. He awakened the other inmates, and with the help of neighbours they succeeded in extinguishing the flames. The damage ammounted to between £100 and £150.
[This is remeniscent of Baker's disastrous fire of 1864.]
1917 May 10 : Death 1Newcastle Journal - 1917 May 11
The death occurred at Sooth Villa, Thirsk, yesterday, of Mr William Foggitt, F.L.S., at the age of 83 years. When a comparatively young man deceased succeeded his father as a family and dispensing chemist and druggist, and also carried on an extensive wholesale trade. He early contracted a love for natural history, and has made the study of botany and the collection plants and flowers a life-long recreation. In 1903 had the honour of being elected a Fellow of the Linnæan Society. In politics he was staunch Conservative, fearless in advocating his views, and in religion was a prominent member the Wesleyan Methodist Church, holding a number of offices in connection with that body. He was a widower, and leaves surviving him five sons and three daughters. Mr Foggitt was Justice of the Peace.

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton; last updated 2016 February 18


1835 Yarm, Yorkshire
1838 (About) Thirsk, Yorkshire
1861 Market Place, Thirsk, Yorkshire (census)
1911 South Villa, Thirsk, Yorkshire (census)



Additional links

Foggitt family tree. link
As would be expected of a member of an exchange club, his specimens are widely distributed in herbaria throughout the country. The link tabulates those documented by the "Herbaria at Home" project. link
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