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REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 1999/2000


Stone Museum of Geology
48 Milestone Road
Stone, DARTFORD
Kent DA2 6DN
ENGLAND


Foreward

1999/2000 has been a year for consolidating our position as the premier independent depository of information on the geological sciences in the South East.

This year has seen our acceptance by the Charities Commission as a charitable trust and we are now fully registered (No. 1075589). 1999 also saw us become a member of the Association of Independent Museums and a notable milestone was reached in that the total number of articles in the collection now exceeds 5,000.

The Museum is not at present open to the public due to lack of suitable premises in which to display the collection, but it's work continues by maintaining and supplementing the numerous specimens we hold and by publishing information on the geological sciences both in print and through our newly opened website www.stonemuseum.org.uk

I am pleased to report that we have also published the first in a series of general information booklets on geology A Dictionary of Basic Geological Terms and that a further two are at an advanced stage of production.

Our income was down 17.0% over 1998/99 but costs also reduced by 28.2%. Our fixed assets, together with assets held in trust, showed healthy growth of 7.2% and I am pleased to say that our admin costs have remained under strict control with 96% of income going directly into expanding the collection and improving facilities.

1999/2000 saw the appointment to the Board of Trustees of Ms Shirley Randall of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. As well as being a qualified accountancy consultant, Shirley is a keen geologist currently studying with the Open University, and has kindly provided a number of specimens to the collection over the past few years and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome her to the Board.

Brian R J Glover
Chairman


Department of Palaeontology


Two major field trips were made during the year in conjunction with the Open University Geological Society. The first to Lesnes Abbey Wood, in south east London.

The Lesnes Abbey site, itself only a ruin set in landscaped gardens, backs onto a densely wooded hill that commands excellent views across London. High on this hill is a small patch of open sand rich in sharks teeth, bivalve shells and fish vertebrae and otoliths dating from the Eocene (55 million years ago). Abbey Wood is a designated 'SSSI' - Site of Special Scientific Interest - because of the tiny Tertiary mammal teeth that have been found there.

Fossils added to our collection include:-

Shark Teeth - Carcharias tenetidens

Bivalves - Nemocardium plumstedianum, Ostrea bellavacina, Tellinecyclas tellinella and Corbicula cuneiformis

Gastropods - Melanopsis antediluviana and Tympanotones funatus

A fish vertebra together with a number of other bivalve shell fragments and partial gastropods, were also found.

The second trip took us to a large disused sand quarry near Charlton, also in South East London, 'Gilbert's Pit'. The main face of the quarry is much eroded through landslip but the scree slope at its base is rich in whole brachiapod and bivalve fossils both loose and still with some attached matrix. This site is also of Eocene age but unlike Abbey Wood, contains no shark teeth. Instead, some 8 feet below the crest of the ridge an exposure of Lewisham Leaf Beds was found but the fossil leaves were too heavily pyritised and poorly preserved to warrant collection for further study.

The deposits here are from the Blackheath Beds with abundant Blackheath Pebbles embedded in the surrounding sandy matrix.

Specimens collected included three fine examples of the Bivalve Polymesoda cordata together with a number of the Blackheath pebbles, the largest of which weighed in at an extraordinary 1.35kg.

A sample of fossiliferous limestone from the french Jurassic was also collected from Boulogne-sur-Mer during the Summer.

The bulk of the collection continues to maintain its bias towards British fossils, particularly those from the South East, with out-of-area fossils acquired through opportunist purchases and finds where they fill a particular niche in completing an educational theme.

Acquisitions by Purchase

A number of Kentish specimens including shark's teeth from Beltinge, sea urchins from Greenhithe and fossil wood from the Isle of Sheppey, were obtained from local collectors attending the Bexley and Sidcup Lapidiary & Mineral fair, held in the autumn.

A fine uncoiled ammonite Crioceras duvali from the Hautverian of France was obtained from one of our regular suppliers, Mr Richard Widdowson of Scarborough, North Yorkshire.


Department of Geology


Field trips to a number of geological sites in Kent and Northern France were made throughout the year netting the Museum a number of fine specimens of chalk and sandstone.

Acquisitions by Purchase

This year saw the acquisition of a number of specimens of volcanic lava from Hawley Garden Centre near Dartford and specimens of local Selenite, Pyrite, Calcite and Barite - originating from Sturry, Canterbury and the Isle of Sheppey - from collectors displaying at the Bexley & Sidcup Lapidiary Fair.

From commercial dealers attending this fair were also obtained a spectacular two-colour Tourmaline crystal from Afganistan - from Sable Minerals of Bexley and a specimen of "Apache Tears" (a type of volcanic glass) from the USA - supplied by Mira Minerals of Anerley.

Specimens of stalactite flow stone and a septarian nodule both originating in Utah in the United States were obtained from Jencroft of Istead Rise, Kent. Jencroft visit rock and fossil fairs and exhibitions all over the world and have been commissioned by the Museum to acquire specimens of Kimberlite - the parent rock from which diamonds are extracted and Torbernite - one of the primary ores of Uranium.

Acquisitions by Donation

The Museum gives grateful thanks to Ms Shirley Randall of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, for her kind donation of some three dozen specimens of sedimentary and igneous rocks and minerals from her travels through north Wales, the Peak District and the Lake District.

The Museum also thanks Mrs Merle Symington of Poynton, Cheshire for her donation of two pieces of fine Australian Opal, and to Mr Bernie Smith of Ilford, Essex for his donation of some unusually weathered flint from Folkestone, Kent.

Finally, the Museum extends it thanks to the Suncor Corporation for its kind donation of two specimens of oil sands from their mine in Alberta, Canada


Models & Displays


New acquisitions during the year for display in the Museum galleries include a small globe of the planet Mars from Earth & Space, Bluewater, Kent, two statuettes hand carved from coal from Kiwi Connection, also of Bluewater and a bust of Charles Darwin from English Heritage at Down, Kent.

The display department constructed a life size (18" wingspan) Meganeura dragonfly, found throughout the Carboniferous Period of 360-300 million years ago and commenced construction on two major new dioramas, one of a coal mine, one of an open-cast quarry.


The Museum Web-Site - http://www.stonemuseum.org.uk


Our website went live in August 1999 with free fileserver space kindly provided by Virgin.net allowing us to communicate electronically and advertise our presence to the world.

Shortly afterwards, our own website name was purchased from the Nic-Names company and this has allowed us to submit our site to the major internet search engine sites around Europe and the United States.

The website contains brief descriptions of the Museum, its aims and the scope of its collection, but more importantly, contains sections on where to go to see geological and palaeontological attractions and sites, where to go to collect rocks and fossils and also lists world news of earthquakes, volcanic activity, mining developments and major fossil finds.

There are special pages devoted to background and reference information on geology and pages including write-ups of Museum field trips and expeditions together with reports on the research that we undertake.

The website also contains numerous useful links to museums, institutions and commercial organisations around the world that display, exhibit, promote or exploit the science of geology.


Library & Resource Centre


Our library holdings continue to be the fastest growth area of the Museum with materials currently available including:-

Books98
Information Leaflets158
Scientific Papers18
Magazines & Publications308
Maps9
U.K. Newspaper Extracts92
Video & Audio Tapes7
Newsfiles (held electronically)3244
Miscellaneous2
TOTAL3997

Electronic Newsfiles
Palaeontology974
Earthquakes1374
Mining394
Extra-terrestrial Geology95
Volcanoes299
The Film Industry39
Geology55
Articles Abstract11
Electronic Books3
TOTAL3244

Looking to the Future


Negotiations have opened with a Mr Glenn F Rockers of PalaeoSearch Inc. in Kansas, USA for the acquisition of a complete Allosaurus skeleton. At 8m in length, this will form the centrepeice of the Museum's galleries and an appeal to raise the purchase, shipping and installation price of $40,000 has been launched on our website.

Our aim to obtain a complete set of maps from the British Geological Survey will continue. We have made a start in collecting those maps most relevant to the area, i.e. South East London, Kent and Sussex, and extend the range to other parts of the country as and when finances allow.

One of our key objectives has always been to secure a copy of the Smithsonian Institute publication Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology. I regret to say that this has not been possible during this year so this objective will be carried forward into 2000/2001

A prerequisite of registration with the Museums and Galleries Commission is that a museum is open to the public. As access to the National Lottery Heritage Scheme is open only to registered museums, our prime aim for the coming year must be to secure grant or partnership funding to allow us to re-open. This will not be an easy task, but the Board of Trustees is fully committed to achieving this goal.

2000/2001 will I am sure, prove a challenging one yet again but I have every confidence that with imagination, flair, careful planning and hard work we can step boldy forward into this new millenium and succeed in all our aspirations.


Notes to the Accounts


1. Museum Expenditure

As a non profit making organisation, the Museum aims to spend the minimum possible on administration and overheads so that funds can be channelled into curation of the collection and the acquisition of display equipment and new specimens.

2. Tangible fixed assets and depreciation

Fixed assets at 31st March 2000 are stated at the lower of (a) cost, less provision for depreciation - if originally purchased by the Museum, or (b) net realisable value, less provision for depreciation - if the asset was originally donated free of charge.

Depreciation is provided on a straight line basis, and is calculated on historical amounts, after providing for any permanent diminution in value. The period of depreciation being the estimated life of the asset subject to the maxima shown below and commencing when the capital expenditure was incurred or on acquisition of the asset by donation.
Type of assetMaximum period
Computer equipment10 years
Laboratory and display equipment20-40 years

Estimated lives and residual values of individual items are reviewed periodically and amended when circumstances change.

3. Excluded Costs

All costs in respect of field trips have been excluded as they were personally funded by the Chairman.

4. Disposals

No specimen in the collection is considered to be a disposable asset - the Museum's charter provides strict safeguards and restrictions on disposals of the specimens themselves.

Asset values shown represent the estimated replacement cost of the collection and is calculated for insurance purposes only.

The nominal amount shown for disposals is an assessment of the value of plants lost through die-off from the Museum's Botanical Department.

5. Interest Receivable

Interest is received gross of tax each April 5th.

6. Special Items

The increase in operational costs this year over 1998/99 is attributable to professional printing of last years report and accounts (to accompany our application for charitable status to the Charities Commission) and initial set-up and registration costs for the Museum website.


Balance Sheet

Position as at 31st March 2000

1999/20001998/99
INCOME ()
Donations1645.392277.2
Gift Shop Sales17.9839.98
Stock in Hand612.36437.96
Cash In Hand95.09100.56
Interest Received0.740.53
TOTAL2371.562856.23

EXPENDITURE
Acquisitions592.341216.84
Purchase of Fixed Assets114.47353.41
Operating Costs956.56298.94
TOTAL1663.372317.18
BALANCE708.19539.05

WORKING CAPITAL
Interest Received0.740.53
Cash in Hand95.09100.56
Stock in Hand612.36437.96
TOTAL708.19539.05

STATEMENT OF ASSETS
Position as at 31st March 2000

OPENING BALANCE3674.023694.68
plus Acquisitions195.86554.83
Prior Year Adj.50.000
less Disposals3.48127.5
less Depreciation396.68447.99
CLOSING BALANCE3519.723674.02

Working Capital708.19539.05
Value of Collection9509.368608.82
Current Assets26.2223.28
Fixed Assets3519.723674.02
TOTAL ASSETS13763.4912844.64


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