Richard giving the conservation officer’s report at a meeting in the Unity Hall, February, 1981. Sketch by Richard Bell.
Richard Brook, conservationist, plant breeder and 60s music fanatic, who joined the Society in the 1960s and served as excursion secretary and later conservation officer, died on 20 April, aged 74. Extracts from his diary (below) were compiled by Richard’s second cousin, Ann Brook and read at his funeral on 8 May by her sister Philippa.
The ‘Tripartite’ mentioned in the May entry refers to his award-winning ‘Tripartite’ narcissus, which he developed in the 1980s when he ran a commercial nursery specialising in daffodils. The Tripartite has three flowers on each stem and is still available globally. Last month it was exhibited at The North of England Horticultural Society’s Spring Flower Show at Harrogate.
Aire Valley Wetlands
In the 1970s, he compiled the Society’s bird reports and a survey of the Aire Valley Wetlands. Thanks to Richard’s family, we now have a limited number of copies of Birds Around Wakefield 1974-1979 and Aire Valley Wetlands available. The habitat maps, which Richard compiled by studying aerial views and making numerous field visits, were ahead of their time.
We’d also like to thank Richard’s family for passing on his photographs, which form a unique record of the post-industrial landscape of the Aire and Calder Valleys around Wakefield.
Sandal Brickworks, 9 September, 1973.
Richard’s observations taken from diaries of 2010
Heard nuthatch in Wakefield Park.
Cloudy, cool, drizzle after dark.
Sitting in a laurel bush.
Saw orange tip butterfly.
Killed one large fly.
19th of May. Blossom out!
Tripartite faded in the heat and drought.
Young Goldfinch came to the seed feeder.
…saw the first gatekeeper
Robin singing an autumn song.
First picking of Victoria plums.
Cloudy, cool, slight North breeze.
Sparrow hawk, hiding in the pear tree.
Evening dull, with light rain.
Buzzard over the garden again.
Warm sun and cloud in the morning,
sweet blackberries ripening,
Green woodpecker laughing.
Pair of jays came to the water bowl.
White frost, sunny, calm and cold.