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Bill Lamplough


William Hardy Lamplough (1914 - 1996) was born in Driffield. His parents were George Martin Lamplough and Florence Maud Lamplough (nee Barnett). Before the start of WW1 the family moved to Bridlington to 84 Hilderthorpe Road. His education was at Bridlington and he gained entry to Bridlington School by examination. His successful education there meant he gained a place at Hull University and finally passing out with a BSc in Physics. In 1937 he married Joan Thornton in Bridlington.

For National Service he chose to go into the Air Force and continued in this service throughout WW2. Due to his academic training he was drafted into the education wing with a specialisation in navigation. During the war when Poland was overrun and the Polish Air Force came to Britain they had a lack of teachers. He offered his services stating that he felt he could start training them in Polish whilst also teaching them English. He devised a training schedule to do this starting with the aid of an interpreter but quickly picked up the basic language and was from then on able to do it alone. At the end of the war he was a Flt/Lt and cessation of hostilities was demobbed. At the time he was stationed at Manston in Kent. He obtained a position at Ramsgate High School teaching Physics and Maths.

When Joan’s father died in 1948 it was decided due to family commitments that we should move back to Scarborough as Joan had been left some property including a house in Burniston. In the summer we moved north. Upon arrival in Scarborough he sought a position in teaching and obtained a position at Friarage Senior School teaching Physics and Maths. It was at this time that he saw the destruction of the moorland and the ancient artefacts by the random ploughing by the Forestry Commission.

He had joined the Scarborough Archaeological Society and with them they did a couple of weekends examining the barrows mainly on the Broxa area. However the society did not continue with the work and he took it upon himself with the assistance of J.R. Lidster and D.H. Lamplough (myself) to continue the work and look at the rest of the moorland that had been ploughed. We found that what had at first appeared as a minor recovery exercise was a much greater task. Being a schoolmaster meant that he had the opportunity to not only do the excavations at weekends but use the extra holiday time continuing the work. The bulk of the excavations took place over the years 1948 – 1957. There has only been minor work done since then. Part of the difficulty is the fact that as the trees have grown they have masked the ground and little can be seen.

He went to Uganda in 1962 and spent 9 years there but continued his interest in prehistoric sites. Upon returning to the UK he taught part time at various schools mainly Physics, Maths and Engineering Drawing. Living at West Ayton, Burniston and two addresses in Scarborough. He died 17 January 1996 in Scarborough.

In 1946 the Lamplough family were living in Kent but came during the summer holidays to stay with my mother's parents in Cloughton. At that time we heard that John Moore had discovered some ancient remains at Flixton Island and as my father was interested we went and assisted in the excavations there. John Moore had seen some objects in the peat of the drainage ditch that was being cleaned out and subsequently found they were bones from the species of prehistoric horse that was in this area at that time. We dug an exploratory trench with John Moore and discovered more artefacts.

Again in 1947 we again came to Scarborough and with John Moore excavated three more test trenched at Flixton Island. During 1947 I was asked by my father to take some photographs of the damage that the Forestry Commission were doing to the moorland to the NW of Scarborough. Upon seeing the pictures he also went to have a look at the damage to the barrows and domestic sites. In 1948 when we had moved to Burniston he joined the Scarborough Archaeological Society and had reported to them his concern of the damage of the barrows and domestic sites. The society did go to Broxa for a few weekends but decided it was too remote to carry on the work. My father obtained permission to carry out as much rescue excavation as possible and together with John Ronald Lidster ‘Ronnie’ and myself we continued the work. We had occasional assistance from other members of the society. The three of us excavated many barrows and domestic sites, also assisted in other excavations being done by other society members including Star Carr.

The vast collection of artefacts known as the Lamplough-Lidster Collection were donated by me to the York Museum Trust a few years ago with the understanding that should anybody wish to have access to the collection they do not have to seek my permission to do so. This was because some of the items are not considered suitable for public display but are extremely useful for research and York University have been very helpful in this respect.

It was with my father’s foresight that much of the heritage of the area was saved for the nation. He was a member of the Scarborough Archaeological Society until his death and chairman for many years.

David Hardy Lamplough

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