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Eric Brown

Eric Burton Brown MA (CANTAB.) MSc (Wales)

Eric Brown

Early Years

Eric Burton Brown was born on 10th September 1922 at Causeway End farmhouse in Chittering, Cambridgeshire, the first born of the seven children of farmer Horace and Grace (née Burton) Brown. He first developed an interest in Natural History as a child, growing up in the pre intensively farmed fens just a few miles west of Wicken Fen Nature Reserve. He was schooled at Chittering and Waterbeach before winning a scholarship to The Perse School, Cambridge. There he proved to be an excellent scholar, achieving high marks in all subjects especially mathematics, chemistry and physics and where he won another scholarship to St Catherine’s College, Cambridge where he read Natural Sciences (MA). He worked on his Father’s farm at weekends and during school and university vacations. He then moved to University College of North Wales, Bangor where he gained his MSc and was employed by the Ministry of Agriculture there, where he worked with John Hobart, I.Thomas and F.H.Jacob. Here he wrote papers on the breeding of Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers on Anglesey (with A.W.Colling) and on the life history of the British Lesser Cockroach Ectobius panzeri.

The Ministry of Agriculture transferred him to Anstey Hall in Trumpington and latterly was based at their new offices at Brooklands Avenue in Cambridge, where he joined the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAAS) and developed an expertise in crop-plant nematodes. Here he worked with Harold Gough, T.J.Legowski, Les Coppock, W.Ernest Dant and Dan Maskel and met his future wife Kathleen Hartley Ward. As children, my brother Jeremy and myself were volunteered during the school holidays by our Father to help count Aphis fabae aphid eggs on marked Spindle trees to forecast the next season's level of infestation of ‘blackfly’ on leguminous crops and helped in counting Potato cyst eelworm Globodera rostochiensis on potato roots. Here, he contributed to many of the Agricultural Development & Advisory Service (ADAS) pest information leaflets for farmers and growers and to the Pests of Field Crops volume by F.G.W. & Margaret G.Jones of 1964. He also collaborated in research with J.B.Goodey, J.E.Peachy and Jim Flegg at Rothamsted Experimental station.

In the Midlands

Promotion came with a move to the Ministry's West Midland regional office at Woodthorne, Wolverhampton in 1966, succeeding H.C.F.Newton as Chief Entomologist and where he worked with John Williams, G.B.Sykes, W.T.Dale and David Smallshire. He published 46 scientific papers, mostly on plant pest nematodes during his career (see list below), but he was not sad to retire as he was beginning to witness the slow demise of ADAS with cuts in public funding.

From 1982, in retirement, he continued to develop his beetle and fly collection (adding many new species records to the midland county faunal lists. He sent records to the county recorders and had specimens verified when he was in doubt. He was well known at many of the West Midland nature reserves such as Belvide and Aqualate, Staffordshire, providing Coleoptera and Diptera species lists. He is acknowledged in Dave Smallshire & Alan Richards book on Belvide Reservoir of 1977, Howard Mendel & R.E.Clarke’s Click Beetle Atlas of 1996, Martin Luff’s Ground Beetle Atlas of 1998, Jonathan Webb & Michael Bloxham’s invertebrate Survey of Oakwood Pastures of 2000, Jonathan Webb’s Invertebrate Survey of Cannock Chase of 2000, Steve Lane, R.J.Wright & T.G.Forsythe’s Atlas of Warwickshire Beetles of 2002 and Mike Cox’s Seed & Leaf Beetle Atlas of 2007. He sent specimens for verification to Max Barclay, Roger Booth, Mike Cox, Howard Mendel, Mike Morris and Steve Lane and sent comments and corrections on Royal Entomological Society beetle volumes and other entomological works to the respective authors.

He nursed his wife Kathleen (married for 47 years) through her last illness until her death in 1997 and then had time to develop further his collection with the encouragement and help of his son Paul. He kept excellent health and continued to drive his car until the last year of his life when his pace slowed but he was regularly taken collecting locally and on regular holidays with his family to Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Norfolk.

Eric passed away at 3.15 on Saturday afternoon, 1st October 2011 at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton in the presence of his son Paul, after a short illness. He leaves three children, Jeremy, Paul & Susan; six grandchildren, Alex, Katy, Emily, Sally, Sarah and Hannah and his surviving brother Neville and sister Daphne.

His Coleoptera collection was donated to the Natural History Museum, London (BMNH[E] 2012-72) which consisted of 11,528 specimens of 1,469 species which represents circa 36% of the British beetle fauna plus a few specimens taken on European holidays. The collection is rich in West Midland and East Anglian localities and he focussed particularly in Carabidae, Chrysomelidae and Curculionidae. The specimens were extracted from 28 store boxes into unit trays in 45 Hill drawers. (list of species in preparation). His specimens are available for viewing or research loan by arrangement with the Entomology Curation team at the Natural History Museum.

Eric B. Brown papers

  1. I.Thomas, E.B.Brown, B.A. & R.J.Willis, 1946. The cereal root eelworm, Hederodera major (O. Schmidt) Franklin, in North Wales Annals of Applied Biology 33: 63-65.
  2. A.W.Colling & E.B.Brown, 1946. The breeding of Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers in North Wales in 1945 British Birds 39: 233-243, plates 23-30.
  3. E.B.Brown, 1951. Plant parasitic eelworms National Agricultural Advisory Service Quarterly Review 13: 12-18.
  4. E.B.Brown, 1952. Observations on the life history of the Cockroach Ectobius panzeri Stephens Entomologists Monthly Magazine 88: 209-212.
  5. E.B.Brown, 1953. Stem eelworms in Lucerne Plant Pathology 2: 54
  6. E.B.Brown & M.T.Franklin, 1953. Experiments on the control of eelworms in black currant Plant Pathology 2: 101-102
  7. E.B.Brown, 1954. Survey of damage by carrot fly on carrots in England and Wales, 1946-50 Plant Pathology 3: 69-71.
  8. E.B.Brown, 1954. Springtail damage to tomatoes Plant Pathology 3: 87-88.
  9. E.B.Brown, 1954. Resistenta - an eelworm resistant clover Plant Pathology 3: 122.
  10. E.B.Brown, 1955. A seed borne nematode infestation in annual asters Nature 175: 178.
  11. E.B.Brown, 1955. Occurrences of the root-knot eelworm, Meliodogyne hopla, out of doors in Great Britain Nature 175: 430.
  12. J.B.Goodey & E.B.Brown, 1956. Stem eelworm attacking carrots Journal of Helminthology 29: 187-192.
  13. E.B.Brown & J.B.Goodey, 1956. Observations on a race of stem eelworm attacking lucerne Plant Pathology 5: 28-29.
  14. E.B.Brown, 1956. Damage to Henbane by stem eelworm Ditylenchus dipsaci (Kühn, 1857) Filipjev, 1936 Journal of Helminthology 30: 143-144.
  15. E.B.Brown & E.Christine Mason, 1956. Unusual hosts of the Chrysanthemum eelworm Plant Pathology 5: 151.
  16. E.B.Brown, 1956. A seed-borne attack of Chrysanthemum eelworm (Aphelenchoides ritzema-bozi) on the Annual Aster (Callistephus chinensis) Journal of Helminthology 30: 145-148.
  17. T.J.Lewgowski & E.B.Brown, 1956. Reproduction of potato root eelworm during the winter in a potato clamp Nature 177: 287.
  18. E.B.Brown, 1957. Lucerne Stem Eelworm – a serious threat to lucerne growing Agriculture 63: 517-520.
  19. E.B.Brown, 1957. Lucerne stem eelworm in Great Britain Nematologia II supplement 369-375.
  20. E.B.Brown, 1958. Observations on a race of Ditylenchus dipsaci attacking annual aster and sweet sultan Plant Pathology 7: 150-151.
  21. E.B.Brown, 1958. Pea root eelworm in the Eastern Counties of England Nematologia III: 257-268.
  22. E.B.Brown, 1959. A broad red clover resistant to stem eelworm Plant Pathology 8: 124.
  23. E.B.Brown, 1959. Eelworms on Strawberries Plant Pathology 8: 152.
  24. E.B.Brown, 1959. New host plants of Aphelenchoides ritzema-bozi Plant Pathology 8: 152.
  25. E.B.Brown, 1961. Linnet damage to strawberry fruit Plant Pathology 10: 41.
  26. E.B.Brown, 1961. A rotational experiment on land infested with potato root eelworm Heterodera rostochiensis Woll. Nematologia 6: 201-206.
  27. E.B.Brown, 1961. Assessing the damage caused by Heterodera rostochiensis Woll. Nature 191: 937-938.
  28. H.G.Kingham & E.B.Brown, 1963. The effect of various nematicides on root knot eelworm (Meloidogyne javanica) and the yield of glasshouse tomatoes, and on potato root eelworm (Heterodera rostochiensis) Journal of Horticultural Science 38: 20-25.
  29. E.B.Brown, 1965. Xiphinema diversicaudatum and Longidorus macrosoma in rose glasshouses Plant Pathology 14: 45.
  30. E.B.Brown, 1955. Some current British soil pest problems Soil Zoology Proceedings of the University of Nottingham second Easter School of Agricultural Science 1955:256-268.
  31. E.B.Brown & L.J.Coppock, 1968. Losses caused by potato cyst eelworm in the Isle of Ely National Agricultural Advisory Service Quarterly Review 80: 146-149.
  32. E.B.Brown, 1968. The relationship between potato yields and number of Heterodera rostochiensis 1st International Congress of Plant Pathology, Imperial College, London
  33. E.B.Brown, 1969. Assessment of the damage caused to potatoes by potato cyst eelworm Heterodera rostochiensis Woll. Annals of Applied Biology 63: 493-502.
  34. E.B.Brown, 1970. The behaviour of populations of potato cyst eelworm Heterodera rostochiensis Woll towards resistant potato varieties derived from Solanum tuberosum ssp.andigena Juz and Buk. Annals of Applied Biology 65: 377-383.
  35. E.B.Brown & G.B.Sykes, 1971. Studies on the relation between density of Longidorus elongatus and growth of sugar beet, with supplementary observations on Trichodorus spp. Annals of Applied Biology 68: 291-298.
  36. E.B.Brown, 1972. Extension work – the changing scene XIth International Symposium of Nematology, Reading abstract: 3.
  37. E.B.Brown, 1972. Potato cyst nematode – some practical considerations Annals of Applied Biology 71(3): 294-296.
  38. W.T.Dale & E.B.Brown, 1973. NEPO viruses in Raspberries in the West Midlands Plant Pathology 22: 65-66.
  39. E.B.Brown & G.B.Sykes, 1973. Control of tobacco rattle (spraing) in potatoes Annals of Applied Biology 75(3): 462-464.
  40. E.B.Brown & R.W.Swain, 1974. Influence of soil stability on Longidorus elongatus density Nematologia 20: 257-258.
  41. E.B.Brown, 1975. Studies on the relation between density of Longidorus elongatus and yield of barley and potatoes Plant Pathology 24: 221-223.
  42. E.B.Brown, 1975. Assessment of damage by nematodes, with economic considerations Annals of Applied Biology 84(3): 462-464.
  43. E.B.Brown, 1978. Cultural & Biological control methods, Chapter 13: 269-282 [in] J.F.Southey ed. Plant Nematology. HMSO pp 440.
  44. E.B.Brown & G.B.Sykes, 1983. Assessment of the losses caused to potatoes by the potato cyst nematodes, Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida Annals of Applied Biology 103: 271-276.
  45. E.B.Brown, 1983. The relationship of potato yield with and without nematicide to density of potato cyst nematodes, Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida Annals of Applied Biology 103: 471-476.
  46. E.B.Brown, no date The occurrence of lucerne stem eelworm in Great Britain with special reference to the origin of the attacks Seed Trade Review :

Paul Brown, NHM, London

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