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dudley metropolitan borough council header logo the historic capital of the Black Country
Dudley Skyline

At the southern tip of the NNR you will find one of the most impressive locations on the National Nature Reserve , a placed called Murchisons Viewpoint, named after the renowned geologist, Sir Roderick Murchison who defined the period of geological time known as the 'Silurian'.

His book, the 'Silurian System', published in 1839 was based on the study of Dudley fossils. The view, as seen in the video below, was featured in his great scientific work. It is dominated by Dudley Castle founded in the years following the Norman Conquest and built in the 13th and 14th centuries from local limestone.

To the left of the Castle you can see Birmingham city and to the right are the Rowley Hills and Dudley town centre, with the Clent Hills also visible on a clear day.

Graham Worton, Borough Geologist and Keeper of Geology at Dudley Museum introduces you to Murchisons Viewpoint.

Sir Roderick Murchison
"In no part of England are more geological features brought together in a small compass than in the environs of Dudley"

Spoken by Sir Roderick Murchison in a lecture held in the Seven Sisters Mines in 1849.

Murchison was a retired soldier who under the persuasion of his wife Charlotte and friend Sir Humphry Davy became interested in the young science of Geology. Murchison, together with his wife, set about studying the rocks of England, and came to Dudley in 1831 as part of their two year study tour of the many successions of the Midlands and Welsh borderlands, to study a particular group of rocks that he later grouped together under the name of the Silurian Period.

Around 1837, Sir Roderick Murchison spent some years studying fossiliferous rocks in the Midlands. He visited Dudley on a number of occasions and, in 1839, published his scientific work 'The Silurian System', establishing this major time period in Earth history.

About 65% of the fossils illustrated and described in the book are from Dudley, and many of the individual specimens used are housed in the collection at Dudley Museum.

In February 2011, members of the Wren's Nest wardens team, Dudley Museum team and local community members recreated part of Sir Roderick Murchisons visit to Wren's Nest - reciting part of the poem written to commemorate his visit - where he was declared 'King of Siluria'.

Contact Details

 Dudley Museum and Art Gallery, The Archives and Local History Centre, Tipton Road, Dudley DY1 4SQ

Telephone 01384 815460

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