William and Francis Buckland
[ Issue 30 ]

Emily Bronto is definitely one of Edith Sitwell’s many fans

Let Bikwil introduce you to Wiliam and Francis Buckland

William and Francis Buckland

Remember the Bucklands from Issue 16Fizzgig is now persuaded that credit belongs where credit’s due.  Father and son may have dedicated themselves to eating anything, no matter how odd, but why?

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Another Apology from the Front Porch — Fizzgig

Copyright


In Issue 16 (November 1999) I wrote playfully of 19th-century father-and-son scientists William and Francis Buckland. William was a pioneer of scientific geology, while Francis was an authority on fish.

There’s little point regurgitating any more of my article here, save to remind you that I clearly made a point of highlighting that the investigative pair dedicated themselves to eating anything, no matter how bizarre.

Many of you, I know, judged it quite hilarious and an appropriate contribution in the Bikwilian quirky spirit. But here’s the rub.

Thanks to the Internet, an author’s errors of fact or judgement can be all too readily exposed. I have already learnt this to my mortification from comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor. (See Issues 7 and 26, May 1998 and July 2001.)

That lesson concerned erroneous facts. This time it’s a question of emphasis.

There’s no escape, so I’d better jump right in and face the music. I’ll quote directly from the email that brought me to gustatory book. It was sent by a bona fide descendant of those resourceful Bucklands.

. . . it makes a great story, but the list of strange [disgusting?] animals etc. eaten really had a serious purpose: this wasn't the normal food of the household, but a serious attempt to find other forms of animal life which could be cheaply produced to feed the world's hungry.

Only [surely] in the interests of scientific research would anyone eat a mole, bluebottles or — to complete the list — a particular carnivore which London zoo obligingly dug up 3 days or so after its death, when asked for a sample.

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