Robert Patterson, F.R.S.

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Patterson, Robert, F.R.S., an eminent zoologist, was born in Belfast, 18th April 1802. He was brought up to business, and having joined his father, an ironmonger, continued closely occupied with trade up to his last illness. Early in life he turned his attention to the study of natural history, chiefly zoology and botany. His investigations were confined to the districts around Belfast, and were carried on principally during the summer months, when staying at seaside places on the coasts of Antrim and Down. For many years he took part in dredging excursions, in the course of which he discovered several forms of marine life new to Britain, which were duly described in the transactions of the scientific societies of the time. He was one of the founders of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society in 1821, of which he was President for many years, and was instrumental in the erection of the museum of that society ten years later.

He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, was a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and was actively engaged in the management of several local societies and municipal institutions in Belfast. In 1838 he published Letters on the Insects Mentioned in Shakspere; between 1846 and 1848, Zoology for Schools, and later, his First Steps to Zoology. These two latter works met a decided educational want, and being admirably suited as class-books, were adopted by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, and by the English Board of Education. He also published sets of Zoological Diagrams. He was one of the earliest members of the British Association, and on the occasion of its visit to Belfast in 1852 filled the post of local treasurer. He died at his residence, in College-square, Belfast, 14th February 1872, aged 69.

Sources

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

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