Plaque for Lancaster dinosaur hero Sir Richard Owen

Sir Richard Owen.
Sir Richard Owen.

Lancaster’s ‘Dinosaur Man’ is getting his own celebratory plaque at the same time as the pioneers of Penicillin and the creators of Dolly the Sheep.

Sir Richard Owen, who invented the word ‘dinosaur’ and founded the Natural History Museum, will be recognised in a new series of 10 blue ‘heritage’ plaques around the UK paying tribute to the unsung heroes of biology.

Sir Richard’s plaque will be unveiled at Lancaster Royal Grammar School where he was educated from 1809 to 1819.

Other recipients nationwide include Dorothy Hodgkin, who discovered the structure of Penicillin, Edwards and Purdy, pioneers of IVF treatment, and the team who created Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.

The plaque for Sir Richard (1804-1892) will be unveiled in a private ceremony next Thursday, February 26.

Dr David Williams, a fossil and algae researcher at the Natural History Museum, will talk about Richard Owen’s achievements.

Dr Williams said: “Richard Owen was one of the finest palaeontologists to have ever lived, describing many new vertebrates for the first time, including in 1824, the first dinosaur bones, to which he gave the name Dinosauria, meaning terrible lizard in Greek.”

Owen campaigned for the dinosaur skeletons in the British Museum to be given a new home, which led to the opening of the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London, in 1881.

Sir Richard was also known for his outspoken opposition to Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection.

One of Lancaster’s two Wetherspoon pubs is named after him.