Dinosaur man celebrated at blue plaque unveiling

School pupils at the event.
School pupils at the event.

The eminent Lancastrian and ‘Dinosaur Man’ Sir Richard Owen was celebrated at the unveiling of a blue plaque at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

Owen, who attended LRGS from 1809 to 1819, is famous for coining the word ‘dinosaur’ (Greek for terrible lizard) and establishing the Natural History Museum in 1881.

LRGS head Dr Chris Pyle said: “There isn’t a huge amount in the school archives about Owen’s time here. But what we do have is a quote, which it is claimed was from one of his schoolmasters, referring to him as ‘impudent’.

“It seems he was extremely stubborn, knew exactly what he wanted, was incredibly clever, but not in any way a conformist.”

The plaque was unveiled by Dr David Williams, a fossil and algae researcher at the Natural History Museum.

Speaking after the event, Dr Williams gave an entertaining account of Owen’s long life, listing his many achievements as an ‘extra-ordinary biologist, palaeontologist, administrator, grand Victorian and first superintendent of the Natural History Museum in London.

Attending the ceremony were Year 7 LRGS pupils who had won a Design a Fossil competition, as well as Eric Ollerenshaw MP, academics from Lancaster University’s Medical School and representatives from local historical, archaeological and medical societies.