The Devon Karst Research Society
Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon, England, U.K.

Updated on 20 July 2006.

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R N Worth, F.G.S. [1837 - 1896] :
Richard Nicholls Worth was born into an ordinary family at Devonport on 19 July 1837. The head of the family ran a small building firm.
Eventually, as the eldest of 3 boys, he was the only survivor to manhood. As the descendant of an old Moorland family - the Walkhampton branch of the Worths - Richard had little in the way of formal education and after leaving school at the age of 14., was apprenticed to a Mr R.C. Smith, the proprietor and printer of the Devonport Telegraph. When this was absorbed by the Western Morning News, he joined the staff of this Company, which in 1865 then acquired the Northern Daily Express. Richard was appointed the Editor of the new acquisition and moved to Newcastle to take up his duties. He was reported to have been unhappy at being so distant from his beloved Westcountry and after 2 years, returned to employment in the Plymouth offices of the Western Morning News, where he remained until he was invited to help with the establishment of Messrs. Brendon of Plymouth, printers, with whom he continued during his remaining days.

Prominent in public life, patient and meticulous in detail, he dedicated his life to observing and recording aspects of Devon and Cornwall centred around his principal fields of interest - History and Geology. His 1st printed Paper appeared in 1869 in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall.
He contributed more than 140 Papers to the Transactions of various Societies. He also wrote many magazine Articles as well as several series of Articles in Plymouth Newspapers. He wrote many books and contributed to as many others. Elected Fellow of the Geological Society in !875., he became Curator of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1874.
He was a prominent Member of the Plymouth Institution being an Honorary Member from 1872; a Lecturing Member from 1879; a Member of its Council from 1880 and was elected as its President in 1881 and 1882., during which time he was foremost in taking steps to raise funds for the erection of the Institution's imposing new Museum and Art Gallery, designed by John Foulston and which opened in March 1883. In 1872 he became a Member of the Devonshire Association and in 1891 was elected as its President.
He is described by his contemporaries as being eager to help everyone, especially inquisitive students. Although being physically tall - he was 6 feet in height - he is described as having a remarkable personality, being cheerful, having an unfailing energy, having strong opinions and being decisive. He was a strong and determined character who thought very carefully before arriving at conclusions.
He died on 3rd July 1896., after a short period of intermittent illness followed by a sudden relapse in a fatal attack of Syncope. He is buried at Shaugh.
In many of the contemporary Obituary Notices we have read, nowhere is there any reference to what is probably his most important work - that of the excavation of the Bone Cave at Cattedown.

R Burnard, J.P., F.S.A. [1848 - 1919] :


Robert Burnard was the son of the late Mr. Charles Frederick Burnard, one of the founders of the firm of Burnard, Lack and Alger, manufacturers of chemical and other fertilizers etc. Robert was associated with his father and partners in the business.
Mr Burnard was for many years chairman of the Cattewater Harbour Commission. In politics he was active, especially in the Tavistock Division and was a supporter of the Liberal Party. In all matters public and personal, he kept an unruffled temperament, whilst remaining resolute in his views.
He married on 6th April 1871 and fathered 4 children.
He was successful as a businessman. In 1887., he published his 1st Paper on the subject of Dartmoor Antiquities. In 1891-92 he was the President of the Plymouth Institution, where he delivered a total of 7 lectures. He was very active in assisting with the excavation of over 100 Hut Circles, Stone Rows and Cairns on Dartmoor. In 1904, he conducted other exploration in Wales. He had strong connections with the Dartmoor Preservation Association. He also contributed several Papers to the Transactions of the Devonshire Association. In 1900., he was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was a Member of the Teign Naturalists' Field Club, an Honorary F.S.A. of Scotland and a Justice of the Peace. He joined the Devonshire Association in 1887. He was also much travelled to the Malay Peninsula and to Egypt.


Burnard, Lack & Alger Ltd.
Burnard, Lack and Alger Ltd. was originally located in Sutton Road, Plymouth and moved to Cattedown in the lifetime of Mr Charles Frederick Burnard. The waterside premises then acquired were later developed by the late Mr. W H Alger and Robert Burnard for important deep-water wharves, with spacious warehouses and modern equipment.
Eventually, the style of the firm was changed to Burnard and Alger Ltd., of which, at the time of his death, Robert Burnard was the senior partner.

The Company owned much land at Cattedown. Since the 1920's., most of its land-holdings on the inland side of the Cattedown Road have been given or sold to others. Some of this land is now directly or indirectly pertinent to the Society's long-term aims in the area for the Cattedown Bone Caves Heritage Site Project.

(Year + Companies registered as being in business at Cattedown).
1822-23 - Sparrow, Limestone Dealer & Lime Burner.
1830 - B. Sparrow, Stone Quarrying.
1836 - Benjamin Sparrow, Limestone Dealer, +  R. Hill, Shipbuilder.
1844 - Sparrow, Symons & Co., Catdown Quarries + Richard Hill & Son, Shipbuilders.
1877 - Sparrow & Co., Limestone & Marble Merchants.
1847 - Messrs. B & P Sparrow & Simons, Limestone Merchants + R. Hill, Shipbuilder.
1852 - Sparrow & Sons, Limestone Merchants + Richard Hill, Shipbuilder.
1867 - Sparrow Bros. & Scott, Limestone Merchants + Richard Hill & Son, Shipbuilders.
1873 - Sparrow Bros., Limestone Merchants + W.R. Hill, Shipbuilder.
1877 - Sparrow & Co., Limestone & Marble Merchants + R. Hills & Son - Shipbuilders.
1880  - Sparrow & Co., Limestone Merchants + R. Hills & Son - Shipbuilders.
1882  - B.L. & A. - Chemical Works + Sparrow & Co., Lime Merchants + R. Hills & Son - Shipbuilders + L. & S.W. Railway Goods Office.
1885  - B.L. & A. - Chemical Works + Sparrow & Co., Lime Merchant + R. Hills & Son - Shipbuilders.
1888  - B.L. & A. - Chemical Works + Sparrow & Co. - Lime and Cement Manufacturers; Tar Distilleries; Manure Manufacturers + Railway Goods Office.
1890 - Sparrow & Co., Limestone Merchants + Burnard & Alger Ltd.
1896 - Sparrow & Co., Limestone Merchants.
1903-1904  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chemical Manufacturers.
1913-1914  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chemical Fertiliser Manufacturers & Wharfmongers.
1920-1921  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chemical Works + F.J. Moore - Lime & Stone Works.
1923  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chemical Works + F.J. Moore - Lime & Stone Works. + Shell Mex Oil Co. Stores + Anglo American Oil Co.
1928  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chemical Works + F.J. Moore - Lime & Stone Works. + Shell Mex Oil Co. Stores + B.P. Oil Co.
1937  - Burnard & Alger Ltd. - Chem. Fertiliser Manuf. & Wharfmongers + Shell Mex Oil Co.
1938  - Shell Mex Oil Co. + B.P. Oil Co.
1939  - Shell Mex Oil Co. + B.P. Oil Co.

Current :  Cattedown Wharves Ltd., Cattedown Road, Cattedown, Plymouth PL4 0RP. (General Manager, Ms. Sue Smith.)

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