Frank Buckland (1826-1880) was a keen naturalist, prolific writer, campaigner against river pollution, and researcher on fish-culture and fish farming. In 1865, he established the UK’s first fisheries museum, the Museum of Economic Fish Culture, in South Kensington, London and was made Fish Culturist to the Queen in the same year. He was appointed Inspector of Fisheries in 1867.
Frank Buckland's Museum of Economic Fish Culture
Buckland was well travelled in his role as Inspector and a regular visitor to Scotland where many of his specimens were collected. He is an important figure in the history of fisheries research, acclimatisation, conservation and a larger-than-life, often eccentric, character.
Did you, as a child, play with a dead alligator? Have you fed brandy to a porpoise, or tasted a Japanese sea-slug? Frank Buckland did all of these and more in his attempts to satisfy his endless curiosity about the world around him. Despite his unorthodox methods, he was highly regarded as a scientist.
After his death, interest in his Museum waned and, over time, many of the artefacts deteriorated. In 1968 what remained of the collection (including 45 plaster casts and a marble bust of Frank Buckland (sculpted by J. Warrington Wood, Rome 1882), latterly added to the collection by public subscription, was transferred to the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Selected items are on show in our “Fishing into the Future Gallery”.
You can also see some of the impressive fish casts in our online gallery.
The museum is also the registered office of the Buckland Foundation, a group dedicated to supporting contemporary fisheries science, and hosts the annual Buckland Lecture.
Buckland instigated a series of annual Christmas lectures - aimed at the general public, these were incredibly popular and were a way for Buckland to share his flair for presentation and passion for scientific research with a wide audience.
Join author and Buckland biographer Michael Stephen Clark as he transports us back to Buckland’s world. Click to view the video lecture (duration 18 minutes).