Thomas Stanley Westoll

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Prof Thomas Stanley Westoll, FRS [1] FRSE, FGS FLS LLD (3 July 1912 – 19 September 1995) was a British geologist, and the long-time head of the Department of Geology at Newcastle University.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Newcastle University university in England, United Kingdom

Newcastle University is a public research university in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. The university can trace its origins to a School of Medicine and Surgery, established in 1834, and to the College of Physical Science, founded in 1871. These two colleges came to form one division of the federal University of Durham, with the Durham Colleges forming the other. The Newcastle colleges merged to form King's College in 1937. In 1963, following an Act of Parliament, King's College became the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


Education and career

He was born in West Hartlepool the son of Horace Stanley Raine Westoll. He was educated at the West Hartlepool Grammar School. He then studied Sciences on a scholarship at Durham University, specialising in geology and palaeontology, graduating BSc in 1932. [2]

West Hartlepool western part of the borough of Hartlepool in North East England

West Hartlepool refers to the western part of what has since the 1960s been known as the borough of Hartlepool in North East England. It was originally formed in 1854 as the result of the opening of seaside docks and railways that connected the docks to cities to the east and west.

Durham University collegiate public research university in Durham, England, United Kingdom

Durham University is a collegiate public research university in Durham, North East England, founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1837. It was one of the first universities to commence tuition in England for more than 600 years, after Oxford and Cambridge, and is one of the institutions to be described as the third-oldest university in England. As a collegiate university its main functions are divided between the academic departments of the university and its 16 colleges. In general, the departments perform research and provide teaching to students, while the colleges are responsible for their domestic arrangements and welfare.

Continuing as a postgraduate he gained his first doctorate (PhD) in 1934 from research on Permian fishes. In 1937 he began lecturing in Geology and Mineralogy at Aberdeen University, his central interest being the study of fossil fish. In 1943 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Robert MacFarlane Neill, Thomas Phemister, Ernest Cruickshank, and James Robert Matthews. Aberdeen University awarded him his second doctorate (DSc). [3]

Royal Society of Edinburgh academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.

Prof Thomas Crawford Phemister FRSE FGS (1902–1982) was a 20th-century Scottish geologist.

Ernest William Henderson Cruickshank FRSE LLD (1888–1964) was a Scottish physician and physiologist. He was author to several textbooks concerning nutrition.

In 1948 he left Aberdeen to return to England as Professor of Geology at the University of Newcastle, staying there until his retirement in 1977. In retirement he remained as a research fellow and Chairman of Convocation. [4]

University of Newcastle can refer to:

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in March 1952. [1] [5] The citation on his application read: "Westoll is a palaeontologist who by his description of new materials and by the introduction of new and fertile ideas into the interpretation of the structure of early fossil vertebrates has greatly increased our understanding of the problems they present. He has introduced new views about the origins of the pectoral fins of craniates and of the Tetrapod limb. He has clarified our ideas about the homologies of the dermal skull bones of vertebrates and made a new and convincing comparison between the skulls of Amphibia and Fish. He has made important contributions towards the solution of the old problems of the origin of the mammalian palate and ear. His monograph of the Haplolepidae sets a new standard for taxonomic work on fossil fish". [6]

He was on the council of the Royal Society and from 1972 to 1974 was President of the Geological Society of London.

He died in Newcastle upon Tyne on 19 September 1995.


He married twice: firstly in 1939 to Dorothy Cecil Isobel Wood, then, following divorce in 1951, in 1952 he married Florence Swanston McAdie. [7]

Research interests

His research interests were wide-ranging, but he is best known for his work on the evolution of fish. The development of the tetrapod limb and issues with the Silurian-Devonian boundary were some of the topics which occupied him. Throughout a long academic career he made forceful and important contributions in these and other fields


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  1. 1 2 Patterson, C.; Fortey, R. A. (1999). "Thomas Stanley Westoll. 3 July 1912--19 September 1995: Elected F.R.S. 1952". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society . 45: 531. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0035.
  2. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   978-0-902198-84-5.
  3. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   978-0-902198-84-5.
  4. "Thomas Stanley Westoll" (PDF). Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  5. "Lists of Royal Society Fellows 1660-2007ll". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  6. "Library and Archive Catalog". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 20 July 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   978-0-902198-84-5.