Access to Archives

Part of the UK archives network

The Papers of Lt.Colonel Robert Beresford Seymour Sewell


The entire contents of this catalogue are shown below. Browse the hierarchical structure instead

Reference Z MSS SEW
Covering dates 1880-1964
Held by Natural History Museum
Extent 9 boxes and two folders
Source of acquisition The collection was received in November 1961 as a donation from Colonel Sewell, with the exception of A61 and A62 which were received by the Museum in 1964 from the Trustee Department of Westminster Bank limited, St Albans, Hertfordshire.
Creators Sewell, Robert Beresford Seymour, 1880-1964, Lieutenant Colonel, Zoologist
Arrangement The collection was not received in its original order and the papers have been arranged into appropriate classes of related records. In some cases, files containing a mixture of unrelated papers have been preserved in the order in which they were received, where it appears to be the order adopted by Sewell.
Related information Related papers on the John Murray Expedition are held in the Keeper of Zoology's archive (DF215).

Administrative history:
Robert Beresford Seymour Sewell was born in 1880 at Leamington, Warwickshire, the son of Reverend Arthur Sewell and Mary Lee Waring. The family moved to Weymouth during his childhood and Sewell attended Weymouth College before studying zoology at University College London for six months. In 1903, he received a 'Double First' from Christ's College, Cambridge, and in 1905 he entered St Bartholomew's Hospital to become qualified MRCS and LRCP in October 1907.
In 1908, Sewell entered the Indian Medical Service. In 1910, he became Surgeon-Naturalist to the Marine Survey of India and Honorary Assistant Superintendent in the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum in Calcutta. From 1911 to 1913 he was seconded to the Calcutta Medical College as Professor of Biology.
Sewell married in 1914 and served as a Port Health Officer in Aden during the First World War. After the war, Sewell returned to his post as Superintendent of the Zoological Survey in India. In 1925, he was appointed Director of the Zoological Survey and Head of the Indian Museum. In 1933, he retired from the Indian Medical Service after 25 years.
In 1933 and 1934, Sewell was Scientific Leader of the John Murray Expedition. The expedition began on the 3 September 1933 in Alexandria as a joint Anglo-Egyptian project. It was financed largely from a bequest of £20,000 from the celebrated oceanographer, John Murray (1841-1914). The John Murray Committee was set up in 1932 to agree upon plans for the expedition. The expedition was undertaken on the Egyptian ship, HEMS Mabahiss. It was a voyage that took the ship through the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the northwestern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. The expedition ended nine months later at Alexandria.
The aim of the voyage was to collect data on the ocean environment and to record species of marine life. Data was collected from 209 scientific stations and samples were brought back to England. The data formed the basis of a series of Scientific Reports published between 1935 and 1967 by the British Museum (Natural History). These are now held in the Natural History Museum Zoology Library (ref. 0.72.A.a.qB). After the expedition, Sewell returned to work in the Department of Zoology at Cambridge. From the late 1930's, Sewell dedicated his work to the publication of the Expedition Reports, to his taxonomic research, and to editorship of the Fauna of India until his death in 1964 at the age of 83. In 1946, Sewell had returned to India as an adviser on the reconstruction of the Zoological Survey and the creation of the Anthropological Survey and of the Central Fisheries Research Institute.

Contents:
The records of the John Murray Expedition constitute the bulk of the collection. It contains records of the work carried out at scientific stations along the route of the expedition, in the form of station records and station lists. The daily journal, written by Colonel Sewell, is particularly useful as a detailed narrative of the expedition. Sewell hoped to have the journal published but his efforts were not rewarded by the willingness of publishers. Eventually, the narrative did appear, in the publication edited by A.L.Rice (reference below).
A Records of the John Murray Expedition of 1933-1934
Papers of the John Murray Expedition Committee
Log books of HEMS Mabahiss
Trawling and dredging registers of HEMS Mabahiss
Station records
Station lists
Scientific data
Scientific data collected by vessels and organisations supporting the expedition
Journals
Scientific Reports: notes and drafts
Charts
Photographs
Newspaper and journal cuttings
Correspondence
B Records relating to scientific research in the Indian Ocean
C Records relating to Sewell's zoological and administrative work in India
D Committees, Associations and other scientific work



Records of the John Murray Expedition of 1933-1934  [no ref. or date]

Papers of the John Murray Expedition Committee  [no ref. or date]

Minutes of the Committee meeting, re the bequest of £20,000 from the late Sir John Murray  Z MSS SEW/A1  1932 Jun 15

Proposed plans of work for the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A2  [c.1932]

Report by Sewell on his visit to Copenhagen to investigate the use of the ship Dana for the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A3  [c.1932]

Written plans for the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A4  [1932 Aug]

Memorandum for discussion re the aims of the expedition, by J.S.Gardiner, Secretary of the Committee  Z MSS SEW/A5  Undated

Copy of a letter from J.S.Gardiner to the Committee re the offer of HEMS Mabahiss for the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A6  1932 Dec 9

Contents:
With enclosure

Minutes of the Committee, re various matters  Z MSS SEW/A7  1933 Jan 26

Memorandum to the Expedition Committee re the use of HEMS Mabahiss, the crew, and other matters  Z MSS SEW/A8  1933 Apr 4

Minutes of the Committee, re various matters  Z MSS SEW/A9  1933 Jun 20

Contents:
With enclosure

Extract letter from Colonel Sewell re the progress of preparations to the Mabahiss in Egypt  Z MSS SEW/A10  1933 Sept 2

Report from Sewell to the Committee, re the Mabahiss  Z MSS SEW/A11  1933 Sept 24

Letter from J.S.Gardiner re the Mabahiss (addressee not known)  Z MSS SEW/A12  [c.1933]

Summary of results re scientific observations of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the coast of East Africa, prepared by Sewell  Z MSS SEW/A13  1933 Oct 19

Report from Sewell to the Committee; on the expedition from Aden to Karachi  Z MSS SEW/A14  [1933 Nov]

Report from Sewell to the Committee; on the Persian leg of the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A15  [1933 Dec]

Report from Sewell to the Committee; on the voyage from Bombay to Mombasa, Kenya  Z MSS SEW/A16  1934 Jan 1

Report from Sewell to the Committee; on the voyage from Mombasa to Zanzibar, an island off the coast of eastern Africa  Z MSS SEW/A17  1934 Jan 25

Report from Sewell to the Committee; on the voyage from Zanzibar to Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), via the Seychelles  Z MSS SEW/A18  1934 Apr 13

Letter from J.S.Gardiner to the Committee re the progress of the expedition; enclosed with report from Sewell to the Committee  Z MSS SEW/A19  1934 Apr 10

Letter to the Committee re the findings of the expedition (author not known)  Z MSS SEW/A20  1934 May 10

Report from Sewell to the Committee; re the expedition from Colombo to Gulf of Aden, and other matters  Z MSS SEW/A21  1934 May 11

Minutes of the committee, re the costs of the expedition and other matters  Z MSS SEW/A22  1934 Oct 17

Letter (believed to be from J.S.Gardiner to members of the Committee) re the arrangement of post-expedition work and research projects  Z MSS SEW/A23  1934 Dec 3

List of suggested publications re the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A24  Undated

Log Books of HEMS Mabahiss  [no ref. or date]

Log Book No.1: for voyage from Alexandria to Bombay  Z MSS SEW/A25  1933 Sept 2-Dec 8

Log Book No.2: for voyage from Bombay to Colombo  Z MSS SEW/A26  1933 Dec 9-1934 Mar 24

Log Book No.3: for voyage from Colombo to Alexandria  Z MSS SEW/A27  1934 Mar 25-Jun 5

Engineer's Log Book No.1  Z MSS SEW/A28  1933 Aug 25-Oct 1

Engineer's Log Book No.2  Z MSS SEW/A29  1933 Oct 2-Nov 2

Engineer's Log Book No.3  Z MSS SEW/A30  1933 Nov 3-Dec 7

Engineer's Log Book No.4  Z MSS SEW/A31  1933 Dec 8-1934 Jun 5

Trawling and dredging registers of HEMS Mabahiss  [no ref. or date]

Trawling and Dredging register; includes notes on the species of marine life caught during the surveys  Z MSS SEW/A32  1933 Sept 6-1934 May 17

Duplicate copy of Trawling and Dredging register; includes typescript 'notes' of the marine life discovered at various stations  Z MSS SEW/A33  1933 Sept 6-1934 May 17


Related information: See also A49 for references to 'notes'

Station records  [no ref. or date]

Daily records of operations carried out at each station: stations 1-36  Z MSS SEW/A34  1933 Sept 6-Oct 17

Daily records of operations carried out at each station: stations 37-71  Z MSS SEW/A35  1933 Oct 17-Nov 26

Daily records of operations carried out at each station: stations 72-100  Z MSS SEW/A36  1933 Nov 26-Dec 25

Daily records of operations carried out at each station: stations 101-144  Z MSS SEW/A37  1933 Dec 27-1934 Mar 31

Daily records of operations carried out at each station: stations 145-185  Z MSS SEW/A38  1934 Mar 31-May 5

>Daily records of operations carried out at each station: for stations 186-209  Z MSS SEW/A39  1934 May 5-May 17

Motor boat station records; comprises two copies of station records; chart of Khorya Mhorya Islands, Arabia; chart of Minikoi, Maldives  Z MSS SEW/A40  1933 Sept 17-Oct 28

Station lists  [no ref. or date]

Manuscript station list; comprises data re stations A, 1-209, and observations by HMS Endeavour; includes data re the environmental conditions at each station; recorded on printed forms  Z MSS SEW/A41  1933 Sept 6-1934 May 17

Size: approx. 21" x 16"

Lists for stations A, 1-75; draft forms  Z MSS SEW/A42  1933 Sept 6-Nov 28

Lists for stations 76-125; draft forms  Z MSS SEW/A43  1933 Nov 29-1934 Jan 23

Lists for stations 126-209, MB1, MB2 (motor boat stations); draft forms  Z MSS SEW/A44  1933 Sept 17-1934 May 19

Station lists, with an explanatory introduction; 3 copies  Z MSS SEW/A45  [c.1934-1935]

Contents:
With enclosures; 2 copies of 'Notice to contributors' re scientific reports resulting from the expedition, by W.T.Calman, Keeper of Zoology, British Museum (Natural History)

Scientific data  [no ref. or date]

Lists and data re marine species found at stations; letter from Norman 1953] Tebble to Sewell re specimens; letter from C.C.A. Monro to Sewell re specimen collections; rough notes re marine life; leaflet entitled Introduction to Human Parasitology by H.W. Stunkard  Z MSS SEW/A46  [c.1933-

File marked 'General Notes' comprising; typescript notes and data re the Red Sea, Straits of Babelmandeb and the Gulf of Aden  Z MSS SEW/A47  [c.1933]

Typescript notes and data re salinity in the Gulf of Oman  Z MSS SEW/A48  [c.1933]

File containing; letter from J.R. Norman to Professor J.S.Gardiner re the enclosure of a list of fish held by the British Museum (Natural History); collection lists of fish discovered during the expedition with references to 'notes' contained in the duplicate trawling and dredging register  Z MSS SEW/A49  1933-1934


Related information: See also A.33 for 'notes'

Rough notes and illustrations of marine species  Z MSS SEW/A50  1933-1934

Typescript note on the fauna of the East African coast  Z MSS SEW/A51  [c.1934]

Contents:
With enclosure

Scientific data collected by vessels and organisations supporting the expedition  [no ref. or date]

Records of sea temperatures at Perim and Aden, Arabia; includes data collected by The Perim Coal Company Limited  Z MSS SEW/A52  1925-1934

Oceanographic statistical data collected by HMS Endeavour; observations of the marine environment by the Snellius Expedition in the Indian Ocean (1933), with two copies of covering letter from D.J.Matthews to J.S.Gardiner  Z MSS SEW/A53  1933-1934


Related information: See also A 76

Typescript water sampling data, with columns for bottle number, date, time of sampling, latitude, longitude, sea temperature, wind direction and wind force; for Bombay to Mombasa route  Z MSS SEW/A54  1933 Sept 7-1934 Sept 20

Typescript water sampling data, with columns for bottle number, date, time of sampling, latitude, longitude, sea temperature, wind direction and wind force; for Aden to Colombo route  Z MSS SEW/A55  1933 Sept 12-1934 Sept 11

Typescript water sampling data, with columns for bottle number, date, time of sampling, latitude, longitude, sea temperature, wind direction and wind force; for Aden to Bombay route  Z MSS SEW/A56  1933 Oct 2-1934 Aug 21

Typescript water sampling data, with columns for bottle number, date, time of sampling, latitude, longitude, sea temperature, wind direction and wind force; for Aden to Goa or Cochin route, and Aden to Karachi route  Z MSS SEW/A57  1933 Nov 8-1934 Sept 24

Envelope containing data re water samples collected by various merchant vessels; in support of the John Murray Expedition  Z MSS SEW/A58  1933-1934

Journals  [no ref. or date]

General account of the John Murray Expedition by Sewell; typescript draft copy in four parts, unbound  Z MSS SEW/A59  [c.1933-1934]

General account of the John Murray Expedition by Sewell; a revised typescript draft, unbound  Z MSS SEW/A60  Undated

General account of the John Murray Expedition by Sewell; final typescript copy, bound  Z MSS SEW/A61  Undated

Volume of mounted illustrations and photographs to accompany A.61  Z MSS SEW/A62  Undated

Scientific Reports: notes and drafts  [no ref. or date]

Cephalochordata by J.E.Webb, Department of Zoology, University College, Ibadan; typescript draft, with printed version  Z MSS SEW/A63  [c.1956]


Related information: See Reports, Vol 10, No.3, pp.121-128

The Sessile Tunicata by Patricia Kott, typescript draft  Z MSS SEW/A64  [c.1957]


Related information: See Reports, Vol 10, No.4, pp.129-149

Contents:
With enclosure

The Corycaeidae family of the Copepoda crustacean: typescript notes  Z MSS SEW/A65  Undated


Related information: See R.B.Seymour Sewell, 1947. The Free-Swimming Planktonic Copepoda Reports, Vol.8, No.1

The Eucalanidae species of the Copepoda crustacean: typescript notes  Z MSS SEW/A66  Undated


Related information: See R.B.Seymour Sewell, 1947. Ibid

The Copepoda and other crustaceans: notes and illustrations  Z MSS SEW/A67  Undated

Charts  [no ref. or date]

Charts of Maldives, Gulf of Aden, Mombasa and Zanzibar; five proof copies  Z MSS SEW/A68  Undated


Related information: See W I Farquharson, 1936. Topography. Reports, Vol.1, No.2, pp.43-61

Photographs  [no ref. or date]

Scientific staff and crew of HEMS Mabahiss  Z MSS SEW/A69  [c.1933-1934]

HEMS Mabahiss, her fittings and the equipment used during the expedition; in two envelopes  Z MSS SEW/A70  [c.1933-1934]

HEMS Mabahiss, the staff and crew, and various locations on the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A71  [c.1933-1934]

Locations visited on the expedition: prints and negatives  Z MSS SEW/A72  [c.1933-1934]

Marine views: prints and negatives  Z MSS SEW/A73  [c.1933-1934]

Illustrations of various marine species from the Reports, Vol.8, No.4; includes photograph of Jezirat Halaniya, Kuria Muria Islands, Arabia  Z MSS SEW/A74  Undated

Newspaper and journal cuttings  [no ref. or date]

Newspaper cuttings re the John Murray Expedition; includes cutting from The Geographical Journal  Z MSS SEW/A75  1933-1934

Correspondence  [no ref. or date]

Correspondence between Sewell and Commander Southern of HMS Endeavour, re water samples and records of sea temperature collected by Endeavour in support of the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A76  1933 Nov 22-1934 Mar 9


Related information: See also A.53

Correspondence between Sewell and Dr. Sydney Chaffers re the scientific samples and results of the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A77  1934 Jan 2-1946 Jul 13

Contents:
With enclosures; including a list of diatoms discovered on the expedition

Correspondence between Sewell and Dr.Gran re the scientific samples and results of the expedition; letter from Sewell to Professor Ruud re the work of Professor Gran and other matters  Z MSS SEW/A78  1934 Jan 7-1949 Sept 19

Letter from The Geographical Magazine to Captain Joyce re the decision not to publish an unidentified article; letter from Simpkin Marshall Limited, publishers, to Captain Ernest Joyce re the decision not to publish Sewell's book based on the expedition  Z MSS SEW/A79  1936 Mar 20-May 27

Records relating to scientific research in the Indian Ocean  [no ref. or date]

Scientific data of Indian Ocean around Maldive, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Bombay region; scientific observations of the Laccadive Sea; manuscript notes re scientific observations of sea water  Z MSS SEW/B1  1922-1924

Observations of sea water at Horsburgh Atoll, Maldive Islands: includes notes and graphs  Z MSS SEW/B2  1923-1924

Salinity of sea water at Addu atoll, Maldives: notes, graphs and other data  Z MSS SEW/B3  1923-1924

Record of observations on voyage from Laccadive Sea to eastern Indian Ocean  Z MSS SEW/B4  1933 Nov 27 - 1934 Feb 4

Records relating to Sewell's zoological and administrative work in India  [no ref. or date]

Observational data of the coastal waters near Bombay: one pocket book  Z MSS SEW/C1  1927 Jan 30 - Mar 31

The fauna of Hoogli River, India: manuscript notes and illustrations  Z MSS SEW/C2  1930-1931

Manuscript and typescript notes, illustrations and bibliographic references re various river species  Z MSS SEW/C3  Undated

Oceanic research in the Indian Seas: typescript notes  Z MSS SEW/C4  Undated

Papers re the establishment of a central marine biological station and an oceanographic institute in India; minutes of Oceanography Committee of the Central Board of Geophysics, with appendices; papers of Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations  Z MSS SEW/C5  1950-1954

Draft and editorial notes for The Fauna of India, edited by Sewell  Z MSS SEW/C6  Undated

Envelope comprising typescript list of illustrations, and photographic copies of illustrations published in The Fauna of India  Z MSS SEW/C7  Undated

Committees, Associations and other scientific work  [no ref. or date]

Report of the Oceanography and Fisheries Committee, British Commonwealth Scientific Official Conference: re Commonwealth co-operation in scientific research  Z MSS SEW/D1  1946

Printed

Obituary of Dr.Stanley Wells Kemp, marine biologist and adviser to the John Murray Expedition committee  Z MSS SEW/D2  1946

Correspondence between Sewell and W.H.Wilcockson, with notes for speakers at meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; notes re the floor of the Indian Ocean  Z MSS SEW/D3  1949

Papers of the British National Committee on the Nomenclature of Ocean Bottom Features, The Royal Society, London  Z MSS SEW/D4  1949-1954

Memorandum from the Meteorological Office to Sewell, re sea temperatures in the Gulf of Aden region; notes re air and sea temperatures off East African coast  Z MSS SEW/D5  [c.1952]

Memorandum for members of New Zealand Oceanographic Committee: reporting on work in progress  Z MSS SEW/D6  1953 Aug 25

'Life on a Coral Reef': manuscript notes; notes from bibliographic sources; photograph of a reef edge off Huludu (believed to be in Southern China)  Z MSS SEW/D7  Undated

The formation of the Arabian Sea: typescript and manuscript notes  Z MSS SEW/D8  Undated

Scientific notes and illustrations of various marine species; typescript notes on the fauna of the Gulf of Aden; rough notes on sand-dwelling Copepoda crustaceans  Z MSS SEW/D9  Undated

Lists of marine species discovered in the Indo-Pacific and East Pacific region, with comparisons to other marine environments  Z MSS SEW/D10  Undated

Notebook: includes rough notes re the Copepoda species of crustacean, statistical data on ocean temperatures, notes from bibliographic sources, and statistical tables of marine data  Z MSS SEW/D11  Undated

Chart of the Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, eastern South Atlantic Ocean, showing variations in ocean depth  Z MSS SEW/D12  Undated

Chart of the Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean, eastern South Atlantic Ocean, showing the material structure of ocean beds  Z MSS SEW/D13  Undated

Miscellaneous notes and illustrations  Z MSS SEW/D14  Undated

Photograph of unidentified persons (believed to be staff of the Department of Zoology, Cambridge, including Sewell)  Z MSS SEW/D15  Undated

Glass negative of an unidentified ship  Z MSS SEW/D16  Undated

The contents of this catalogue are the copyright of Natural History Museum
Rights in the Access to Archives database are the property of the Crown, © 2001-2014

The records described on this page are held by Natural History Museum