Some of the collections listed below are not strictly within Essex, but in all cases they are close, and are included here because of the outstanding specimens that they contain.
Centre for Biodiversity and Geodiversity
The Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park,
Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, Basildon SS16 4UH
The Essex Field Club’s Centre for Biodiversity and Geodiversity in Pitsea holds the club’s large Essex natural history collections which include a fine selection of Essex minerals, rocks and fossils. The centre is the culmination of an aspiration born in the early 1990s when the club had to step in after the closure of the Passmore Edwards Museum in Stratford and save the collections that its members had accumulated over the club’s long history since 1880. A small number of specimens are currently on display but it is hoped that more will be accessible in the long term. The centre is currently open during weekends and certain other days with volunteer help – check online.
Chelmsford City Museum
Oaklands Park, Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 9AQ. Telephone: 01245 605700.
The museum holds a large geological collection in storage. A few specimens are on show in a gallery with a tactile geological column wall display. Showcases plus video displays summarise a geological and archaeological history of Essex and the ice age. There is a large puddingstone, discovered locally, with an explanatory signboard outside the museum along the driveway.
A reference specimen cabinet has a useful display of rocks, pebbles and fossils found in Essex. It is there to help people wishing to identify their own specimens. For access to the cabinet, ask at the museum front desk. The cabinet was put together and donated by Essex Rock and Mineral Society; it includes specimens that were formerly on public display in the museum’s geology room.
Colchester Natural History Museum
High Street, Colchester, CO1 1DN.
Telephone: 01206 282941
A range of fossils and other useful geological specimens is on public display in the gallery. The museum holds a large geological collection in storage.
High St, Ipswich IP1 3QH. Telephone: 01473 433551
A gallery contains a display of Suffolk geology and some important specimens that demonstrate Suffolk and Essex geology; an online database provides many images of the museum’s excellent storage collections of fossils and other geological materials, many of which are relevant to Essex geology. The museum galleries are currently (2022) scheduled for thematic redevelopment.
Saffron Walden Museum
Museum Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1JL.
Telephone: 01799 510333
The museum holds a large geological collection and has a purpose-built geology gallery with good examples of fossils, explanations and displays of geological history, a replica of the Ashdon Meteorite and, outside the museum entrance, an enormous glacial erratic of a Jurassic septarian concretion.
Southend Central Museum
Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6ES.
Telephone: 01702 434449
The thematic display includes a few geological and mineral specimens. A large collection of geological specimens is in storage; this includes the south Essex mineralogy collection of the former Passmore Edwards Museum. These can be visited and seen on request by researchers. There is no enquiry service.
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ.
Telephone: 01223 333456
One of the world’s major collections of fossils, including many useful examples on display. Museum staff are willing to help with the identification of fossils, and to advise on their treatment and care.