Making connections – the house that Gideon Mantell was born in

One of the great things about blogs are the connections that get made. For Te Papa this means we get new and interesting links to things in our collections.

The house in Lewes where Gideon Mantell was born in Feb 1790, as it looks today - in the snow, 2010. Copyright Debby Matthews.

Debby Mathews lives in Lewes, near Brighton in the south of England – in the same house in which Gideon Mantell was born, on 3 Feb 1790! The house is timber framed and dates back to 1700. Gideon’s father had a shoemaking workshop downstairs and the family lived upstairs.

What’s the connection? Well Debby saw our recent post about the fossil iguanodon tooth. It’s one of the most significant items in Te Papa’s collections and the topic of a recent Tales of Te Papa

Watch Tales of Te Papa – the iguanodon tooth

Gideon Mantell described the fossil in 1825 and it’s considered to be the very first fossil to be recognised as being from a dinosaur. On that basis, our resident geologist Hamish Campbell calls the fossil tooth “one of the holy grails of natural science”!

Find out more about the iguanodon tooth on Collections Online

Debby sent us a picture of the house the other day. It’s covered in snow right now, as the UK experiences one of the coldest winters in many years!

She is involved in celebrating the work of Gideon Mantell in his home town of Lewes, and organising events for 2010 to commemorate 220 years since his birth. We hope she’ll keep up the links with Te Papa and the famous iguanodon tooth that has journeyed all the way out to New Zealand and  into our collection.

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