Edmond Martin Venables 1901 - 1920 was a self-taught geologist fascinated by the natural history of Sussex from an early age. He explored the Bognor Regis coastline where London Clay (Eocene) is exposed under favourable tidal conditions. His first paper on this subject was published in 1929 and provided the earliest detailed account of the stratigraphy. Venables soon became an expert in identifying macro- and microfossils, and provided important contributions to the study of the British Tertiary. A lifetime of collecting and investigation followed and, by the time of his second major paper in 1963, he had refined the stratigraphy of the Bognor foreshore section, listed some 450 taxa, including many new forms of which one genus and 14 species were named after him. During his life, he donated some 14 000 specimens to the Natural History Museum, London, including an important collection of pyritized fossil beetles from the London Clay. Employed first as a fruit and poultry farmer and later as a local museum curator, Venables published very few papers in scientific journals but produced over 2500 articles on natural history as a journalist for the local newspaper.
This work was first presented orally at a joint meeting of the Geological Society of London History of Geology Group and the Geologists' Association, The Amateur in British Geology, held at the Geological Society, Burlington House, London, 14–15 March, 2002.
Location of plaque on sea wall near the Yacht Club