Stay in the loop
Plymouth - Britain's Ocean City Plymouth Newsroom, latest news and information Zinio magazines


Mail :
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
Phone :
01752 304774
Email :
Fax :
01752 304775



Time for big decisions

George Carter Bignell (1826 to 1910)

"The reputation of the late Mr G C Bignell as an entomologist is too well known to need any comment of mine…"
Hodgson, 1917

George Carter Bignell GC Bignell's bookplate

Left: George Carter Bignell.
Right: Bignell's bookplate design. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

G C Bignell, pictured above, was born in Exeter on 1 March 1826. He lived in Stonehouse, Plymouth and Saltash, Devon.

Looking for adventure, Bignell enlisted in the Royal Marines in 1842, where he stayed for 22 years. He left the Royal Marines with the rank of barrack sergeant.

After retiring from the Royal Marines, he was appointed Registrar of Births and Deaths for Stonehouse and Poor Law Officer for the Stonehouse Board of Guardians. These jobs left him enough free time to pursue his real passion; entomology.

He joined the Plymouth Athenaeum where he met many other entomologists. He wrote numerous articles for The Entomologist Magazine, the Young Naturalist and the Transactions of the Plymouth Institution.

Bignell became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society in 1880. It is very possible that Bignell was acquainted with another of Plymouth Museum's important collectors; James Higman Keys. Both were keen entomologists; both lived in Plymouth; they were both fellows of the Royal Entomological Society and J H Keys printed Bignell’s bookplate, shown above.

G C Bignell passed away on the morning of his 84th birthday in 1910.

Return to the G C Bignell Entomology collection page for more information about the collection.