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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Johnson   11 February 1882

Trindle Road Dudley

Feby 11th. 1882.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your kind reply of the 7th. inst. The Slab is on its way to the address you gave, where it will reach on Monday evening I should expect.1

If you will set the packing case against the wall & take out the screws the slab will have its back towards you and then a couple of stout men will easily wriggle it out of the case. The face of the slab rests upon cut chaff.

I hope you will receive it quite safe and sound.

If you attempt to carry it by the four corners in a horizontal position I should be afraid it would break through the middle.

I have enclosed you a few particulars of it & shall be glad to hear from you whether it is worth your acceptance.

I will communicate with your friend Proffessor Judd and thank you very much for permission to use your name.2

I am, | Dear Sir, | Yours faithfully, | Hy. Johnson

Charles Darwin Esq. FRS &c.


Annelid Slab.

The slab is from the Coal Measures of the South Staffordshire Coal field and lies about the centre of the Coal-field.

The Bed from which it was taken is peculiar there being no other like it in the Coal field. It is highly adapted for grinding edge tools, cutlery, and used largely at Sheffield and such Towns and indeed over the civilized World. The power in cutting even steel is immense—

The Bed lies about 12 yds above the “Thick or 10 yard Coal” is itself about 10 yds thick and has a bearing of soil & Red & Yellow Clay of about 6 yds lying on the top of it.

The deposit of Rock is confined to a space of about 1 mile long, and about 50 to 60 yards wide, in the shape of a long narrow Boat slightly dipping all roads towards the centre.

The Slabs with the markings are often found about 2 or 3 inches thick but sometimes 12 a yard thick, & lie at different altitudes in the bed, but always with the markings upwards.—

The markings are associated in the same bed, but not in contact with (?) anthocosia & a few varieties of ferns, but are of very rare occurance and in a somewhat imperfectly preserved state.

H. J. Feby 11th. 1882.


See letter to Henry Johnson, 7 February 1882. CD had accepted Johnson’s offer of a slab of sandstone with fossil annelid worm tracks.
CD had suggested that Johnson contact John Wesley Judd to recommend someone who could speak to the Dudley Institute of Mining Engineers (see letter to Henry Johnson, 7 February 1882 and n. 2).


Slab with annelid tracks being sent. Memorandum enclosed describing bed from which it came.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Johnson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146: 469
Physical description
C 1p encl

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13677,” accessed on 21 June 2024,