The Dinosaur Hunter
Reginald Walter Hooley was a wine merchant from Winchester with a passion for fossil collecting. He was born in Southampton and began searching out specimens on the Isle of Wight. In 1889, he found a part of a skeleton of Iguanodon bernissartensis, at Brighstone Bay, but his real success at the site came in 1914, when he found a new species which he named Iguanodon atherfieldensis (“Iguanodon from Atherfield”).
In 1913 he was elected to Winchester City Council and took an interest in libraries and museums. From 1918 until his death he was an Honorary Curator of the Winchester Museum and added to their collections through the donation of some of his fossils. The main part of his collections he sold to the Natural History Museum who described him as ‘an excellent example of the type of amateur geologist and palaeontologist who has done so much for science in this country’.
Hooley also collected from various sites around Hampshire, wrote papers on the geology of the county and extended his interest to include archaeology. By 1895 he was a member of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society and in 1921 he excavated an Iron Age site at Worthy Down, Winchester, which had come to light following the chance discovery of some ‘currency bars’ two years before when an aircraft hangar was being built on the airfield.
Sadly, Hooley’s untimely death prevented him from writing up the project but he did address the Society of Antiquaries on the original find in 1921, and a full report was published in his name in Volume 10 of the Field Club Proceedings in 1927.