Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM CH FRS was unanimously elected as the first Patron of the Society for the History of Natural History at the Annual General Meeting held in Torquay on 15 May 2010.
In speaking of his new role Sir David wrote, “The subject is one that greatly interests me and I hope very much that I shall be able to attend some of the Society’s meetings. Thank you for suggesting such a delightful honour.”
A broadcaster and naturalist, his is the respected face and voice of natural history that has endured for more than 50 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine “Life” series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet. He is a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as Controller of BBC Two and Director of Programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sir David’s first job, after Cambridge University and two years in the Royal Navy, was at the London publishing house Hodder & Stoughton. In 1952 he joined the BBC as a trainee producer and it was while working on the “Zoo quest” series (1954–1964) that he had his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the globe to capture intimate footage of wildlife in its natural habitat.
SHNH President, Professor Geoff Moore, in speaking of the appointment said, “Sir David’s knowledge of the natural world is profound. We look forwards with great enthusiasm to his active involvement in the Society’s affairs as we seek to further our aims ‘to promote the historical and bibliographical study of the growth of all branches of natural history in all periods and cultures’.”
Photo: Sir David Attenborough OM CH FRS. © Elaine Shaughnessy