‘Numquam aliud natura, aliud sapentia dicit’
Beneath a shield with the fleur-de-lys of Wakefield at its centre and a daisy, a beetle, a bird and a microscope in the quarters around it, the motto of the Wakefield Naturalists’ and Philosophical Society, a quotation from Juvenal’s Satires, translates as:
‘Never does nature say one thing and wisdom say another’
Wisdom wasn’t always the first consideration for the enthusiastic naturalists of the 1880s; at a summer field meeting in 1881, the president of the Society was bitten by an adder as he attempted to pick it up.
Later that year an ambitious Exhibition of Science and Fine Art, intended to be a fundraiser for the Nats and a benefit to the town, was destined to leave an enormous hole in the balance sheet of the Society, as detailed in the Twelfth Annual Report of 1883.