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The Lubbocks were a wealthy banking family, active in science, who lived near Charles Darwin in Kent. As a youth John Lubbock after Eton actively self-educated himself mainly in natural history with, as the publication of Darwin's letters shows, a close friendship with the great biologist at the time of his studies in evolution. These of course showed a vast period of prehistory for man. This book recounts how this influenced Lubbock with his invention of 'prehistoric archaeology' and to some extent anthropology, although he was always primarily a biologist, almost a household name in Victorian times. His considerable activities in Parliament from 1870 where we owe to him the birth of 'bank holidays', and his enormously popular 'essays' in later life are described. He was very much the Victorian polymath!
Born in London with infancy in Bengal, Dr Thompson took a history exhibition to Pembroke College Cambridge, where he did a PhD on the Mesolithic in Spain. Subsequently he served as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in London for 20 years and 10 years as Head of the Branch in Cardiff. The list of his books show his varied archaeological interests: first in Russian translations, then on medieval architecture (his professional job), then after the discovery of the notebooks of General Pitt-Rivers on the influence of Darwin's evolutionary theory on Victorian archaeology, virtually the creation of prehistoric archaeology. This is the main theme in the present book, not neglecting Lubbock's other activities, particularly in Parliament for it is on his creation of 'bank holidays' that he is best known.