The Lapworth Museum contains approximately 12,000 minerals with many specimens displaying stunning colours, shapes and crystal forms.
The collections include material from famous geologists, scientists, collectors and mineral dealers, and there is a large amount of archival material associated with many of the individual collections and specimens.
The main collection of minerals contains a number of very important individual collections:
William Murdoch Collection
Murdoch (1754–1839) was an associate of James Watt and Mathew Boulton at the Soho works in Birmingham, and was a brilliant engineer and inventor.
He was the pioneer of gas lighting and also invented a steam driven carriage but, was discouraged from developing this further by Watt and Boulton so this invention, that pre-dated Trevithick’s locomotive by 20 years, went generally unnoticed.
From 1779, Murdoch was involved with the installation of Watt and Boulton’s steam engines in the mines of Cornwall, and during the years he spent there collected many Cornish minerals.
The mineral collection (1200 specimens), his desk/cabinet, and an inventory of his collection dated 1826, were purchased by the Museum in 1945.
This collection consists of approximately 1000 specimens from the collection of J.G. Goodchild (1844–1906) and his son William. J.G. Goodchild was a geologist with the Geological Survey for forty years and for much of that time mapped areas within, and neighbouring, the Lake District.
He amassed a large mineral collection, added to by his son who was also with the Geological Survey for a while, with particularly fine examples from the Lake District area.
Mr Robert Jasper More (d.1903) was an MP who lived near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. He collected mineral specimens from the old lead mines of South Shropshire. These were exhibited at the British Association meeting in Birmingham during 1886, after which they were loaned, and later donated to Mason College. The collection is quite small, but the specimens are particularly large and fine examples.