The Witham Trustees were alerted to inaccuracies on the blue plaque on The Witham Testimonial building in 2011.
The first inaccuracy related to Henry’s academic interests. The original plaque referred to Henry as an “eminent geologist” and “founder member of the Royal Geological Society”. Henry is more accurately described as a paleobotanist, as he studied fossil plants found buried in sediments and rocks. However, the rather murky story of Henry's scientific career has recently been revealed thanks to Dr Howard Falcon-Lang, a Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London; to find out more click here
The second inaccuracy relates to the fact the original plaque described Henry as a “founder member of the Royal Geological Society”. The Royal Geological Society should in fact be The Geological Society, of which Henry Witham was a member but importantly not a founder member.
Working closely with local historian Alan Wilkinson, just before his death in 2013, various archives and articles were subsequently researched to check the facts and a new inscription was drafted and agreed. The Witham then approached Barnard Castle Town Council and they agreed to help fund the replacement of the plaque.
The Blue Plaque scheme, managed by the Town Council, commemorates prominent persons who lived and/or worked in the Town. There are 21 plaques throughout the town and you can tour them all with an accompanying leaflet, written by local historian, Alan Wilkinson available from the Visitor Information Point and to download from here.