Local Heroes - The Champion Family of Horsell


The Champion family of Horsell – from insects to tigers

George Charles Champion (1851-1927), his wife Adelaide, and their sons Harry, Frederick and Reginald, moved to Horsell in 1893. George travelled extensively, and during four years in Guatemala and Panama collected 17,500 species of beetle, many previously unrecorded. He then edited and co-wrote several volumes of the monumental 58-volume ‘Biologia Centrali-Americana’. His collections in the Natural History Museum are still being worked on today. 

Harry Champion (1891-1979) graduated from Oxford and went to India as a Forestry Officer, becoming Deputy Conservator of Forests. He briefly became a lecturer in silviculture at Oxford, and then a silviculturist at the Forest Research Institute, in Dehra Dun, India, before returning to Oxford in 1938 to become Professor of Forestry until his retirement in 1959, being awarded the C.I.E. and a knighthood.

Frederick Champion (1893-1970) also graduated from Oxford and travelled to India.  After serving in WW1 on the North-West Frontier, he gained a scholarship to study Forestry at Oxford before returning to India to work as a Forestry Officer.  

Reginald Champion (1895-1917) gained a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, and had four published articles on insects to his name after only a year at university. He then took up a commission in the Scots Guards, being killed in action at Ypres in 1917. 

Frederick’s grandson, James Champion, continues the family interest in creatures great and small, and his travels in his forebears' footsteps can be discovered on his website, www.james-champion.com.

Discover more about the Champion Family at the current Local Heroes display within Woking's Story.

Images: The Champion Family, Tiger photographed by Frederick Champion (1927), Snake photographed by one of the Champion boys on Horsell Common (c.1910).

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