Bidder, George Parker

George Parker Bidder

1863 - 1953

Name Variant(s): George Parker Bidder ScD (GPB III), GPB III,


Dr. George Parker Bidder (1863-1953), the Author of "Merlin's Youth" and other poems, was primarily a distinguished marine biologist whose main field of study was sponges. He was the grandson of the distinguished engineer of the same name who in later life was the partner and close friend of Robert Stephenson, but as a boy was even better known as a self taught prodigy in mental calculation, fully the equal of his contemporary Zerah Colbourn.

The grandson, Dr G. P. Bidder, not only made several important contributions to the study of sponges but also gave notable service to the general advancement of marine biology by active encouragement and support to the laboratories at Plymouth and Naples as well as specific assistance, such as the provision of a trawler for research purposes at Plymouth. His main scientific training had been at Cambridge where he made his home from 1902 for the rest of his life, becoming a well known figure in both the University and the town. He was unable to serve in the 1914-18 war because of earlier serious illness, but was therefore available to become the successful Chairman of the family owned colliery company after other relations had left for active service. Composing poetry became a relaxation for him, particularly in wartime. He appears in both the original and the new Dictionaries of National Biography. His obituary in The Times of London for 1 January 1954 concludes that his "departure many men and women in all branches of study and in all ranks of society will now most sorely regret."

Biography written by: E. F. Clark