Brighton’s Booth’s Butterfly Book Bonanza

Posted On 26 May 2017 at 12:51 am

Authors Michael Blencowe & Neil Hulme signing a copy of The Butterflies of Sussex

Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton 25.5.17

A very special event has taken place at 194 Dyke Road on Thursday 25th May. After eight years in the making A Twenty-First Century Atlas entitled The Butterflies of Sussex was officially launched at the fantastic Booth Museum of Natural History.

The museum, which first opened its doors in 1874, was specifically chosen because of the assistance they have given to Sussex Butterfly Conservation over that period and the fact that they have a second-to-none collection of over 650 types of butterfly on display.

Naturalist and avid collector Edward Thomas Booth donated the museum to the city in 1890 and it was opened under Brighton civic ownership a year later. The museum is totally free to visit but donations are greatly received.

The witty presentation

Around 120 modern day naturalists were in attendance for this auspicious occasion, including both authors of this butterfly bible, namely Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme. Both authors recalled the pains of completing such a task and recounted several amusing stories with the aid of a specially produced video and slides were also shown.

Michael and Neil are extremely proactive with their wildlife work (which obviously includes their beloved butterflies) and both have appeared in magazines and newspapers and on television and radio – they are the go-to experts in their field.

I love Bruce`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Michael (who could make a fortune as a guest speaker, is a very likeable fellow indeed) has volunteered for Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch for the past nine years as Conservation Officer and part of his role is to organise butterfly walks, which I have had the pleasure of attending, when we located the rare Grayling.

My photo of a Grayling butterfly taken on one of Michael’s walks

Michael’s paid job is the People and Wildlife Officer for the Sussex Wildlife Trust (where his wife Claire now also works) and he can add BBC TV’s Springwatch onto his CV too.

Testing, testing, one, two, one, two

Neil Hulme (is another likeable fellow) who’s father sowed the butterfly bug into his son at a young age in the 1960’s, so there isn’t really much that Neil doesn’t know about these wonderful colourful insects. Neil has served the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation in several roles during the years, is currently employed part-time under the Fritillaries for the Future Project. I have had the pleasure of attending his exceptional Purple Emperor butterfly walk and his Brown Hairstreak amble too.

My Purple Emperor photo taken on one of Neil’s butterfly walks

He was recently featured on a national television programme about our nations love of butterflies with fellow enthusiast Matthew Oates, who has written the foreword for the book.

My Brown Hairstreak photo taken on one of Neil’s walks

The new hardback book is an impressive 326 pages long and is filled with spectacular photographs throughout and is crammed full of fascinating information on where to locate each and everyone of our Sussex butterfly species. I have waited several years for something like this to come along that is totally relevant to where I live. This book is a must for people from 10 to 100 years old, there is so much to learn.

For more information on the Booth Museum of Natural History, visit:

Further details about Sussex Butterflies go to:

The Butterflies of Sussex book can be ordered here:

The Butterflies of Sussex book which shows our 53 species


  1. Colin Knight Reply

    Thanks Nick, you summed up a wonderful evening at the Booth Museum. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the occasion. We are still talking about another informative and entertaining Michael Blencowe performance as he recounted the pain and joy of a chunk of his and Clare’s life creating the Atlas.


      Thank you very much Colin. As you say it was most enjoyable and in such great company too.

  2. Nigel Symington Reply

    Great article Nick, so glad you could come along and hope you enjoyed the evening


      Hello Nigel, Yes it was very entertaining! I wonder what Michael and Neil are going to do in their spare time now? Spare time they shout! Nick

  3. Andrea Gibbs Reply

    Delighted to have a copy of this book in my hands as it just a brilliant read! Easy to dip in and out of, or to read non-stop.
    Great to hear the launch went so well – the museum is so fascinating and well worth a visit – congratulations to the whole team of authors, editors, supporters, printers, photographers and conservationists – I’ll be looking for our lovely butterflies around Sussex with this book by my side. 🤗


      Here! Here! Andrea. Nick

  4. Neil Hulme Reply

    Thanks for coming along and for the coverage, Nick. And thanks to all who attended the event or purchased the book. All profits go towards saving the precious butterflies of Sussex.

    • Nick Linazasoro Reply

      It was a pleasure Neil. A very enjoyable and worthwhile evening. Thank you.

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