Thomas Wardle was an enthusiastic geologist and palaeontologist. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society, who wrote authoritively on the subject. John Sleigh’s “History of the Ancient Parish of Leek,” published in 1862 has a learned chapter on the geology of Leek and District written by Wardle. He generously gave his splendid collection of carboniferous limestone fossils to the Nicholson Institute, which was later acquired by the City Museum and Art Gallery. The large fossil slab situated at the entrance to the Nicholson Institute is part of this collection.
Wardle was an active member of The North Staffordshire Field Club, formerly the North Staffordshire Naturalist’s Field Club and Archaeological Society, holding office as President and Vice president for almost 40 years.
Transactions of the Field Club record projects undertaken by Wardle include:-
- Geology of the Roches (1868)
- Geology of the Ashbourne and Buxton Branch of the London and North-Western Railway (1899)
- Diggings in Old Hannah’s Cave in the Redhurst Valley near Wetton (1899)
He also wrote : –
- A Paper on the Geology of the Neighbourhood of Leek
- A Paper on the Geology of Shuttlingslowe and the District
- Limestone; it’s Occurrence, Nature and Origin
- The Yoredale Rocks and the Carboniferous Limestone
- Geology of Mid-England.
- The Geology of Kashmir (address to NSFC 1903)
In 1895 his anniversary address to the Field Club was entitled “The Entomology and Uses of Silk”, a subject close to his heart. Two years later “The Jolliffe family and Their House at Leek” was his chosen subject.
Many of his pamphlets on a range of subjects can be seen in the local studies room in Leek Library.