19 June 2010

Miriam Rothschild and Ashton, Northamptonshire

Dame Miriam Louisa Rothschild (1908—2005) was a zoologist, entomologist, and author born in the small village of Ashton, near Oundle, in Northamptonshire. As a young child, she collected beetles, caterpillars, and took a quail to bed with her. Although the flea is perhaps the animal she is most noted for her great knowledge of - she made original researches into their jumping mechanism and their reproductive habits.

Perhaps understandably, the village remembers her most by its pub, The Checkered Skipper, named after the butterfly reproduced on the inn sign: they're so much sexier than fleas.

Rothschild was a vegetarian, an atheist, a teetotaller, make-up-free, and a rather eccentric dresser, at a time when her position would perhaps have expected conformity.

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