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Celebrating Hampshire's Historians

Calkin, John Bernard

28 April 1892 – June 1972

Bernard was the eldest of seven children born to Harry and Margaret Calkin, of Hampstead, London.  He was educated at Westminster and Jesus College, Cambridge, obtaining a first in theology and winning the University Hebrew Prize and the Keller Prize.  As he was a Westminster King's Scholar, he attended the Coronation of King George 5th in 1911 and was one of the boys who shouted the traditional ‘Vivat’.

He continued his education by crossing to New York in September 1919 and obtaining an MA at Columbia University before returning home.  His registration as a teacher took place in March 1921 and posts at Rottingdean, Bembridge, Isle of Wight and Wychwood School, Bournemouth (1924 - 48) followed.

Calkin’s interest in archaeology was well served by his tenure in Bournemouth and he was able to catalogue much of the material unearthed during the rapid expansion of Bournemouth and Christchurch (then in Hampshire). He was instrumental in ordering and organising the Druitt Collection (see Herbert Druitt) which resided in various repositories in Christchurch and also made a particular study of the Isle of Purbeck (Dorset).

Calkin’s expertise led to his being elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and the British Museum holds a significant collection accumulated by him.  He published more than 40 papers and pamphlets.  In 1933, he married Eileen Frost of Wimborne; they had two sons.


  • Calkin family history


John Calkin

Contribution to county’s history

Calkin kept a watchful eye over the development of Christchurch and Bournemouth and was instrumental in arranging expert involvement (the Piggotts etc). His particular interest was in early prehistory, but he broadened this to cover many aspects of local history.

Relevant published works

  • Calkin, 1954, Bronze implements, hoards of coins etc from around Bournemouth, Proc Bournemouth Nat Science Soc XLIII

  • Calkin, 1962, The Bournemouth Area in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, with the ‘Deverel-Rimbury’ problem reconsidered Archaeol Journ 119, 1-91.

  • Calkin, 1966, Discovering Prehistoric Bournemouth and Christchurch

  • Calkin, 1980, Prehistoric Bournemouth and Christchurch, with a reference to the Roman occupation

Critical Comments

Other Comments


Dave Allen 3 April, 2022


Bournemouth, Christchurch, prehistory

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