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Dr Frederic L Vanderplank (1914-1993) was a Bristol University graduate who spent his professional life as an entomologist and biologist at Bristol Zoo and on foreign service in Africa where he specialised in tsetse-fly research. Among his many outside interests was seismology, and he operated an extremely well-equipped observatory at his Bristol home between 1932 and 1939. A fuller history of his observatory can be viewed in report WL/99/13 on UK Historical Seismological Observatories (pre-1970), available for download from the NSA reports page.

Dr Vanderplank's work was not published, so was unknown to the seismological community until mid-1998 when correspondence and some of his macroseismic observations were found in the ATJ Dollar papers in the NSA. Since then, his sons (Messrs. J & A Vanderplank) have examined his remaining papers and kindly allowed copies of his scrapbook and some photographs to be made for the NSA. They have been included in the online NSA searchable database.