S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Platt, Mr Ernest Edward (entomology, plant collection)

Born: 3 July 1874, Banbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
Died: 1966, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Ernest E. Platt, businessman and naturalist, came to South Africa from England in 1897 and settled in Durban where he founded the Electric Printing Works. In his spare time he bred caterpillars, built up a small but excellent collection, and studied their life history and particularly their food plants. He befriended Professor A.J.T. Janse*, who assisted him with the identification of his specimens. Platt published his findings in 'A list of food plants of South African lepidopterous larvae' in the South African Journal of Natural History (1921, Vol. 3(1), pp. 65-138). His notebooks went to the Transvaal Museum (now the Ditsong Museum of Natural History, Pretoria).

By 1906 Platt was a member of the (Durban, or Natal) Field Naturalists' Society. He became a foundation member of the South African Biological Society in 1916, and a foundation member of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa in 1937. At some time before 1919 he was elected a Fellow of the (British) Entomological Society (FES). His early interests included shooting, motoring, and philately. In later years he became interested in orchids and built up a large collection. He was married to Ethyl, born Shaw, who died in 1950.

List of sources:

In Memoriam: Ernest E. Platt. Journal of the Biological Society of South Africa, 1966, Vol. 7, p. 62.

Janse, A.J.T. The past and present state of entomological research in South Africa. South African Journal of Natural History, 1919, Vol. 1(2), 127-137.

Janse, A.J.T. Glimpses of the development of entomological science in South Africa. Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa, 1940, Vol. 3, pp. 1-8.

Mansell, M.W. The Entomological Society of Southern Africa; a historical review. African Entomology, 1993, Vol. 1(1), pp. 109-120.

Natal who's who. Durban, 1906.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm.

South African Journal of Natural History, 1918, Vol. 1(1), pp. 8-15: Roll of Foundation Members [of the SA Biological Society]; 1921, Vol. 3(1), paper by E.E. Platt.

Compiled by: C. Plug