John Charles Melliss

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John Charles Melliss (23 January 1835 – 23 August 1910) was a notable British engineer and amateur naturalist.


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He was born on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. His father, Lieutenant G.W. Melliss, was an officer of the St Helena Artillery. After training as an engineer, and serving as an officer in the Royal Engineers, he was appointed as government surveyor in St Helena from 1860 to 1871. In 1871, because of government cutbacks, he was made redundant and returned to London, where he subsequently formed the firm of J.C. Melliss and Co.

In 1875, he published the book for which he is best known: St. Helena: A Physical, Historical and Topographical Description of the Island, Including the Geology, Fauna, Flora and Meteorology.

To commemorate the book's centenary in 1975, the St. Helena Post Office published a series of stamps.


Joseph Dalton Hooker named the plant genus Mellissia in his honour.

The Silver Eel (Ariosoma mellissii), also known as the Melliss's Conger was named for him by Albert Gunther.[1]


  1. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (22 September 2018). "Order ANGUILLIFORMES: Families MURAENESOCIDAE, NETTASTOMATIDAE, CONGRIDAE, MORINGUIDAE, CYEMATIDAE, NEOCYEMATIDAE, MONOGNATHIDAE, SACCOPHARYNGIDAE, EURYPHARYNGIDAE, NEMICHTHYIDAE, SERRIVOMERIDAE and ANGUILLIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 1 March 2021.

Further information[edit]

Melliss's son, H.J. Melliss, joined his father's company (later named Melliss and Partners following a partnership with H.R. Smart). He worked for the company until 1955.

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