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Founders' Day Lecture and Dinner 2013

James Parkinson and the Founding of the Geological Society

At the age of 16, James Parkinson (1755-1824) was apprenticed to his father to learn the ‘art and mystery’ of being an apothecary. Living all his life in Hoxton, then a village on the outskirts of London, his pioneering work in medicine led to him identifying the Shaking Palsy as a distinct medical condition, which eventually became known as Parkinson’s disease.  His favourite past time, however, was collecting fossils. This talk will review Parkinson’s remarkable life, including his involvement in a plot to kill King George III, how he put the study of fossils on the scientific map of Britain through his three volume work Organic Remains of a Former World, and how his expertise as the country’s only ‘fossilist’ led to him becoming one of the 13 founders of the Geological Society.


Dr Cherry Lewis (University of Bristol)

As a young girl at school near Lyme Regis, Cherry’s passion was collecting fossils. On leaving school she studied drama and went on to run a successful retail business in Bristol, but geology was always her first love. Having taken every extramural class in geology available, she eventually took a degree in the subject as a mature student at the University of Bristol. This led to a Ph.D. in hard-rock geochemistry, followed by 10 years in the oil industry working for Robertson Research. Following the publication of her book on Arthur Holmes, Cherry moved back to Bristol where she worked for the University, ‘translating’ its scientific research for the general public. Meanwhile she became very involved in the Society’s History of Geology Group (HOGG) and was its Chairman in the bicentenary year of 2007. Now retired, she spends much of her time writing about and promoting the history of geology to anyone willing to listen.

Further Information

The event also featured Ted Nield, editor of Geoscientist, the monthly members' magazine of the Society, as the after dinner speaker. In addition, the Neftex Earth Model Award was presented.
Founders Day 2013


Date: 13 November 2013

Venue: The Geological Society, Burlington House and Le Meridien, Piccadilly, London

Speaker: Dr Cherry Lewis

Sponsor: Afren




Naomi Newbold
Tel: 020 7432 0981
[email protected]