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Geologising with Mary Anning, 1825-1829

DLB Lyme Regis
Extract from Henry De la Beche's 'Geological Map of Environs of Lyme Regis' (1826), a tourist map sold to visitors to Lyme for 4d.  In his diary, Murchison refers to consulting a geological map by De la Beche during his trip along the Dorset coast. GSL Library collections.

Murchison
Roderick Murchison, 1851. Archive ref: GLS/POR/53/11

Brief biography of Roderick Murchison
 
In the summer of 1825, Roderick Murchison (1792-1871) and his wife Charlotte née Hugonin (1788-1869) set out on their first ever geological tour together.  Murchison came to science relatively late in life.  Set for a military career, his plans for advancement were scuppered following Napoleon’s defeat, so he resigned his commission.  They married in 1815 but despite his more cultured wife’s hopes, it wasn’t until 1824 that Murchison began to pursue a career in science.  He was elected a Member of the Geological Society in December 1824 (GSL membership no. 624) and began in earnest to learn geology, which included attending the lectures of William Buckland at Oxford and the fortnightly meetings of the Geological Society. 

The first part of the trip took in Hampshire, where Charlotte’s family was from, but between August and October they travelled around the South Coast of England, from the Isle of Wight to Cornwall, returning through Exeter, Bristol and Bath in order “to master the leading features of English geology”.  

On 14 September 1825 the couple arrived in Lyme Regis.


Click on the images below to find out what happened next:

Murchison diary thumb
 Murchison's account of meeting Mary Anning, 1825
   
Anning letter
 Letter to Charlotte Murchison from Mary Anning, 1829

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