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The Map

Woburn Park bannerWorburn Park (left), the seat of the Dukes of Bedford, as shown on Smith's 1815 Map

“MINERALOGICAL MAP OF ENGLAND AND WALES. To the person who shall complete and publish an accurate Mineralogical Map of England and Wales, on a scale of not less than ten miles to an inch, containing an account of the situation of the different Mines therein, and describing the kinds of minerals thence produced; the GOLD MEDAL, or FIFTY GUINEAS.

CERTIFICATES of the accuracy of such Map, together with the Map, to be produced to the Society on or before the first Tuesday in February, 1804."
 Announcement published in the 'Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce' (1802).

Although William Smith would ultimately submit his completed Map to the Society of Arts, he had already been mulling over the idea of producing a geological map of the country before the 1802 announcement. Certainly a 'correct map of the strata' was advertised as being included in the prospectus for his proposed first publication, and is likely to have been based on his 'General Map of Strata found in England & Wales' which he produced in 1801.
Joseph Banks portrait
 Sir Joseph Banks (GSL/POR/56/8)

The volume was never published, partly due to Smith being distracted by having to make a living (draining the lands of the Duke of Bedford, Woburn Park) and his publisher John Debrett being made bankrupt twice in 1801 and 1804 respectively. However in the summer of 1804, his patron Sir Joseph Banks was promoting a subscription fund for the publication of a geological map by Smith at the Woburn Sheep-shearing, contributing £50 towards the completion of the work himself. Smith had by that time moved to London, settling into a large (and barely furnished) house at 15 Buckingham Street, just off the Strand, where his collections of maps and fossils (the latter arranged stratigraphically of course) were openly displayed.

Despite Bank’s eagerness that the map should be issued as soon as possible, progress was again slowed by Smith's need to earn a living – although his work travelling around the country as a land and mineral surveyor and drainage engineer for hire did allow him to add to his research. Finally the first imprint of the work, entitled ‘A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland; exhibiting the collieries and mines, the marshes and fen lands originally overflowed by the sea, and the varieties of soil according to the variations in the substrata, illustrated by the most descriptive names’ was issued in 1815.



Map of Strata Judd thumb
 'General Map of Strata of England and Wales', 1801 
   
1815 map thumb 2
 'A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland...', 1815
   
Greenough map thumb
 George Bellas Greenough's 'A Geological Map of England and Wales', 1820

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