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The Geologists' House

09 July 2015
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Event type:
Social event, Evening meeting
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, William Smith Bicentenary
Burlington House, London
Event status:
Fully booked - reserve places only

Learn about the remarkable work of William Smith, the 'Father of English Geology'

The Geological Society Library is pleased to announce our next event, The Geologists’ House, as part of the bicentenary celebrations marking the publication of William Smith’s ‘A Delineation of the Strata of England & Wales, with part of Scotland…’ (1815), the first geological map of a country ever produced.


When in 1831 William Smith (1769-1839) received the Geological Society’s first Wollaston Medal (still the highest honour the Society bestows), the President Adam Sedgwick referred to him as ‘The Father of English Geology’. This was no exaggeration as Smith is still rightly recognised as laying the foundations of the science of geology we know of today.

Smith, a civil engineer and surveyor by profession, was the first person to recognise the importance of fossils as a means of identifying specific rock types or ‘strata’. Over thirteen years in the making, Smith’s extraordinary 1815 geological map described these rock formations in the order in which they occurred, that is by age of deposition or stratigraphically – which not only changed geological map-making for ever but led to the establishment of the geological time scale.

The Geologists’ House

Guided by our expert geological hosts, visitors to this special, promenade lecture show will have the opportunity to view gems from the Society’s unique William Smith collections, entering in turn:

The Room of Fossils, to gain a practical introduction to William Smith’s recognition of the order of strata according to the fossils he found within them, which formed the basis of his geological studies.

The Room of Books, to see how William Smith developed and translated his stratigraphical theories to paper and created his seminal 1815 geological map.

The Room of Minerals, to contrast the different approach to the production of the Society’s ‘rival’ geological map of England & Wales issued by George Bellas Greenough in 1820 and compare the outcome.

The Room of Maps, to investigate William Smith’s other publishing collaborations with the cartographer John Cary and discover why they all failed, contributing to Smith’s imprisonment in a debtors’ gaol in the summer of 1819.

This is an exclusive opportunity to view one of the largest collections of William Smith material and learn from the experts about the birth of modern geology.

Due to the nature of the event, entry to The Geologists’ House is limited, with callers expected promptly at -
  1.   6.30pm – Fully booked - reserve places only
  2.   6.50pm – Fully booked - reserve places only
  3.   7.10pm - Fully booked - reserve places only
  4.   7.30pm - Fully booked - reserve places only
The event will last approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.


Tickets cost £12. Call 020 7432 0999020 7432 0999 or email [email protected] for further information and to enquire about availability.


The event involves climbing stairs and moving from room to room, however those with mobility issues can be accommodated.  Please let us know when purchasing your ticket so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Geolsoc Contact

The Geological Society Library

The Geological Society Library
Burlington House

Tel: 02074320999