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Liverpool Geological Society: The 1815 William Smith Map

03 March 2015
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Event type:
Evening meeting, Lecture, Social event
Organised by:
Liverpool Geological Society, William Smith Bicentenary
The World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool
Event status:

This year is the 200th Anniversary of the production of ‘the Map which changed the world’ - ie The William Smith Map – the first geological map of an entire country. Our thanks must go to our Founder George Highfield Moreton who bequeathed his copy of the map to the Society and to The World Museum who take excellent care of the Map in a temperature and humidity control environment. 

On the afternoon of 3 March LGS members will have the rare opportunity of viewing this historic Map in The World Museum, then of attending The William Smith 200th Anniversary Dinner and later hearing The Distinguished Visitor’s Address by Professor Hugh Torrens – see below for details.

Tea/Coffee will be available in the Tower Café from 6.30 pm.

  • Tues 3 March 2015 @ 2.30-4.15 pm in The World Museum, Wm Brown St
  • Viewing of The LGS William Smith Map
  • Please meet in the Museum Entrance BEFORE 2:30 PM in readiness to go to view the Map in the presence of Prof Hugh Torrens, who will also have his 1821 William Smith Map of Yorkshire for members to view.

The Distinguished Visitor’s Address by Professor Hugh Torrens (Univ of Keele) 

‘William Smith’s Work in Yorkshire’ His geological advances as expressed through his work in Yorkshire 

In his early years, between 1791 and 1799 in the Bath area, William Smith had already worked out the geological principles for which he is now world famous - his dual discoveries were, first that English rocks were ordered, or stratified, and that this order could be determined and tabulated using the “superposition of strata”. His second discovery was that those rocks which contained fossils could be identified using the fossils they contained. Earlier workers had made a significant mistake in the correlation of Yorkshire's rocks with those he had 'standardized' farther south near Bath. 

After being imprisoned in London for debt, Smith went into exile in the north of England with his newly geologically-apprenticed nephew John Phillips. They became at first itinerant all over the north of England, but a short visit to Scarborough in 1817 had made Smith aware of the delights and geological potential of Scarborough. So Smith settled in Scarborough, with his mysterious wife, Mary Ann. He played an important part in the foundation of the Scarborough Philosophical Society and the building of the Rotunda museum in Scarborough ( re-opened in 2008 as ‘The Rotunda: the William Smith Museum of Geology’) to demonstrate his geological principles. At the rotunda his pupils included such later significant geologists as Roderick Murchison and George Featherstonhaugh from America. Smith significantly advanced Yorkshire geology, carefully discriminating fossil distributions within single rock units (litho-stratigraphic units).

** Tea/Coffee & biscuits available from 6.30 pm in The Tower Cafe. **

LGS William Smith Bicentenary DINNER

3 March 2015 5:15 pm - The Villa Romana, Wood St, Liverpool, L1 4AQ

Those wishing to dine should please inform the Hon Sec asap by whatever means on the night.

Convenor Contact

Joe Crossley

Liverpool Geological Society