Geological Survey of Great Britain (by E.B. Bailey)

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From: Bailey, Sir Edward. Geological Survey of Great Britain. London: Thomas Murby, 1952.
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Title page

Geological Survey of Great Britain[edit]

by Sir Edward Bailey F.R.S.

London: Thomas Murby & Co 40 Museum Street First published in 1952. Printed in Great Britain In 11 point Caslon type, by the Woodbridge Press, Ltd., Guildford.



1835 De la Beche starts alone

1855 The Murchison succession

1872 Ramsay, Director General

1882 Geikie's accession

1901 Teall's Directorate starts

1914 Strahan promoted Director

1920 Flett succeeds to Directorship

1935 Bernard Smith, Director

1936 Interregnum

1937 Bailey returns as Director


Here is the story of a survey. It was originally written for the British Council, to appear in their series, Science in Britain; but publication of this series had to be suspended before my manuscript was ready. So I turned elsewhere. Meanwhile, during early stages of preparation, I had intended to dedicate my account to my former great chief, Sir Edward Appleton, who was at the time still Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research ; but here again a change of plan became necessary—I realised as I proceeded that dedication to anyone might perhaps obscure my sole responsibility for certain opinions expressed on debatable topics.

The world has reached a stage when a number of nations annually devote large sums of money to scientific research. Most of their zeal for knowledge is inspired by fear, and seeks continually the development of more and more terrible weapons of destruction ; but there is also a genuine associated desire to raise the standard of living throughout the world—to provide more food and clothing, perhaps even more understanding, for the involuntary children of mankind.

My own opinion is that that nation will be most favoured which, behind a façade of necessary precautions, bravely maintains a generous, tolerant sympathy with freedom of research and publication. Is it too much to suggest that experience, won by trial and error during the lifetime of the second oldest national research institute of Britain, may prove of some assistance to framers of present-day policy ?

The frontispiece portrait of De la Beche has already appeared in H. B. Woodward's History of the Geological Society, published by the Society as a centenary volume. Plate II is from a drawing of T. F. Colby, of equally happy memory, which is hung in the office of the Ordnance Survey. The charming snapshot in Plate III of Peach, Horne and Clough, standing on a pillow lava at Tayvallich, 1904, was taken by J. S. Flett. Plate IV of the Museum of Practical Geology, old and new, reproduces two official photographs. To everyone concerned I offer cordial thanks. Crown copyright of official photographs not previously published is reserved.

Among the line-blocks, Figs. 8, 10, 14, 28 have been specially drawn. The remainder are reproductions, almost all taken from memoirs of the Geological Survey very roughly in order of appearance. I wish again to express my thanks, in this case directed to the appropriate heads of the Geological Survey, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and H.M. Stationery Office.

The text has been written without quoting references ; but those who wish to follow up any particular aspect of the subject will probably find little difficulty. The main sources are, of course, the publications of the Geological Survey itself. In addition, great assistance has been obtained from various historical writings, especially those of Archibald Geikie, H. B. Woodward, F. J. North, and J. S. Flett. The latter's official First Hundred Years of the Geological Survey of Britain, 1937, is of special value. The following brief list draws attention to a few publications not included in its bibliographical appendix.

ADAMS, F. D. 1938. The Birth and Development of the Geological Sciences, London.

BAILEY, E. B. and D. TAIT, 1921. Geology. Edinburgh's Place in Scientific Progress, p. 63. Edinburgh.

BAILEY, E. B. 1939. The Interpretation of Scottish Scenery. Scot. Geog. Mag., vol. 1, p. 308.

BAILEY, E. B. 1950. James Hutton, Founder of Modern Geology. Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. lxiii, p. 357.

COX, L. R. 1942. New Light on William Smith and his Work. Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc., vol. xxv, p. 1.

DOUGLAS, J. A. and J. M. EDMONDS. 1950. John Phillip's Geological Maps of the British Isles. Ann. Sc., vol. vi, p. 361.

EYLES, V. A. 1937. John Macculloch, F.R.S., and his Geological Map: an account of the first Geological Survey of Scotland. Ann. Sc., vol. ii, p. 114.

EYLES, V. A. 1939. Macculloch's Geological Map of Scotland, an Additional Note. Ann. Sc., vol. iv, p. 107.

EYLES, V. A. 1948. Louis Albert Necker, of Geneva, and his Geological Map of Scotland. Trans, Ed, Geol. Soc., vol. xiv, p. 93.

EYLES, V. A. 1950. The First National Geological Survey. Geol. Mag., vol. lxxxvii, p. 373.

EYLES, V. A. 1950. Note on the Original Publication of Hutton's Theory of the Earth, and on the Subsequent Forms in which it was issued. Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. lxiii, p. 377.

EYLES, V. A. and JOAN M. EYLES. 1938. On the Different Issues of the First Geological Map of England and Wales. Ann. Sc., vol. iii, p. 190.

FLETT, J. S. 1937. The First Hundred Years of the Geological Sur_ vey of Great Britain. Mem. Geol. Surv.

GEIKIE, A. 1898. Introduction. Sum. Prog. Geol. Surv. for 1897,

MACGREGOR, M. 1950. Life and Times of James Hutton. Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. lxiii, p. 351.

NORTH, F. J. 1933. From Giraldus Cambrensis to the Geological Map. Trans. Cardiff Naturalists' Soc., vol. lxiv, p. zo.

NORTH, F. J. 1943. Centenary of the Glacial Theory. Proc. Geol. Ass., vol. liv, p. I.

SIMMINGTON, R. C. and A. FARRINGTON. 1949. A Forgotten Pioneer. Patrick Ganly, Geologist, Surveyor and Civil Engineer. Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Eire, vol. xlvi, p. 36.

SMITH, BERNARD. 1936. Progress of the Geological Survey, 1920-1935. Sum. Prog. Geol. Surv. for 1935, p. 12.

TOMKEIEFF, S. I. 1950. James Hutton and the Philosophy of Geology. Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. lxiii, p. 387.

TYRRELL, G. W. 1950. Hutton on Arran. Proc. Roy. Soc. Ed., vol. lxiii, p. 369.