Jethro Justinian Harris Teall M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S., F.G.S., LL.D.

From Earthwise
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pioneers of BGS - Home A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Date Details
1909 Born
1935 Geologist
1849 Born January 5th at Northleach, Gloucestershire. Educated at private schools and St. John’s College, Cambridge (Tutor T.G. Bonney).
1872 1st class in Natural Science Tripos.
1873 B.A.
1875 Elected to College Fellowship.
1876 M.A.
1874 Gained Sedgwick Prize for essay on “Polton and Wicken Phophatic Deposits”. Took up petrological research and University extension lecturing.
Work on Cheviot andesites, North of England dykes and Whin Sill, also dolerite into Hbd. Schist, Lizard gabbros and origin of certain banded gneisses.
1888 “British Petrography” published.
Joined Survey as Petrographer, worked on Highland rocks and Jurassic sedimentaries.
Principal contribution to memoirs in “North-west Highlands” and “Silurian rocks of Scotland”.
Record of results also in Annual Report and Summary of Progress (1892).
1889 Bigsby Medal.
1890 Elected F.R.S.
1893-1897 Secretary of Geological Society.
1900-1902 President of Geological Society.
1901 Became Director of Geological Society (including Irish Survey until 1905).
1905 Wollaston Medal.
1907 Delesse Prize of Academy of Sciences in Paris.
1914 Retired.
1916 Knighted.
1924 Died July 2nd.

Biographies and obituaries[edit]

1901 Teall's Directorate starts From: Bailey, Sir Edward. Geological Survey of Great Britain. London: Thomas Murby, 1952.

VI. The Geological Survey under Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall, 1901–1914 From: Flett, J.S. 1937. The History of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Evans, J.W. Obituary - Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall, born in 1849, died 1924. [In Anniversary Address.]. Proceedings of the Geological Society in Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. v. 81 p.lxiii-lxv. 1925

Spencer, L.J. Obituary - Sir Jethro Justinian Harris, Knight Teall. Born 5th January 1849, died 2nd July 1924. Mineralogical Magazine. v. 20 p.272. 1924

Obituary - Jethro J.H. Teall. Born 5th January 1849, died 2nd July 1924. Proceedings of the Geologists Association. v. 36 p.192-193. 1925

Obituary - Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall. Born 5th January 1849, died 2nd July 1924. Geologists Magazine. Whole Series. v. 61 p.382-384. 1924 DOI:

Geological Magazine (1909) p. 1

[] Jethro Teall]] — Wikipedia article Teall, Jethro Justinian Harris (TL869JJ).] A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge

Strahan, A. Sir Jethro Teall, F.R.S. Nature 114, 95 (1924).

Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall Teall (1849 - 1924) Royal Academy

Teall, Sir Jethro Justinian Harris. Who's Who. 1920

The Geological Society of London. The Times (36070). London. 20 February 1900. p. 5

Oldroyd, David Teall, Sir Jethro Justinian Harris (1849–1924) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Prof., Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall D.Sc OBE (5/1/1849-2/7/1924) Botanical Society of Britian and Ireland


List of publications: Geological Magazine (1909) pp. 5-8

Petrological notes contributed to following Memoirs: Silurian rocks vol.1 (1899); NW Highlands (1907); Cowal (1897); Mid-Argyll (1905); Oban (1908); Islay (1907); Glenelg (1910); West Aberdeenshire (1896); Fannich Mountains (1913); Kirk

58 works listed in the BGS Library catalogue

BGS archives[edit]

Ref No Title Description
GSM/DC/A/C/33 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DC/A/C/34 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DC/A/C/35 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DC/A/C/36 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DC/A/C/37 Out Letters of J.J.H. Teall as an Assistant Director
GSM/DC/A/C/38 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DC/A/C/39 Director General's Out Letters (Press copy book). Letters of J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/DR/Ft/A/2 Correspondence on range of issues: letters to Bromehead, C.Davidson, H.Dewey, Fairley, A.Geikie, Goodchild, E.Greenly, J.Horne, F.L.Kitchin, G.W.Lee, M.MacGregor, J.Phemister, J.Rhodes, B.Smith, W.J.Sollas, H.H.Thomas and Teall. Also 76 letters to Flett from 34 correspondents (includes guardbook)
GSM/DR/Ge Archibald Geikie "Geikie was born in 1835. He joined the Survey in 1855 and became Director for Scotland in 1867. He was also the first Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh. His primary responsibility upon appointment as Director was to complete the mapping of the British Isles and wind up the Survey. He was keen to complete the mapping of Scotland and transferred staff from the England and Wales districts to Scotland for this purpose. Although H.H.Howell was appointed Director for Scotland, he worked mainly in the North of England and Geikie continued to supervise all survey work in Scotland. When Howell retired in 1899, Geikie did not appoint a successor. Geikie began a series of stratigraphical memoirs, intended to be a comprehensive investigation of the rocks of a specific formation such as the Jurassic or Cretaceous. This differed from the usual regional memoirs which described the geology of an area and marked a significant departure in Survey publications. The first of these memoirs was 'The Pliocene Deposits of Britain' by C.Reid, in 1890. Geikie also contributed to the science of petrography and microscopic petrology within the Survey and set up a basic chemical laboratory in Edinburgh to undertake rock slicing and analysis. He appointed petrologists to the staff including J.J.H.Teall, F.H.Hatch, W.W.Watts and J.S.Hyland. Geikie also encouraged photography within the Survey and collected a large series of photographs of Scotland which were drawn on for memoirs and his own book 'The Ancient Volcanoes of Great Britain' published in 1897.

During the last six months of his directorship, a Committee was established to enquire into the organisation and staff of the Geological Survey & Museum and report on its progress. It was chaired by J L Wharton and among other things it reorganised the staffing structure of the Survey to provide improved promotional opportunities to geologists."

GSM/DR/Te J.J.H. Teall Jethro Justinian Harris Teall joined the Survey in 1888 as Petrographer, having just published the significant 'British Petrography'. He spent most of his early years working in the North West Highlands of Scotland. He became Director of the Survey in March 1901. He appointed Woodward and Horne as Assistant Directors in England & Wales and Scotland respectively. JS Flett became Petrographer.
GSM/DR/Te/A/1 Correspondence: letters to and from JJH Teall.
GSM/DR/Te/A/2 Reports on the work of the year. Manuscripts of Teall's reports on the work of the year.
GSM/GL/Cc/5 Correspondence: letters to Flett and Teall
GSM/GL/Cl/9 Correspondence from Clough to other geologists: letters to Flett, Kitchin, E.T.Newton, B.N.Peach...
GSM/GL/Dk/2 Correspondence with E.Greenley, F.H.Hatch, B.N.Peach and J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/GL/Dr/10 Correspondence with other geologists inc. G.England, J.W.Gray, E.T.Newton, Teall and W.Topley.Some letters to De Rance.
GSM/GL/Gn/1 Correspondence with other geologists inc. C.T.Clough, Flett, B.N.Peach and J.J.H.Teall.
GSM/GL/Jb/3 Correspondence with other geologists. Including: H.A.Allen, F.H.Hatch, F.L.Kitchin, G.W.Lamplugh, F.W.Rudler, Teall, W.W.Wattts, W.Whitaker and H.B.Woodward. Some letters to Jukes-Browne.
GSM/GL/Pc/3 Correspondence with Horne, Flett, Geikie, Phemister, Rudler and Teall
GSM/GL/Us/2 Correspondence with other geologists inc. J.S.Flett, F.H.Hatch, Teall, W.Whitaker and H.B.Woodward. Some letters to Ussher.
GSM/GX/Ad/5 Pamphlet "The Volcanoes of Iceland" by Tempest Anderson Inscribed "J. J. H. Teall with the author's compls"

Other archives[edit]

Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall (1849-1924), Geologist — National Portrait Gallery

LDGSL/1073 Teall, Sir Jethro Justinian Harris (1849-1924) Geological Society of London Archives

Jethro Justinian Harris Teall as Director of the Survey[edit]

Extract from: From: Wilson, H.E. Down to earth - one hundred and fifty years of the British Geological Survey. Edinburgh:Scottish Academic Press, 1985. [In all directions: developments under Sir Henry's fourteen successors In all directions: developments under Sir Henry's fourteen successors]

With the accession to the Directorship of Jethro Justinian Teal! (1849-1924) and the promotion to the posts of Assistants to the Director of H B Woodward (1848-1914) in England and John Horne (1848-1928) in Scotland the organisational shape of the Survey was set for over half a century. Each Assistant to the Director — the rank was changed to Assistant Director within a few years because of its 'ambiguity' — had two District Geologists under him and Teall set great store on team efforts, recasting the annual Summary of Progress to record work on a District basis. He also accepted, as appendices to the Summary, short papers on original topics by his staff.

From this time, too, the Director insisted that field staff must spend the winter at headquarters — London, Edinburgh or Dublin and ended the system which had field men living permanently in remote isolation. Clearly Teall, the first Survey Officer to hold the rank of Petrographer and appointed only thirteen years before, in 1888, had a very clear view of what had gone wrong and how to remedy it. Certainly his reorganised Survey stood the test of time. Oddly enough there is no very clear view of the man himself in the records. Probably only people who evoke strong hate or affection are immortalised in the kind of folk-legend which castigates Geikie. Teall was just a good Director!

In 1899 the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act had established a new Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Dublin. One of the provisions of this Act transferred to the new Department the 'powers and duties of the Department of Science and Art in relation to public buildings or institutions in Ireland'. During a visit to Dublin in 1900 Geikie had talked to Gill, Secretary to the new Department, who had raised the question of the transfer of the Geological Survey of Ireland to the DATI, but Geikie had objected and in an exchange of memoranda they had agreed to let the matter rest, though Geikie had suggested that the Department could usefully undertake 'the economic side of geology — soil maps, advice to local authorities on building sites, investigation of building materials, etc'.

In 1902 the Consultative Committee on the Geological Survey, established as a result of the Wharton Report, held its first meeting.

One of the nominated members was the Hon H Plunkett, representing the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, who was unable to attend the meeting but sent the Secretary a long letter demanding clarification of the Wharton recommendation that the Geological Survey of Ireland should remain part of the Survey of the UK only until the Drift survey had been completed, when the responsibility for keeping the maps up to date should be transferred to the DATI. Plunkett did not agree with the proposed run-down and implied that if this was London policy DATI would want to take over the Irish Branch. The Department of Science and Art, tongue in check, replied that the Hume Street staff were neither 'a public building nor an institution' and disagreed about the transfer.

It was Teall who reopened the matter in 1904 when he wanted to bring G. W. Lamplugh (1859-1926), who was District Geologist in Dublin and leading the drift revision, back to replace Fox-Strangways in the Midlands. He pointed out that at the present rate it would take over a century to revise the whole of Ireland and the results would not justify it. Also, because of Geikie's 'arrangement' in 1900, the Department of Agriculture were dealing with economic enquiries and had appointed an 'Economic Geologist' to its staff - presumably working with Grenville Cole, Professor of Geology in the Royal College of Science for Ireland. There were, in effect, two separate geological organisations in Ireland and Teall suggested that either the Survey should deal with all geological work including economic enquiries or that all the functions of the Survey should be transferred to the Department of Agriculture.

The Board of Education and the Department of Agriculture agreed that the second option was preferred and on 1 July the former wrote to the Treasury asking for permission to transfer the four geologists and three ancillaries. With typical Treasury caution they were told that staff should only be seconded for a limited period and 'it would be preferable not to make the tranfer until the work on the drifts has been definitely wound up'. Also they did not think it necessary to fill the District Geologist post if Lamplugh was moved.

Teall argued that there must be a DG if the work was to continue and poor Lamplugh, who had been told in the spring to move on 1 August, was told on 28 July to stay put. In September he wrote to Teall pointing out fairly forcefully that he was sitting with his belongings packed, his children removed from schools, his lease terminated and, he asked, what was happening? He was finally allowed to move in October.

In December the Treasury agreed to transfer the seven staff and, after a lot of shilly-shallying about details, Teall attended 14 Hume Street on 1 April 1905 to hand over 'the documents related to the survey', whatever they were, to T. P. Gill, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and the involvement of GSGB in Ireland was suspended for forty-two years — though W. B. Wright was 'lent' to the Irish Survey for coalfield work during World War I.

For the rest of Teall's stewardship the organisation he had planned remained in operation, with two Assistant Directors and five District Geologists, plus the Petrographer (raised to DG rank in 1903) and Palaeontologist. This system continued during Strahan's directorship, though senior posts falling vacant during World War I were not filled until the fourteen geologists who had joined the forces had returned.

When Teall retired in 1914 he was succeeded by Aubrey Strahan (1852-1928) who had been on the staff since 1875.