William Topley F.R.S., F.G.S.

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Date Details
1841 Born March 13th at Greenwich.
1858-1861 Student at Royal School of Mines.
1862 Appointed Assistant Geologist on Geological Survey.
Field work in Wealden area under Le Neve Foster. Elected F.G.S.
1865 Joint paper with Foster on “Denudation of the Weald” (Q.J.),
Memoir on the Weald published 1875.
1868 Promoted to Geologist.
Worked in Northumberland and Durham Coalfield, chiefly on Carboniferous and Glacial Drifts. With Lebour studied Whin Sill and proved its intrusive character.
1872 Committee of sub-Wealden exploration began work. Topley sent by Geological Survey to report on borings.
1872-1878 15 times Secretary of Geology Section at British Association.
1874 Association of Institution of Civil Engineers.
1875 Examiner in Geology to Durham University. Succeeded Bristow as examiner to Science and Art Department.
1880 Field work in Northumberland abandoned.
Moved to Jermyn Street to superintend publication of maps and memoirs.
1881 Appointed to superintend publication of British section of geological map of Europe, promised by International Geological Congress.
1885 President of Geologists Association.
Report on National Geological Surveys of Europe.
1888 Elected F.R.S.
1888 Prepared with Goodchild geological map of Europe for vol. II of Prestwich’s Geology.
1893 Took entire charge of office [Jermyn Street] on retirement of Edward Best.
1894 Offered Chair of Committee of Bibliography at International Geological Congress at Zurich.
1894 Died September 30th.

Biographies and obituaries[edit]

Proceedings of Royal Society vol. LIX (1896) p. lxix

Woodward, H. (1894). William Topley, F.R.S., F.G.S. Geological Magazine, 1(12), 570-575. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0016756800145418

Quarterly Journal Geological Society vol. LI (1895)

William Topley (geologist) — Wikipedia article

Obituary: Prof. G. A. Lebour. Nature. 100 (2521): 487. 21 February 1918. doi:10.1038/100487a0.

W., W. William Topley, F.R.S. Nature 50, 579–580 (1894). https://doi.org/10.1038/050579a0

Thackray, John C. Topley, William(1841–1894) https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/27556

William Topley Obituary ICE Virtual Library

Bonney, Thomas George. Topley, William Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57

Kirkaldy, J.F. William Topley and ‘The Geology of the Weald’ Proceedings of the Geologists' Association Volume 86, Issue 4, 1975, Pages 372-388 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7878(75)80056-3

McKimm, Michael Topographic Topley. Geoscientist 21.09 October 2011


Completed 21 Survey maps. Published 82 papers and Memoirs on subjects: Phosphates; silver and gold; Channel Tunnel; Coal in Kent; Water-supply; petroleum; sanitation.

Works listed in the BGS Library catalogue

Survey publications[edit]

Topley, W. ; Aveline, W.T. ; Bristow, H.W. ; Drew, F. ; Etheridge, R. ; Foster, C.L.N. ; Gould, C. (1875). The geology of the Weald (parts of the counties of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hants) (in part from the notes and mss of HW Bristow, WT Aveline, F Drew, C Gould and CLN Foster) (list of fossils revised by R Etheridge). (Memoir (District) Geological Survey of GB). London : HMSO.

External publications[edit]

Topley, W. (1887). Gold and silver : their geological distribution and their probable future production. In: British Association for the Advancement of Science (1887) p. 1-26 (1887) ; p. 1-26.

Topley, W. ; International Geological Congress (1881). The International Geological Congress, Bologna, 1881. Geological Magazine Dec. II Vol. 8 pt/no 12 (1881) p. 1-4 (1881) ; p. 1-4.

Topley, W. (1893). The landslip at Sandgate. The Proceedings of the Geologists Association Vol. 13 pt/no 2 (1893) p. 40-47 (1893) ; p. 40-47.

Topley, W. The national geological surveys of Europe.

Diller, J.S. ; Topley, W. Notes on the geology of the Troad : a brief summary of the results derived from the observations made in connexion with the Assos (U.S.) expedition. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 39 1883 p.627-636.

Topley, W. (1885). Notes on the physical geography and geology of western Canada. Report of the west Kent Natural History, Microscopical and Photographic Society (1885) p. 1-7 (1885) ; p. 1-7.

Topley, W. ; British Association for the Advancement of Science. On the correspondence between some areas of apparent upheaval and the thickening of subajacent beds : IN: British Association Reports; 1873 Transactions p91.

Topley, W. ; Lebour, G.A.L. ; British Association for the Advancement of Science. On the Whin Sill of Northumberland. British Association Reports 1873, Transactions p92.

Topley, W. ; British Association for the Advancement of Science (1886). Report of the Committee on the Erosion of the Sea-Coasts of England and Wales. London : British Association for the Advancement of Science .

Topley, W. ; Medical Times and Gazette. Sanitary Commission ; Lancet. Sanitary Commission (1875). Report [on the] water supply of Hastings. Hastings : F.J. Parsons.

International Geological Congress ; Woodward, H.B. ; Hughes, T.M. ; Topley, W. ; Jukes-Browne, A.J. Reports of the British Sub-committees on Classification and Nomenclature (2nd ed). Compte rendu de la 4me Congres Geologique International, Londres, 1888. London: [The Congress] Appendix B.

Ward, J.C. ; Topley, W. (1875-1879). Rock structure. XII. [S.l.] : [s.n.].

Sorby, H.C. ; Geological Society of London ; British Association for the Advancement of Science ; Royal Microscopical Society (Great Britain) ; Geological and Polytechnic Society of the West Riding of Yorkshire ; Topley, W. (1857-1880). Rock structure. XIII. [S.l.] : [s.n.].

Topley, W. (1885). Some points of comparison between Belgian and English Geology. The Geology of Belgium and the French Ardennes (1885) p. 1-16 (1885) ; p. 1-16.

Topley, W. (1874). The sub-wealden exploration. Transactions of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers Vol. 23 pt/no 6 (1874) p. 185-188 (1874) ; p. 185-188.

Topley, W. ; Buckland, G. ; Tomson, J. ; Heathorn, R. ; Whitehead, C. ; Way, J.T. ; Paine, J. M. ; Farncombe, J. ; Evershed, H. ; Evershed, S. ; Trimmer, J. ; Topley, W. (1845-1877). Agriculture, south east England. (Survey pamphlet; 18e).

Topley, W. (1874). The Channel Tunnel : Reprinted from: Popular Science Review 13 1874 p394-403, map. (1874).

Freire-Marreco, A. ; Hill, A. ; Moffitt, R. ; Jervis, W.P. ; Galloway, W. ; De Rance, C.E. ; Ward, J.C. ; Burder, G.F. ; Gardiner, E.J.L. ; Fryer, A.C. ; MacCulloch, J. ; Woodward, H.B. ; Davy, J. ; Schneider, H.W. ; Durden, E.H. ; Thorp, W. ; Sorby, H.C. ; Watson, J. ; Hunt, R. ; Wright, T. ; Sopwith, T. ; Richardson, T. ; Daglish, J. ; Forster, G.B. ; Bell, I.L. ; Spencer, T. ; Robinson, H. ; Curry, J. ; Maw, G. ; Brigg, J. ; Gulland, J.K. ; Kendall, J.D. ; Aitken, J. ; Collins, J.H. ; Barrow, G. ; Topley, W. ; Dakyns, J.R. ; Andre, G.G. ; Foster, C.L.N. ; Halse, E. ; Holmes, T.V. ; Ashburner, C.A. ; Browett, A. ; Hull, E. ; Brierley, J. ; Wallis, A.M. ; Bedson, P.P. ; Shaw, J.L. ; Fream, W. ; Topley, W. (1855-1894). England and Wales : economic. (Survey pamphlet; 17).

International Geological Congress ; Topley, W. ; Woodward, H.B. (1888). Explications des excursions 4me Congres Geologique International, Londres, 1888. London : The Congress.

Jameson, R. ; Jukes, J.B. ; Marcou, J. ; Geikie, A. ; Hayden, F.V. ; Morton, G.H. ; Topley, W. ; Jukes-Browne, A.J. ; Powell, J.W. ; Topley, W. (1808-1894). Geological surveys, &c. (Survey pamphlet; 16o).

Topley, W. (1890). Geology in its relation to hygiene. Transactions of the Sanitary Institute Vol. 11 (1890) p. 1-11 (1890) ; p. 1-11.

Topley, W. The geology of Belgium and the French Ardennes : printed with especial reference to the excursion of the association to Belgium, August, 1885 papers : IN: Geologists' Association Supplementary and excursion papers, Vol.1, editor's guide The Association 59p, map.

BGS archives[edit]

Ref No Title Description
GSM/DR/Ge/A/5 Correspondence on various matters: letters to J.Craik, J.Evans, F.H.Hatch, J.Horne, D.R.Irvine, B...
GSM/GL/Bw/4 Correspondence with W.Gunn, W.Topley and R S Black
GSM/GL/Cl/9 Correspondence from Clough to other geologists: letters to Flett, Kitchin, E.T.Newton, B.N.Peach...
GSM/GL/Cm/3 Correspondence: letters to Mr Brown, Jukes-Browne, Rudler (about Fullers Earth), W.Topley, W.W...
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/Tp W.Topley Obituary file. William Topley joined the Survey in 1862. Mapping of the Weald. Produced memoir:' The Geology of the Weald' in 1875.
GSM/GL/Tp/3 Notes on the geology of the Weald: rough notes by W.Topley, F.Drew, C.Gould, W.Whitaker and others with a volume of notes by C le N.Foster.