Editing Geological Survey under Sir Henry Thomas De la Beche, 1835–1835

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Subsequently (in 1845) the Geological Survey of Ireland was established as a branch of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and was placed under the control of De la Beche.
 
Subsequently (in 1845) the Geological Survey of Ireland was established as a branch of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and was placed under the control of De la Beche.
  
== Selection of stone for the new Houses of Parliament ==
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== Selction of stone for the new Houses of Parliament ==
  
 
In 1838 a Commission was appointed to ascertain the most suitable stone for the building of the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster. This included a number of famous geologists, such as William Smith (the founder of stratigraphical geology) and De la Beche and Charles Barry, with C. H. Smith, a sculptor who was an expert on building and ornamental stones. They travelled extensively and made a great collection of specimens. In the long run the stone chosen was from Bolsover, but unfortunately the quarries proved incapable of yielding sufficient quantities, and as an alternative the dolomite of Anston near Mansfield was taken. The problem was a difficult one. It was desired to obtain a stone more durable than the limestones commonly used in London, such as Portland, Bath, Caen and Ketton. On the other hand, as a vast amount of carved and sculptured detail had to be produced, it was hardly possible to use such hard and intractable materials as granite or sandstone. As a middle course, the selection of a dolomitic limestone was decided on, and an inspection of ancient buildings such as Southwell Cathedral and other early English churches seemed to indicate that this choice was unexceptionable. Much criticism has been directed at this selection. The stone has weathered unequally and is full of flaws; the best Anston stone has all the desired qualities, but much of the material used in the Houses of Parliament is of inferior quality and is traversed by ‘vents’ or lines of weakness. Unfortunately no satisfactory inspection was made at the quarry and no care was taken to reject unsuitable rock. Not more than about 15 per cent. of the stone actually used need have been discarded. For this De la Beche cannot justly be blamed. He showed his confidence in Anston rock by using it for the building of his new Museum in Jermyn Street in 1849. It has proved sufficiently durable, but only really good stone was used and deeply cut carving was avoided. The doorway of the Museum in Jermyn Street retained all the ornamental detail in perfection after eighty years of exposure to the London atmosphere. The stone used in the Houses of Parliament was so perishable that in 1861 a Commission was appointed to consider the ‘Decay of the Stone of the New Palace at Westminster’ and the best means of preserving the building: its conclusions led to no practical results.
 
In 1838 a Commission was appointed to ascertain the most suitable stone for the building of the new Houses of Parliament at Westminster. This included a number of famous geologists, such as William Smith (the founder of stratigraphical geology) and De la Beche and Charles Barry, with C. H. Smith, a sculptor who was an expert on building and ornamental stones. They travelled extensively and made a great collection of specimens. In the long run the stone chosen was from Bolsover, but unfortunately the quarries proved incapable of yielding sufficient quantities, and as an alternative the dolomite of Anston near Mansfield was taken. The problem was a difficult one. It was desired to obtain a stone more durable than the limestones commonly used in London, such as Portland, Bath, Caen and Ketton. On the other hand, as a vast amount of carved and sculptured detail had to be produced, it was hardly possible to use such hard and intractable materials as granite or sandstone. As a middle course, the selection of a dolomitic limestone was decided on, and an inspection of ancient buildings such as Southwell Cathedral and other early English churches seemed to indicate that this choice was unexceptionable. Much criticism has been directed at this selection. The stone has weathered unequally and is full of flaws; the best Anston stone has all the desired qualities, but much of the material used in the Houses of Parliament is of inferior quality and is traversed by ‘vents’ or lines of weakness. Unfortunately no satisfactory inspection was made at the quarry and no care was taken to reject unsuitable rock. Not more than about 15 per cent. of the stone actually used need have been discarded. For this De la Beche cannot justly be blamed. He showed his confidence in Anston rock by using it for the building of his new Museum in Jermyn Street in 1849. It has proved sufficiently durable, but only really good stone was used and deeply cut carving was avoided. The doorway of the Museum in Jermyn Street retained all the ornamental detail in perfection after eighty years of exposure to the London atmosphere. The stone used in the Houses of Parliament was so perishable that in 1861 a Commission was appointed to consider the ‘Decay of the Stone of the New Palace at Westminster’ and the best means of preserving the building: its conclusions led to no practical results.

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