Geologists' Association Carreck Archive

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The Carreck Archive is a record of the Geologists' Association (GA) field activities from the 1890s to the present. It is mostly albums of black and white photographic prints from a range of GA field meetings, with named locations, sections, and pictures of GA members on those excursions. Other material includes albums of negatives, bundles of photographic prints and other ephemera relating to the GA, e.g. menus from the annual dinners, postcards, letters etc. — all very interesting material for historians of geology.

The GA was founded in 1858 with the purpose of bringing together enthusiasts from all levels and ages, a tradition it still carries out today with its encouragement for 'geology for all'. The GA Carreck Archive, named after Marjorie Carreck, who was the coordinator and custodian of the collection for fifty years, has been professionally conserved for the GA. The collection was formally deposited with the BGS in June 2012 and is held in proper archival conditions along with the other two collections. The collection is undergoing digitisation and this resource is the release of the first tranche of albums.

Below is a list of those albums that have been released. It includes the album title, a brief description of the contents and a link to view the album. There is also a list of items in the collection that will be released at a later date: this is provided to allow users to gain a clear picture of the extent of the whole collection.

Please note: to enjoy the full functionality of the zoomable viewer, the use of Firefox or Chrome browser is strongly recommended.

Edmund Ernest Stockwell Brown (1892–1959)

Edmund Ernest Stockwell Brown (known as Ernest) was born in Lewisham on 21st October 1892. He joined the Post Office as a boy clerk in 1908 and worked there for 34 years. In 1942 he was transferred to the Ministry of Supply, heading up a mission to Brazil to purchase minerals of strategic importance. On his return he took a post at the Ministry of Civil Aviation where he remained until his retirement in 1953.

His personal interest and lifelong passion for geology started when he was 15, collecting fossils and visiting local geology, particularly the Lower Tertiary of south-east London. He joined the Geologists' Association in 1913, becoming one of its greatest advocates. He was the GA's general secretary for a record 12 years (1925–1937) — a service that was celebrated by GA past presidents and council at a special dinner at Stewart's Restaurant in Piccadilly on 26 February 1937 — and GA President from 1948–1950.

Ernest and his wife Nellie were faithful attendees of field meetings and always welcoming to old and new members. Much of the growth of the Association between the war years was due to the enthusiasm and encouragement of Ernest and Nellie.

Ernest helped select many of the photographs in the GA albums. Using his own photographs as well as those donated by GA members, he compiled several albums for the Association organised by geographical area and geological subject. These, together with a number of Ernest and Nellie's personal albums documenting the many field meetings they joined at home and abroad, were donated to the Carreck Archive by their daughter Mollie.

GA055 E E S Brown album. Geologists' Association photograph album [Black] Volume I Geologists' Association collection of geological photographs. Created by Mr E E S Brown. Volume I. Photographs are arranged by geographical area and cover assorted locations in England and Ireland (see GA049 Vol II and GA0138 Volume III)
GA049 E E S Brown Brown album. Geologists' Association photograph album [Black] Volume II Geologists' Association collection of geological photographs. Created by Mr E E S Brown. Volume II. Photographs are arranged by stratigraphic period, glacial to Precambrian (see GA055 Vol II and GA0138 Volume III)
GA138 E E S Brownalbum. Geologists' Association photograph album [Black] Volume III Geologists' Association collection of geological photographs Volume III. Photographs are arranged by stratigraphy, from Recent to Cambrian with igneous and pre-historic sections. Includes a typescript obituary of Mr E E S Brown, MBE, FGS (see GA049 Vol II and GA055 Volume I) who compiled the photograph albums and which were donated to the GA in 1959 by Mrs M M Owen (Mollie Brown — his daughter).
GA013 E E S Brown album. Geologists' Association album [green] [1] Photographs from assorted GA field excursions, 1900s–1920s. Archaean, Cambrian, Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Devonian, Eocene, glacial, human remains, igneous, Jurassic, Lias, Permian, physical, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Silurian, Triassic, Wealden.
GA014 E E S Brown album. Geologists' Association album [green] [2] GA foreign field excursions to Atlantic islands, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Canada?, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
GA017 E E S Brown album. Geologists' Association album [brown] Arranged by geological subject. Carboniferous, Cretaceous, igneous, Jurassic physical, Recent, Tertiary, Wealden.
GA015 E E S Brown album [light red] North Wales, Llyn Peninsula, Steyning June 1939 and August 1939 [E E S Brown?]
GA019 E E S Brown album [dark red] GA excursion to Angers August 1928 and to St. Davids and Ramsay Island 1930.

Elsie Giles

This extensive collection of well catalogued photographs, we believe, was compiled by Elsie Giles. The first three volumes are assumed to be photographs by Giles, while a fourth volume contains photographs from other individual photographers, many of whom were members the Geologists’ Association. Going by the notebooks, the early photographs (Giles Series 1-17 1920 to 1922) are missing. The surviving collection spans 'Series 18 to 36' 1922–1934. In total all four volumes of photographs and two volumes of notebooks are made available here.

Unfortunately little is known about Elsie Giles and it is uncertain whether she was a member of the Geologists’ Association, nevertheless, the photographs that she compiled are an important part of the Carreck Photographic Archive.

Link to album Album title Description
GA147 Elsie Giles photographs: Series 18-24. 1922–1925. Photographs taken by Elsie Giles between 1918 and 1922. Earlier photographs for series 1 to 17 are missing.
GA148 Elsie Giles photographs: Series 25-34. 1926–1934. Photographs taken by Elsie Giles between 1925 and 1934.
GA149 Elsie Giles photographs: 1935-. Photographs taken by Elsie Giles from 1936 onwards.
GA150 Elsie Giles collection – Photographs taken by others. The following are mentioned on the front cover: Dix, Lady Stiles, A.G. Stenhouse, TB Peel, E Ransom, J Ransom, Rosendahl, W.D. Hewitt, W.E. Howarth, H.L. Hawkins WH Bennett.
GA151 Elsie Giles notebook no 1. Series 1 to 34 plus miscellanoeus lists. Detailed list of photographs taken by Elsie Giles.
GA152 Elsie Giles notebook no. 2. This notebook records photographs taken by the following: W.H. Bennett, A. E. Bruckshaw, Miss E.V. Colebrook, E.V.Colebrook, Miss E. Dix, Mr. Duncan (per Prof. Wills), Miss E.M. Gale, Prof. H.L. Hawkins, H. Dixon Hewitt, W.E. Howarth, Sir A Kitson, Prof. H.P. Lewis, A.G. MacGregor, T.B. Peel, E. Ranson, J. Ransom, W.G. Rose, Dr. Halnor Rosendahl, W.G. Shannon, A. G. Stenhouse, Lady Stiles, Dr. F.M. Trotter, Prof A.E. Trueman, L. W. Wilkins, E.J. Wooff, Miss Yeates, Photos miscellaneous.

Mary Sophia Johnston (1875-1955)

Miss Mary Sophia Johnston (1875-1955) joined the Geologists’ Association in 1898 and she became a life-long supporter of the GA. Notably she was secretary to the Illustrations and Photographic Committee from 1910 to 1925. She took responsibility for maintaining the Association’s albums of geological photographs regularly exhibiting them at the Annual Conversazione (today’s GA Festival). She lived in London, near Kew Gardens, and joined many GA field trips at home and abroad. She was widely travelled attending International Geological Congresses in Spain, France and South Africa, the British Association meeting in Canada, as well as visiting Egypt and New Zealand.

The two albums reproduced here were her own private record of field meetings she had attended between 1890 and 1937. M.S. Johnston was not usually a photographer asking friends to send her copies of their photographs. These albums are among the most personal and fascinating in the Carreck Photographic Archive. They illustrate GA members enjoying their field excursions and meetings, and are particularly well annotated. They also include letters, postcards, sketches and signatures sent to, and collected, by M.S. Johnston.

Leach, A.L., 1956. Mary Sophia Johnston (Obituary) Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 67, 197-199.

Link to album Album title Description
GA044 GA 'Carreck Archive'. M.S. Johnston album {1} One of two key volumes in the Carreck Archive. A scrapbook type compilation of photographs, correspondence, signatures and other ephemera. The focus is GA field trips and their attendees though other subjects are covered.
GA045 GA 'Carreck Archive'. M.S. Johnston album {2} One of two key volumes in the Carreck Archive. A scrapbook type compilation of photographs, correspondence, signatures and other ephemera. The focus is GA field trips and their attendees though other subjects are covered.


Larwood, J G. Geotourism: an early photographic insight through the lens of the Geologists' Association. In: Appreciating Physical Landscapes: Three Hundred Years of Geotourism. Geological Society, London, Special Publications Vol. 417, 2016.

McIntosh, R P. Historical geological photograph collections at the British Geological Survey. Edinburgh Geologist. Issue No. 53. Spring 2013. 5.5 MB pdf