The Geological Society and its official recognition, 1824–1828
Under the 1824–1826 presidency of William Buckland, the still young Geological Society negotiated with the Government a very important advance in terms of the official recognition of the Society and the emerging science of geology that the Society represented, by obtaining a prestigious new legal status in the form of a Royal Charter of Incorporation. Then, under William Fitton’s presidency, in 1828 the government granted the Society rent-free accommodation for both its meetings and its rapidly growing library and museum in the government offices in Somerset House, London. The objectives behind these two related moves are considered, although it is unfortunate that little of the detailed background documentation to these developments seem to have been preserved within either Society or government records. A brief account of what might have been – the possibility of seeking a Coat of Arms for the newly Chartered Society – concludes the story.
Figures & Tables
The Making of the Geological Society of London
Founded in 1807, the Geological Society of London became the world’s first learned society devoted to the Earth sciences. In celebration of the Society’s 200-year history, this book commemorates the lives of the Society’s 13 founders and sets geology in its national and European context at the turn of the nineteenth century. In Britain, geology was emerging as a subject in its own right from three closely related disciplines — chemistry, mineralogy and medicine — disciplines that reflect the principal professions and interests of the founders. The tremendous energy and cooperation of these 13 men, about whom little was previously known, quickly mobilized like-minded men around the country and fuelled the nation’s passion for geology; an enthusiasm that soon spread to America and Australia. Two previously unpublished works from this period, essential to understanding the founding of the Society, are reproduced here for the first time. The book closes with a review of the Society’s 2007 Bicentenary celebrations.