The Carboniferous rocks of the Pennine Basin form the topographical spine of the region between the Scottish Border and the Peak District. They provided many of the mineral resources that fuelled the Industrial Revolution and the growth of the great northern English cities. The description of these resources was very much a focus of early papers in the Proceedings, but they went beyond the assessment of their economic importance, providing striking early insights into our understanding of deep time when the Bible still had a strong control on scientific thinking. Over a 180 year history of publication, the Proceedings and Occasional Publications contain an unparalleled description of the rocks of the Pennine Basin of Carboniferous deposition, and they continue to provide great insight into what have been intensively studied successions but of which much still remains to be learned. This review considers the relevance of these publications to our understanding of the sedimentology of Carboniferous strata, the geometries of Carboniferous basins, how these basins constrained the formation of reefs and controlled the movement of rivers and deltas in the process of eventual infill of these basins, and how sea-level variations influenced the development of cyclical successions, the hallmark of much of the Carboniferous succession.