Edinburgh Geological Society

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains minute books of general and council meetings from 1834 to 1982; treasurer's accounts; laws, lists and rolls of members; membership applications; and, billets of meetings 1879 to 1939, and 1939-1990; correspondence; and, papers read 1863-64. Printed items include a history of the Edinburgh Geological Society; proceedings of the Society; copies of the Edinburgh Geologist; leaflets; and geological excursion guides.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Edinburgh Geological Society was formed in 1834. It was born out of a meeting of eleven members of a class in mineralogy conducted by Mr Alexander Rose. The meeting was held on Thursday 4 December 1834 in Robertson's Tavern, Milne's Close, in the city, where the decision was taken to start a society for "Discussion and Mutual Instruction". The society was to meet in Mr Rose's house at 2 Drummond Street, and was to be known as the Geological Society. Its first President was John Castle, and its first Secretary, James Brodie. Both were members of Mr Rose's class. The first scientific meeting of the Society was held on 8 December 1834, and the subject for discussion being whether or not Arthur's Seat (a hill in the city's Holyrood Park) was of volcanic origin. In 1863, the Society elected Sir Roderick Impey Murchison as its first Patron (1863-71), and he was followed by Sir Charles Lyell (1871-75). While today the Edinburgh Geological Society draws on the considerable geological expertise of the Grant Institute (the Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Edinburgh) and the British Geological Survey (at Murchison House), it welcomes and encourages amateur and professional alike to become involved in its lectures and excursions. The primary requirement for membership is an interest in geology. The Society has acquired such prestige that there is little difficulty in attracting high calibre speakers on a wide variety of subjects. Lecture meetings are held throughout the winter in the Grant Institute (Kings Buildings site). In the summer, a varied programme of excursions is organised. The Society publishes The Edinburgh Geologist once or twice a year. This publication consists of short papers on a wide range of geological topics with descriptions of geological localities.

Conditions Governing Access

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Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H43