George Rolleston to Rev. George Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy of incomplete letter, first page missing. Written from [Oxford]. About the Royal Geographical Society. That the Society was a living testimony to the importance of the subject

Administrative / Biographical History

'... about the Royal Geographical Society ... that Society was a living ocular testimony to the importance of the subject'

The Geographical Society was founded in 1830. Its most important work at first was to give help and encouragement to expeditions that British explorers undertook all over the world. At the same time efforts were made to improve geographical education. Geography was taught in Universities only for short periods until 1887 when HJ MacKinder (1861-1967) was appointed to teach Geography at Oxford University. GG Chisholm (1850-1930) became the first lecturer in geography at Edinburgh University in 1908. In 'Recollections of George Butler' by Josephine E Butler, she relates how her husband introduced the study of geography and gives an amusing account of the incredible ignorance of learned men on the whereabouts of any place outside the limits of Western Europe. In an obituary notice on the Rev George Butler for Apr 1890 in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society we read:

'Especial regard must be shown to the valuable support given by Canon Butler to our Society in its efforts more than 20 years ago, to improve the teaching of geography in public schools ... His pupils were among the earliest and most successful competitors for the prizes that were offered by our Society to the public schools ...' (see 'Recollections' pp 76-80)

Date: Uncertain but most likely it was during Butler's headship at Liverpool College (1866-1882), where he encouraged the teaching of geography

Biog: Prof George Rolleston (1829-1881)