Webster Lectures, notes

Scope and Content

Manuscript notes, taken by G Hamilton, on a course of lectures on geology delivered by Thomas Webster in 1827, with two letters from Webster to University College London relating to his Professorship, 1841.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Webster: born in Scotland, c1772; attended Aberdeen University; trained as an architect in London; Clerk of Works at the Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, London, 1799; designed its lecture theatre, 1800; became a member of the newly-founded Geological Society, 1809; conducted geological investigations, including the Isle of Wight, 1811-1813; held various offices in the Geological Society from 1812; his publications from 1814 highlighted previously unknown aspects of British geology, including pioneering work on the stratigraphy of the Isle of Wight; an associate of G B Greenough, to whose 'Geological Map of England and Wales' (1819) he contributed; one of the first Fellows of the Geological Society, 1825; granted a government pension of £50 a year for his services to geology; appointed first Professor of Geology at University College London, 1841; died in London Street, Fitzroy Square, London, 1844; buried in Highgate cemetery; associated with a rare British mineral, Websterite, and with various fossils. Publications include: edited John Imison's 'Elements of Science and Art' (Cadell & Davies, London, 1808, and London, 1822); 'On the fresh-water formations in the Isle of Wight, with some observations on the strata over the Chalk in the south-east part of England'; 'Transactions of the Geological Society', ii, pp 161-254 (1814); papers for the Royal Society on the geology of the Upper Secondary and Tertiary strata of south-east England (1814-1825); with Sir Henry Charles Englefield, 'Description of ... the Isle of Wight' (Payne and Foss, London, 1816); with Mrs William Parkes, edited 'Encyclopdia of Domestic Economy' (London, 1844).

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented to University College London by Birmingham Public Libraries in 1962.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description

Conditions Governing Use

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds six original pencil and wash drawings by Thomas Webster, commissioned by Sir Henry Englefield for his 'Description of ... the Isle of Wight' (1815), and executed c1811-1812; a manuscript report by Webster on the iron ore at Brockwell [1828] (Ref: MS MISC 2W); letters from Webster relating to his application and appointment as Professor and to other College business, 1835-1843 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE); an offprint by Nicholas Edwards, 'Thomas Webster' (1971) (Ref: COLLEGE COLLECTION DW 37).

The Royal Institution of Great Britain holds an autobiography, correspondence and papers (Ref: MS 121 A-B). The Geological Society of London holds drawings and papers. University of Wales Aberystwyth, Library, holds correspondence (150 items), 1818-1844. Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, holds a draft copy of Sir Henry Englefield's Description of ... the Isle of Wight annotated by Webster, 1802 (Ref: MS top Hants e 10). Southampton University Library holds geological notes and correspondence with Sir H C Englefield, 1811-1815 (Reference : MS 47). Cambridge University, Fitzwilliam Museum, holds miscellaneous correspondence (51 items), 1814-1838 (Ref: SG Perceval collection). The Royal Institute of British Architects holds architectural drawings by Thomas Webster, catalogued and printed in Catalogue of the Drawings Collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Volume T-Z, ed Jill Lever (Gregg International, 1984), pp 200-202.