Graphical version

Royal Institution of Great Britain

Webster, Thomas (c 1772-1844)


Reference code(s): GB 0116 Thomas Webster Collection

Held at: Royal Institution of Great Britain

Title: Webster, Thomas (c 1772-1844)

Date(s): c1799-1845

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 0.03 metres

Name of creator(s): Webster, Thomas, c 1772-1844. Geologist. Architect.


Administrative/Biographical history:

Thomas Webster was born in the Orkney Islands, Scotland in c 1772. He was educated in Aberdeen, Scotland before travelling to England and France, making architectural sketches on his journey. He became an architect in London and in 1799 he was Clerk of the Works at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI), employed to design the lecture theatre. He was also a geologist and in 1814 he wrote a paper called `On the Freshwater Formations of the Isle of Wight, with some Observations on the Strata Over the Chalk in the South East Part of England' in Transactions of the Geological Society of London, 2 (1814) 161-254. This study highlighted aspects of British geology not known before indicating upper secondary and tertiary strata, and was very important at the time. Thomas Webster became Curator of the Geological Society's museum and was Professor of Geology at University College London from 1842 to 1844. He died in London in 1844.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Thomas Webster consist of a bound volume, c1799-1845, containing the autobiography of Thomas Webster, 1837, a copy of the obituary on Webster and various letters including some to Benjamin Thompson, Count von Rumford (CG4/6/1).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

As outlined in scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Access to bona fide researchers by appointment with the Keeper of the Collections or the Assistant Archivist, Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI).

Conditions governing reproduction:

Reproduction of material is permitted at the discretion of the Keeper of the Collections, RI.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Card index at the RI.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Accumulated by the RI during the course of business.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Other papers of Thomas Webster are located at: the University of Wales Aberystwyth Library; London University, University College Manuscripts Room (reference: MS Add 49); Geological Society Library; Oxford University Bodleian Library Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (reference: MS top Hants e 10); Southampton University Library (reference: MS 47); Cambridge University Fitzwilliam Museum (reference: SG Perceval Collection). The Royal Institute of British Architects holds architectural drawings by Thomas Webster. They are fully catalogued and printed in the Catalogue of the Drawings Collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Volume T-Z, edited by Jill Lever (Gregg International, 1984), pp 200-202.

Publication note:

Some of the correspondence has been detailed in 'Some Correspondence of Thomas Webster (circa 1772-1844), Concerning the Royal Institution' in Annals of Science, 1972, 28:43-60.



Archivist's note: Sources: card index at the RI, detailed catalogue to be prepared. Description compiled by Miss Ivone Martins, Assistant Archivist, RI.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2001


Personal names
Webster | Thomas | ? 1772-1844 | geologist and architect

Corporate names
Royal Institution of Great Britain

London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe