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Geology Department of Imperial College

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0098 KG
Held at: Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine
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Full title: Geology Department of Imperial College
Date(s): Created 1876-1996 (ongoing)
Level of description: Series of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine records
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Extent: 16 boxes
Name of creator(s): Royal School of Mines
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Department of Geology has its origins in the Museum of Economic Geology, a collection of minerals, maps and mining equipment made by Sir Henry De la Beche, and opened in 1841. The Museum also provided some student places for the study of mineralogy and metallurgy. Sir Henry was the director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, and when the collections outgrew the premises the Museum and the Survey were placed on an official footing, with Government assistance. The Museum of Practical Geology and the Government School of Mines Applied to the Arts, with its Geology Department, opened in a purpose designed building in Jermyn Street in 1851. The officers of the Geological Survey became the lecturers and professors of the School of Mines (renamed the Royal School of Mines in 1863). Sir Andrew Ramsay was appointed to the first Chair of Geology in 1851 and retired in 1876. The department moved to South Kensington in 1877, and was transferred from the Royal College of Science to the Royal School of Mines in 1966.
The Technology of Oil (later Oil Technology) programme was established in 1913, with Applied Geophysics being introduced in the 1930s. Previously, the Departments of Physics, Mathematics, Meteorology and Chemistry had contributed towards research in Geophysics. Geochemistry studies were first undertaken in the Department in 1948, leading to the establishment of the Geochemical Prospecting Research Centre in 1954 (by 1965 the Applied Geochemistry Research Group). In the early 1970s Oil Technology was divided into Petroleum Geology and Petroleum Engineering, with the latter being incorporated into the Mineral Resources Engineering Department of the Royal School of Mines.
In 1998 the T H Huxley School of Environment, Earth Sciences and Engineering was formed from the Department of Geology, Earth Resources Engineering, the Centre for Environmental Technology and the Environment Office.
The Murchison Museum was disbanded in 1990.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Department of Geology of Imperial College, 1876-1996, including histories and notes on the department, [1851]-1996; papers relating to courses, 1878-1949, comprising notes, 1896-1942, including laboratory work, 1878-1883; courses for teachers, 1895-1908; lectures and addresses by Professor Herbert Harold Read, 1942-1949; Rectors' correspondence, 1955-1981, concerning grants, headship, transfer of the department, courses; newletters, 1969-1995; research report, 1988; papers of Professors' and Heads of Sections' Meetings, 1969-1988; papers of historical interest accumulated by the department, 1876-1964, including Professorial correspondence, 1876-1916; departmental reports, 1907-1930; financial papers, 1906-1936; war work, 1914-1919; papers of Professor Percy George Hamnall Boswell, 1932-1960; Professor Charles Gilbert Cullis, 1923-1937; Professor Herbert Harold Read, 1944-1964 (KG);
papers relating to Geochemistry, concerning the opening of new laboratories, 1956; Wolfson Foundation grant, 1978 (KGC); items from the Murchison Museum, [1773-1825] (KGM); papers relating to Geophysics, including correspondence with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Royal Society concerning the foundation of a postgraduate school, 1929-1943; leaflet, 1956 (KGP3); papers relating to Oil Technology (KGO).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged in sections as outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Researchers wishing to consult the Archives should first contact the College Archivist, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, for an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Archivist. Photocopies are supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

A catalogue is available at the College Archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Created and accumulated by the Royal School of Mines and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine during the course of business.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of the Royal School of Mines and Royal College of Science (D), Royal College of Science (E), papers of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay (KGA RAMSAY), Professor John Wesley Judd (KGA JUDD), George Slater (KGA SLATER), records of the Department of Materials (KMET), records relating to the University of London (UL), held at Imperial College.

Papers of Percy George Hamnall Boswell, comprising correspondence, papers and autobiography, 1912-1960, held at Liverpool University, Department of Special Collections and Archives (reference: D4); correspondence with John Linton Myres, 1931-1948, held at the Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (reference: MSS Myers).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
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:
October 2000

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