AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

LOFTUS, William Kennett (c.1821-1858)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 378 LDGSL/69
Held at: Geological Society of London
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: LOFTUS, William Kennett (c.1821-1858)
Date(s): [1849-1855]
Level of description: Series
Extent: 186pp mss and large volume
Name of creator(s): Loftus | William Kennett | c.1821-1858 | archaeologist and traveller
Churchill | Henry Adrian | 1828-1886 | archaeologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Kennett Loftus was born in Rye, Sussex in c 1821. He was educated at Newcastle Grammar School, a school in Twickenham and later at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he did not take a degree. Loftus' interest in geology may have been inspired by the lectures of Prof Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor at Cambridge, certainly it was Sedgwick who proposed Loftus as a Fellow of the Society in 1842.

Sir Henry De la Beche, Director of the Geological Survey, recommended Loftus to Lord Palmerston for the post of geologist on the staff of Sir William Fenwick Williams on the Turco-Persian frontier commission. This joint commission, consisting of representatives appointed by the British, Russian, Turkish and Persian governments, was charged with defining the border between Turkey and Persia [now Iran], the work which it undertook between 1849-1852.

The publication of the paper was delayed due to a bout of ill health and Loftus' absorption in his archaelogical digs around the biblical cities of Mesopotamia. In 1855, Loftus was appointed to the Geological Survey of India however his health, already weakened from a fever which he developed in the swamps of Assyria, completely broke down due to sunstroke. He died on the return voyage aboard the Tyburnia on 27 November 1858 from the effects of an abscess of the liver.


Scope and content/abstract:

Part one of manuscript of paper, 'On the geology of portions of the Turko-Persian frontier and of the districts adjoining' by William Kennett Loftus, [1854-1855], from research conducted during Loftus' tenure as part of the joint Turco-Persian frontier commission between 1849-1852. Also large volume containing the manuscript watercolour and ink drawings of landscapes and geological sections, which illustrated the paper, by Loftus and Henry Adrian Churchill who was the secretary of the British contingent of the joint commission, [1849-1855].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The illustrations and accompanying manuscript were catalogued as two separate items. For descriptive purposes and to make them easier to find, they have been reunited.

Conditions governing access:

Access is by appointment only, daily readership fee is applicable unless you are a member of the Society. Please contact the Archivist for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to copyright and the condition of the original, may be supplied. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Second part of manuscript to be found in the George Bellas Greenough papers, University College London.

Publication note:

Read 21 June 1854, initial abstract of paper published as: Loftus, W K. "On the Geology of portions of the Turko-Persian Frontier, and of the Districts adjoining", Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, vol 10 (1854), pp464-469. Publication of full paper was postponed but eventually published as: Loftus, W K. "On the Geology of portions of the Turko-Persian Frontier, and of the Districts Adjoining", Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, vol 11 (1855) pp247-344.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; obituary, Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, vol 16 (1860). Description by John Thackray; revised by Caroline Lam.

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:
Dec 1983; Aug 2012

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"