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FERMOR, Sir Lewis Leigh (1880-1954)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 378 LDGSL/348
Held at: Geological Society of London
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Full title: FERMOR, Sir Lewis Leigh (1880-1954)
Date(s): 1889-1998
Level of description: Series
Extent: 15 files and 5 volumes
Name of creator(s): FERMOR | Sir | Lewis Leigh | 1880-1954 | Knight | geologist
FERMOR | Lady | Frances Mary | 1898-1990 | née Case | 2nd wife of Lewis Leigh Fermor
Geological Society | 1801-


Administrative/Biographical history:

Lewis Leigh Fermor was born in Peckham on 18th September 1880, the eldest of six children of a bank clerk. After gaining a National Scholarship to attend the Royal College of Science in 1898, Fermor began studying metallurgy with the aim of working at the Royal Mint. He was eventually encouraged to apply to the Geological Survey of India by Professor J W Judd, and departed for India in 1902.

There followed a long and successful career at the Geological Survey of India. In 1909, after discovering six manganese minerals, his report on the manganese deposits of the country earned him his DSc. During WW1 he assisted the Railway Board and the Indian Munitions Board, for which he received an OBE in 1919. He lead the surveying of the Archaean rocks of Madhya Pradesh both before and after the First World War. Although he officially became director of the Survey in 1932, he had previously acted as such for several years in the 1920s and from 1930 onwards. He retired from the directorship in 1935, but continued to live in India until 1939 as a consulting geologist.

Fermor eventually retired to Bristol, and died on 24th May 1954. His knighthood came in 1935, with other honours including the presidency of the Indian Science Congress (1933), first President of the National Institute of Sciences of India (1935), FRS (1934) and President of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (1951-1952). He became a fellow of the Geological Society in 1902, received the Bigsby Medal in 1921 for his earlier work on garnets, and served on Council from 1943-1947. He married his first wife, Muriel Ambler, in 1909, with whom he had two children (Vanessa and the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor) before divorcing, and his second wife, Frances Mary Case, in 1933.


Scope and content/abstract:

Personal papers, notebooks and diaries relating to Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, particularly his early life. Personal papers include marriage certificate to second wife (Lady Frances Fermor), and birth certificate of son (Patrick Leigh Fermor), CV, photos, and his initial contract with the Geological Survey of India, with diaries covering 1902-1904 and 1908, and notebooks on natural history.

The series also includes extensive correspondence between Lady Frances Fermor, the Geological Society, and other individuals on the subject of Lady Fermor's will and the establishment of the Fermor Fund and Fermor Lecture, as well as the will itself and conditions of the Fund.

Material ranges in date from 1889 to 1998.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Three sub-series: Personal Papers of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor; Notebooks and Diaries of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor; Personal Papers of Lady Frances Mary Fermor (Fermor Fund). Each of these contains 4-6 files.

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:

An online, detailed catalogue will be available shortly.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Many items donated by Lady Frances Mary Fermor or her estate. Some correspondence sent by the Geological Society.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description by Victoria Woodcock.

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:
January 2014

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