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King's College London Department of Geology Records

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 KCLCA KDGL
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: King's College London Department of Geology Records
Date(s): 1828-1975
Level of description: Sub-fonds of King's College London Archives
Extent: 6 boxes
Name of creator(s): King's College London | Department of Geology


Administrative/Biographical history:

The first Professor of Mineralogy and Geology at King's College London was Charles Lyell, who resigned in 1833 in response to criticism that his lectures undermined accepted biblical chronology. The subject was taught under the various titles of Geology and Mining, Geology, Palaeontology and Mining, and Geology and Geography, with Mineralogy, in the Departments of Applied Sciences, Evening Classes and the Faculty of Science, Natural Science Division, from 1893. The Department of Geology was part of the Faculty of Natural Science from its inception in 1921 until the merger of King's, Queen Elizabeth and Chelsea Colleges in 1985, when the teaching of geology was discontinued and transferred to Royal Holloway College.


Scope and content/abstract:

Geology departmental records at King's College comprise correspondence, diagrams of fossils, exhibition photographs and negatives, 1828-1975. These notably include correspondence between Sir Charles Lyell, Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, King's College London, William Buckland, one time Professor of Geology, University of Oxford, and others concerning glaciation and descriptions of a tour of Italy undertaken by Lyell, 1828-1842; lecture notes on spectra, possibly compiled by Henry Clifton Sorby, geologist and Fellow of the Royal Society, [1859]; printed pamphlets on aspects of geology including microscopy and photography, 1857-1872; large hand-drawn diagrams of vertebrate fossils by Harry Govier Seeley, Professor of Geology and Geography, with Mineralogy, King's College London, [1876-1909]; manuscript catalogue of 200 different minerals belonging to Harry Govier Seeley, [1876-1909]; mounted photographs of Geology Department staff including Lyell, William Thomas Gordon and Professor James Taylor, and of Lyell's family estate, Kinnordy House, Kirriemuir, Scotland, fossils, various landscapes showing geological features and extracts from Lyell's papers, with negatives, for an exhibition marking the centenary of the deaths of Lyell and Charles Wheatstone, held at King's College, 1975; visitors' book, information leaflets and colour transparencies showing the exhibition on Lyell and Wheatstone, 1975; large display case containing the fabric banner commemorating Lyell's presidency of the British Association, 1864.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Material is boxed in broadly chronological order

Conditions governing access:

Administrative records are generally closed for 30 years except for published material and some committee and other minutes. Student and staff records are subject to an 80 year closure period after the date of leaving.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services.

Finding aids:

A brief hand-list is available in hard copy in the College Archives reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred by the Department of Geology. The Department's collection of mineralogical samples was moved to Royal Holloway in 1985.

Allied Materials

Related material:

King's College London College Archives: Examination question papers (Ref: KCLCA K/EX); Secretarial series (Ref: KCLCA KAS/AC2); papers of Maurice Kingsley Wells (Ref: KCLCA K/PP 46); papers of Professor David Leslie Linton (Ref: KCLCA K/PP 49).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: King's College Calendars and prospectuses. Entry compiled by Geoff Browell.

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

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