Advent calendar

Door twenty three

Door 23Throughout the #geoadvent, we’ve been sharing some of the beautiful images which were submitted to our 100 Great Geosites photography competition – as well as some of the winners! Our third place went to a photograph of a geosite which is closely linked to one of our themes of 2015, William Smith and his amazing geological map of England and Wales…

Rotunda Museum c. Philip Hadland

Rotunda Museum c. Philip Hadland, our third place winner

christmas smith

William Smith, getting fully into the festive spirit



Built in 1829, the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough is one of the oldest purpose built museums still in use in the UK.

The design for its distinctive curved structure was the suggestion of William Smith (1769-1839), ‘Father of English geology’ and star of 2015, thanks to his famous geological map of England and Wales, published 200 years ago.

Smith moved to Scarborough after his release from debtor’s prison in London, drawn to Yorkshire’s dramatic Jurassic coastline.

Today, the museum holds one of the foremost collections of Jurassic geology on the Yorkshire coast.

We also received this striking image of the Museum’s interior, from Jennifer Whelan:

Rotunda Museum interior c Jennifer Whelan

Rotunda Museum interior c Jennifer Whelan

Sir David Attenborough with the newly unveiled Green Plaque at 15 Buckingham Street

Sir David Attenborough with the newly unveiled Green Plaque at 15 Buckingham Street

The Bicentennial Celebrations

Our celebrations of William Smith’s map were launched on his birthday, March 23rd, with the unveiling of a plaque at his former London residence by Sir David Attenborough, and an event at the Society.

‘I truly believe that William Smith is one of the great thinkers of the nineteenth century, and he deserves celebration’ said Sir David as he unveiled the plaque.

News of our discovery of a pristine early edition of Smith’s map also broke, hitting the headlines of the BBC and numerous other news sites.


9781905208326_Map_300The ‘Map’ Anthology

In April, the Society hosted the launch of ‘Map’, an anthology of poems inspired by Smith’s map and life. Edited by Geological Society librarian Michael McKimm, the anthology features contributions from a wide range of poets, many of whom were introduced to Smith’s work for the first time via the project.

Just this week, the anthology was included in the Poetry School’s list of the best poetry books of the year!

You can buy a copy from our website, or via Worple Press.

Here’s William Smith himself reading from the anthology at the Somerset Coal Canal Festival earlier this year…

"William Smith" at the Somerset Coal Canal Festival in July

“William Smith” at the Somerset Coal Canal Festival in July

Today is the last day of the year you can drop in and pay homage to William Smith and his map at the Geological Society – we’ll be closed for Christmas from 4pm until Monday 4th January!



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