The William Smith Map Bicentenary is big news in the geological world this year, as lots of exciting events are planned to commemorate this seminal 1815 depiction of the varied geology of England, Wales and part of Scotland. This was the first map of its kind produced anywhere in the world. The original maps are very scarce, as it is thought that only 70 copies are in existence today.
Fortuitously, The Geological Society has unearthed a precious example of one of these maps , stashed away in their archives. The mislaid artefact was last seen 40 or 50 years ago, and was filed away so securely, that no-one actually knew its whereabouts! Being tucked away in a leather case, in fact, helped preserve the vivid colours of the map. The Geological Society has had the map fully restored and digitised, and can be viewed online. The paper version will go on display at the society’s Burlington House HQ in London’s Piccadilly.
Click here to find out more about the impact of Smith’s iconic map and also the dedication and expertise involved in collecting the data that was so useful to landowners of the time – and geologists ever since.
Our MD Darren Ward was lucky enough to attend the official launch of the William Smith Bicentenary at The Geological Society headquarters. Lots of events are planned throughout the year including lectures, a fossil festival and field trips. Take a look at them here. The date for the prestigious and well-attended launch (Monday 23rd March) was well-chosen, as that is Smith’s birth date. To add to the sense of commemoration, Sir David Attenborough unveiled a plaque at Smith’s former residence at 15 Buckingham Street on London’s Embankment.
The map really is a piece of geological history, that has been hugely influential to geology in the 200 years since its creation, and it’s great that the bicentenary is being marked in so many interesting and apt ways.