Monthly Archives: April 2019

Highfield Campus 100: 1940s

The Second World War was a period of both anxiety and opportunity for University College, Southampton. The decision not to evacuate the Highfield site allowed the College to play a full part in wartime training and education, and to undertake research related to the war effort but meant that students and staff were potentially at risk from enemy action.

Above Bar, looking south. December 1940 [Cope photograph SOU 91.5 ABO ph2809]

Lying on the outskirts of Southampton, the College escaped the destruction seen in the town centre and port area, where approximately 2,630 bombs and 31,000 incendiaries killed 631 people and wounded a further 1,882. At Highfield, precautions against enemy attack included nine air raid shelters, blast walls and several static water tanks, with a fire truck standing by for the twenty-four hour fire patrol. Inevitably, the College suffered some damage; in 1940 an incendiary bomb set fire to one of the First World War huts, Highfield Hall received widespread blast damage on two occasions in 1941, South Stoneham House was damaged when bombs fell nearby and on 15 May 1944 the most serious damage was caused when a bomb landed close to the Zoology and Geology Building. Rumour had it that the exhibits from the Geology Museum were swept up with the rest of the rubble.

University College, Southampton A.R.P. Handbook (1941) [Univ. Coll. LF 785.8]

The war saw the College expand. It was urged to take as many undergraduates in science and engineering as possible, courses being reduced to two years, the maximum period of deferment prior to call-up and the period for which new Government bursaries were awarded. At the same time the number of technical students taking certificate and diploma courses also increased. The marine engineering courses and those of the new School of Radio-Telegraphy, which supplied engineers and wireless operators to the Merchant Navy, were particularly important in the war effort. Officers, British and Polish were trained at the Department of Navigation, based at South Stoneham House. In a new departure, training was also provided for the armed services, 2,146 trainees having participated in courses by July 1942. The College was also one of only four university institutions to host intensive six month cadet courses for the Royal Air Force.

Teaching a three year course in two years placed a heavy burden on staff in some departments but in others student numbers fell, with Law and Theology closing. A demand for adult education kept many staff busy. The bulk of the work, undertaken alongside the Workers’ Educational Association, proved to be in providing lectures, short courses and classes on a range of subjects to members of the armed forces stationed locally. By 1943/44 the combined number of extra-mural civilian and service students reached 2,864.

Key members of staff were seconded to the war effort, including Professor Betts of History who advised the BBC on Czech broadcasting, Professor Cave-Browne-Cave of Engineering who went to the Ministry of Home Security as Director of Camouflage, whilst Dr Zepler of Physics moved to the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge. Research directly related to the war continued, including methods of water recovery for desert vehicles, design of assault bridges, equipment for testing gyro navigation instruments and investigations related to poison gases and defence against their use.

New Engineering Building [MS1/Phot/ 22/5/1 p.14]

With all this activity, pressure on space increased and the College was fortunate in having been allowed to complete the new Engineering Building in 1939 and the Union and Refectory in 1940. Wartime spirit saw temporary accommodation offered to others, including the Southampton Food Office and staff from Supermarine, who were housed briefly in the old Refectory and the Geography Hut when the Woolston factory was bombed in September 1940. Halls of residence welcomed, amongst others, French soldiers after Dunkirk, students from University College, London and nurses bombed out of the Royal South Hants Hospital.

The new Union and Refectory Building c.1941 [MS1/Phot/11/4]

For students, the war brought intensive study and a more restricted life. Male students on full-time courses were required to join the Senior Training Corps or the University Air Squadron, the teaching day being extended to accommodate the STC’s daily lunchtime parade. Pressure on time led some student societies to close, whilst travel difficulties affected sporting fixtures. One unforeseen effect of the war was the sanctioning of the first mixed hall of residence, when shortage of space saw men admitted to the women’s Highfield Hall.

Entertainments continued as far as possible, although the Annual Report of 1941 noted ‘considerable feeling’ in the Union about dances ending at 8.30. Presumably this did not apply to the dance held to mark the end of the war which Senate ‘very kindly consented to  … as the most pleasant way of celebration.’

Senior Training Corps on parade outside the Union [MS1/2/4/11]

Many students had contributed directly to the war effort by working with the A.R.P., the Women’s Voluntary Service and Southampton Information Service, where they acted as messengers, drivers, typists and loud-speaker van announcers. Students had also raised funds for the International Student Service which was engaged in relief work with refugee students and prisoners of war. Some twenty-three refugee students had received free tuition at the College, a Committee having been set up in February 1939 to provide assistance to refugee scholars.

Sixty-eight of those who passed through the College prior to armed service lost their lives in the conflict. They are commemorated on the War Memorial Tablet, unveiled by Sir Samuel Gurney-Dixon, Chairman of Council,  on 7th November 1948.

Sir Samuel Gurney-Dixon unveiling the War Memorial Tablet,  University of Southampton Press Cuttings v.2 [Rare Books Univ. Coll. LF 787.62]

As an institution, University College, Southampton had had ‘a good war’ and was certainly in a better financial  position in 1945 than it had been in 1939. Revenue from student fees, a bequest from Professor Lyttel of History and an increase in the County Council grant meant that at the end of war its deficit had decreased from a pre-war figure of £39,000 to £14,000.

The College’s post-war success owed much to forward planning. A 1942 publication, Looking Forward Looking Back, spoke of its aspirations as an educational institution – the importance of independent work in laboratory and library, the need to avoid increases in tuition fees and of promoting a ‘corporate life’ based on knowledge and understanding of the aims and objects of the College. In contrast, The Needs of University College Southampton in the Post-War Period (1944) gave a list of objectives, costed and divided into three phases. The first would see a general strengthening of academic departments, the acquisition of land, extensions to existing buildings, a new Assembly Hall and new Chemistry building, and would require capital expenditure of £258,110. Later phases would bring additional staff, further development of the Highfield site and more halls of residence.

With these ambitious plans, the College found itself pushing against an open door in terms of Government support. There was a scheme of further education for ex-service personnel, a policy of increasing the number of graduates, especially in science and engineering, and financial support available for such activities.

Sir Robert Wood  [MS1/Phot/39/ph 3125]

In 1946 the Principal, Kenneth Vickers, retired and was replaced by Sir Robert Wood, a civil servant, whose skills were well suited to the new era. When the University Grants Committee (which on a visit had commented on the poor accommodation and extremely low academic salaries) requested a statement of needs and proposals, the College was ready with its plan. The number of full-time undergraduates would increase to 1,000 to 1,300 (the current figure being 586) and the related building programme would require £650,000-£700,000 in capital expenditure.

The proposals ultimately proved too ambitious in post-war Britain, but during the next three years the College did receive around £360,000 in capital grants allowing it to achieve many of its goals. It acquired the disused brickfield behind the Union and Refectory Building and the Glen Eyre Estate at Bassett, earmarked for halls of residence. The new Assembly Hall was completed by March 1949, the Institute of Education Building being finished later the same year as were the first student houses at Glen Eyre. The new Chemistry Building was opened in stages between 1948 and 1952.

View of Glen Eyre Wessex News (1st November, 1949) [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Steps were taken to improve academic departments in part by reducing the number of technical courses and freeing staff time for university work. From the session of 1947/48 basic courses were transferred to Southampton Education Authority, leading to a reduction in number of technical students, which in 1946/7 had stood at almost 3,000 compared with 586 undergraduates.

The College had received a special commendation for its contribution to the war effort in terms of electronics and radio-technology and in 1947 Electronics was recognised as a department in its own right. In 1949, Dr Zepler, who returned from Cambridge after the war, became the department’s first Professor. Both Philosophy and Geography became independent departments, whilst those of Law and Theology were revived. The social sciences faculty envisaged by Professor Percy Ford came closer to realisation with the introduction of courses in public administration, accountancy and social work. The College also became home to the new Institute of Education which was to provide for the organisation of the teacher training in the area, in cooperation with the local education authorities and training colleges.

Institute of Education Building [MS/1/ Phot/22/5/1 p.16]

By 1948, the number of undergraduates had grown from a pre-war figure of 325 to 892. Despite South Stoneham reverting to a men’s hall of residence on the Department of Navigation’s move to Warsash, the College could no longer accommodate its students and by 1947 appeals for approved lodgings for 300 students had to be made in the local press.

Student societies thrived, the Dramatic and Choral being two of the most successful. The session of 1948/49 saw the new Assembly Hall in use for a production of Twelfth Night, as a venue for the Debating Society and for badminton, gym and boxing. Wessex News, which had ceased publication in June 1944, was revived in 1946 carrying all the news of student life.

1947/48 brought the revival of the College Rag – suspended in 1930 for being too riotous. The Rag Procession of around 700 students took place on 10 February 1948, other highlights being the ‘Gaslight Gaieties’ show on the Royal Pier, a Rag Ball and the Goblio, a rag magazine, full of jokes which have not necessarily stood the test of time. After this, Rag once again became a regular event.

Goblio (1949) [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Goblio (1948) [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

At the end of 1940s the College’s past lingered in the ‘shanty-town’ of First World War huts which remained at Highfield but the new redbrick buildings were a sign of progress. In June 1949 Sir Robert Wood achieved a major breakthrough in the quest for independent University status, when London University agreed to a ‘special relationship’ between the two institutions. This allowed College staff, appointed by London, to cooperate in setting and marking exams in order to establish academic standards prior to Southampton awarding its own degrees. Following the agreement, degrees were conferred for the first time, not in London but in Southampton, at the Presentation Day held at the Guildhall on 5 November 1949.

Find out how ‘the College’ became ‘the University’ next month as we reach the 1950s.

Article on the importance of Presentation Day by Sir Robert Wood Wessex News 1st November 1949 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Many digitised sources for the history of the University are available at Internet Archive

Advertisements

“And so, by God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advancement of human happiness”: Lord Shaftesbury, Social Reform, and Philanthropy

On 28 April this year, we celebrate what would have been Anthony Ashley-Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury’s 218th birthday. We mark this occasion by focusing this blog post on Lord Shaftesbury as a social reformer and a philanthropist, and his papers at Southampton.

Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/55]

Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/55]

Born on 28 April in 1801 in Grosvenor Square, London as Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury was the fourth and eldest child of Cropley Ashley-Cooper, who became sixth Earl of Shaftesbury in 1811, and Lady Anne Spencer-Churchill, daughter of the fourth Duke of Marlborough.

Poem written by Lord Shaftesbury’s sister for Lord Shaftesbury for his eight birthday [MS 62 SHA/MIS/62]

Poem written by Anthony Ashley-Cooper’s sister for Anthony’s eighth birthday [MS 62 SHA/MIS/62]

Shaftesbury begun his education at Harrow School from 1813-1816, and afterwards attended Christ Church College at the University of Oxford, graduating with a first-class degree in Classics in 1822, a Master’s Degree in 1832, and becoming a Doctor of Civil Law in 1841.

Lord Shaftesbury, October 1858 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/49]

Lord Shaftesbury, October 1858 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/49]

On 10 June 1830, Shaftesbury married Lady Emily Cowper, daughter of Emily, Countess Cowper, at St George’s Hanover Square in London. The marriage was a steady and ardent one, leading to the birth of sixth boys, which include (Anthony) Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, politician and biographer, for whom we hold papers, and four girls, born between 1831 and 1849.

Lady Emily Cowper, wife of Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/61]

Lady Emily Cowper, wife of Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/61]

Following his father’s footsteps, who was MP for Dorchester 1791-1811, and Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords from 1814-1851, Shaftesbury was first elected to Parliament in 1826 as MP for Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

A serious-minded and ambitious young man, Shaftesbury made his first notable speech supporting a Bill to amend the Lunacy Laws in 1828. This was a result of there being little legislation in place to regulate asylums and their treatment of the mentally ill. At this time, the safety of communities came first, and the role of asylums was to protect the public from the mentally ill and to keep the mentally ill secure, leading to abuse and neglect of the patients becoming normality.

In June 1827, Robert Gordon brought to the attention of the House of Commons the state of pauper lunatics, which led to a report issued by an appointed Committee of Inquiry, that revealed failings and cruelties. On 19 February 1928, Gordon brought in a Bill to amend the law for the regulation of lunatic asylums. He brought attention to cases of illegal confinement and intimidation of sane persons, as well as neglect and abuse to the mentally ill. He also pointed out how legislation prevented the College of Physicians of acting on discoveries they had made from the inspections on asylums that they were permitted to conduct. Shaftesbury supported Gordon’s motion, and made his first important speech in Parliament, emphasising the necessity that something should be done in relation to the treatment of the mentally ill, citing several instances that had come within his own awareness. Shaftesbury briefly refers to his first speech in his diary:

“Feb 20th-Last night I ventured to speak, and, God be praised, I did not utterly disgrace myself, though the exhibition was far from glorious; but the subject was upon Lunatic Asylums…Gordon had requested me to second his motion… I did not decline, more especially as I had heard that from certain circumstances my support in this affair would render some small service to the cause. And so, by God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advancement of human happiness. May I improve hourly!” [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p36]

Lord Shaftesbury's diary entry for February 20th 1828 [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p.36]

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary entry for February 20th 1828 [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p.36]

Following this speech, a Bill transferring powers of lunatic asylums from the College of Physicians to fifteen Metropolitan Commissioners appointed by the Home Secretary, and the condition of private patients having two medical certificates, was passed on 15 July 1828. Shaftesbury became one of these commissioners, and went on to become Chairman in 1833.

Taking over Michael Sadler’s seat in the parliamentary leadership for the campaign for factory reforms and shorter hours of work in January 1833, was where Shaftesbury made his greatest achievements.

During the 1820s and 1830s, factory work was prioritised over education for children. In some areas with populations of over 100,000, there was not a single public day school for poor children, leading to parents sending their children to work for more than 12 hours a day in factories and mills. These “apprentices” were worked cruelly in extremely hot conditions, and in the fumes of oil.

Shaftesbury placed great importance on education for moral and spiritual reasons, and so his first motive was to limit the time worked by children and young people in factories to ten hours a day. He was met with strong opposition, but following a Royal Commission completing investigations, the Factory Act of 1833 was passed on 17th July. In many ways, this new government measure represented a great improvement on previous legislation. The new Act applied to not just cotton mills, but to woollen worsted, hemp, flax, tow, linen, and silk mills unlike previous legislation. No person under the age of eighteen was to be employed for more than twelve hours a day, or sixty-nine a week. The regular factory day for all over twelve and under eighteen was fixed at thirteen and a half hours, and these hours were to be taken between 5.30am and 8.30pm. Children of the protected age were to attend school no less than two hours daily.

However, the legislation did not provide the higher limits and measures of regulation that Shaftesbury and the Ten Hours Movement had advocated, much to his disappointment. The shift system could not be adopted by several employers, and registration of births did not begin until 1837. In addition, the schooling element was not practical in many cases, due to there being no schools in many places. Shaftesbury achieved success in 1842 with the passing of the Mines Act. He continued to work tirelessly towards supporting legislation to protect children into the 1870s.

“24 January 1842-Have written twice to Peel to obtain his final decision respecting the Factory Bill. It is manifest how the tide is setting. I must persist, and we shall break asunder. But it is a formidable step. God alone can strengthen me.” [MS 62 SHA/PD/2, p.88]

Speech of the Earl of Shaftesbury on the second reading of the Factories Bill in the House of Lords, July 9th 1874 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/38]

Speech of the Earl of Shaftesbury on the second reading of the Factories Bill (health of women, etc.) in the House of Lords, July 9th 1874 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/38]

In August 1840, Shaftesbury advocated for a Commission to enquire into the employment of the children of the poorer classes in mines and collieries. The first report was issued in May 1842. Most workers underground were aged less than thirteen, with some as young as four or five. Children would work up to twelve or fourteen hours a day in damp, dark and hot conditions, often accompanied by rats, and other vermin. Numerous workers would develop heart and lung disease early on in life, and education was completely neglected. The discoveries voiced in the May 1842 report, which included illustrations, awakened the outrage of the whole country.

On June 7th 1842, Shaftesbury introduced a Bill to exclude all females, boys under thirteen, and all parish apprentices, and to forbid the employment of anyone as an engineman under the age of twenty-one or over fifty. The Mines and Collieries Act was passed on 14 July 1842, prohibiting all underground work for women and girls, and for boys under 10. Shaftesbury went on to secure legislation in 1845 to control the employment of children in cotton printworks.

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary, 1845-47 [MS 62 SHA/PD/4]

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary, 1845-47 [MS 62 SHA/PD/4]

Shaftesbury had also turned his attention to chimney-sweep children, known as “the climbing boys”. Children would be bought and sold to a life of grime and hardship, ending for many either from a form of cancer, or from suffocation in a flue. In 1840 Shaftesbury supported a Bill that prohibited the climbing of chimneys by any person under the age of twenty-one, and the apprenticeship to a sweep of any boy under sixteen. Penalties and fines were also proposed for those who broke these rules. Shaftesbury advocated the Bill in the House of Commons by reporting that the current chimney sweep system had resulted in more deprivation and impoverishment than existed in any other Christian country. He also emphasised that conditions for factory children were currently ten times better than that of chimney sweeps. The Bill was passed and the system was ordered to come into force in July 1842.

In the late 1840s, Shaftesbury soon became a leading figure in Irish church missions to Roman Catholics, and the British and Foreign Bible Society, as well as the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes. He wished to continue to made a difference in improving education opportunities for children. Disappointed at his attempt to legislate for the provision of education in factories in 1843, he became the President of the Ragged School Union in 1844, a post that he was to hold for 39 years. This organisation enabled 300,000 destitute children to be educated for free at what were called ragged schools, or industrial feeding schools. In the late 1840s, Shaftesbury actively promoted schemes for supporting the emigration of young people whose prospects in Britain were poor.

The Ragged School Union Quarterly Record, January 1880 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/43]

The Ragged School Union Quarterly Record, January 1880 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/43]

In 1848 Shaftesbury was appointed as commissioner of the newly formed Board of Health. He used this position to campaign profusely to improve social conditions in Britain, advocating for the closure of overcrowded city burial grounds, and for the improvement of water supplies for the metropolis. In the late 1860s Lord Shaftesbury (of which he became in 1851), also took up the cause of mission to the costermongers (street traders) of London, and promoted the use of ships for housing and training homeless boys.

Lord Shaftesbury cartoon MS 62 BR69

Lord Shaftesbury cartoon [MS 62 BR69]

The Shaftesbury papers form part of the Broadlands Archives. They consist of correspondence, papers, diaries, journals, estate and legal papers, family history papers and various papers on religious reflections of Lord Shaftesbury (of which he became in 1851). Other papers of the 7th Earl remain with Ashley-Cooper family papers at St Giles House, Dorset.

Correspondence from Lord Shaftesbury to his wife Lady Emily Cowper

Correspondence from Lord Shaftesbury to his wife Lady Shaftesbury

 

“Ill-advised man!”: the Duke of Wellington and his duel

On 13 April 1829 the Roman Catholic Relief Act was passed by Parliament. It was guided through the parliamentary process by the Prime Minster the Duke of Wellington and the Home Secretary Robert Peel, overcoming vehement opposition, including from the King George IV.

Draft of points agreed with George IV relating to Catholic emancipation, 27 January 1829

Part of a memorandum by Wellington listing the points settled on a visit to George IV about the Roman Catholic emancipation question, 27 January 1829 [MS 61 WP1/993/73]

The act represented the legislative move towards Catholic emancipation and for Catholics to be able to take a seat in the Parliament at Westminster. Daniel O’Connell, who had won the by-election in Clare in 1828, and who was leader of the Catholic Association and in the campaign for Catholic emancipation, was now able to take his seat as MP.

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington

Wellington had not originally supported the move for Catholic emancipation and was harshly criticised by those most vehemently opposed. None more so than George Finch-Hatton, tenth Earl of Winchilsea. Winchilsea accused Wellington of “an insidious design for the infringement of our liberties and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State”.

Stung, Wellington challenged him to a duel:

“… Since the insult, unprovoked on my part, and not denied by your lordship, I have done everything in my power to induce your lordship to make me reparation, but in vain. Instead of apologizing for your own conduct your lordship has called upon me to explain mine….

… I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require and which a gentleman never refuses to give.”

First page of Wellington's challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

First page of Wellington’s challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

The duel took place at 8am on Saturday 21 March at Battersea Fields, South London. Wellington was accompanied by his second Sir Henry Hardinge, whilst Winchilsea’s second was Edward Boscawen, first Earl of Falmouth. The physician, John Hume, attended in case of injury and subsequently sent a detailed report to the Duchess of Wellington.

“Lord Falmouth … gave his pistol to Lord Winchilsea and he and the Duke remained with them in their right hands, the arm being extended down by their sides. Lord Falmouth and Sir Henry then stepped back a few paces when Lord Falmouth said ‘Sir Henry I leave it entirely to you to arrange the manner of firing’, upon which Sir Henry said, ‘Then, gentlemen, I shall ask you if you are ready and give the word fire, without any farther signal or preparation’, which in a few seconds after he did, saying, ‘Gentlemen, are you ready, fire !’ The Duke raised his pistol and presented it instantly on the word fire being given, but as I suppose observing that Lord Winchilsea did not immediately present at him he seemed to hesitate for a moment and then fired without effect.

I think Lord Winchilsea did not present his pistol at the Duke at all, but I cannot be quite positive as I was wholly intent on observing the Duke lest anything should happen to him, but when I turned my eyes towards Lord Winchilsea after the Duke had fired his arm was still down by his side from whence he raised it deliberately and holding his pistol perpendicularly over his head he fired it off into the air….”

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

News of the duel was met with shock, with some newspapers carrying censorial reports.

Jeremy Bentham was moved to write to the Duke the following day:

“Ill advised man ! Think of the confusion into which the whole fabric of the government would have been thrown had you been killed, or had the trial of you for the murder of another man been substituted in the House of Lords to the passing of the emancipation bill !”

[MS 61 WP 1/1004/17]

Generally, however, Wellington found that this event enhanced his reputation and he was praised in various accounts for his “manly forbearance”.

Further details of the duel can be found in the Wellington Papers Database: John Hume’s full account of the duel is well worth a read.

Geological Excursions in Special Collections

This week we take a look at some geological ‘finds’ amongst the rare books, focusing on the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when the term ‘geology’ was first used and recognised as a subject in its own right. As canals were constructed and mines sunk, geology’s practical application was becoming increasingly important and its popular appeal can be seen in the many collections of fossils and minerals dating from this period.

Gustavus Brander Fossilia Hantoniensia collecta et in Museo Britannico deposita (1766) Rare Books Cope quarto 55

One keen collector was Gustavus Brander (1720-1787) a director of the Bank of England who collected fossils from Hordle Cliff whilst staying at his country house at Christchurch. These he presented to the British Museum in 1765, the collection being catalogued and illustrated by Daniel Solander (1736-1782). The catalogue attracted much interest as did Brander’s view that the shells could only have survived in a warmer climate. Another collector, on a larger scale, was James Parkinson (1755-1824) who had been collecting fossils for many years prior to publishing his three volume Organic Remains of a Former World (1808-1811). This was aimed at the general reader and became the standard textbook of palaeontology in England.

Plate V James Parkinson Organic Remains of a Former World v.1 (1808) Rare Books quarto QE 711

The interest in geology encouraged the botanical illustrator James Sowerby (1757-1822) to publish British Mineralogy, an illustrated topographical mineralogy of Great Britain which was issued in 78 parts between 1802 and 1817. Sowerby worked from specimens sent to him for identification by mineral collectors from around the country and in 1808 became a Fellow of the recently established Geological Society of London.

Such publications brought fossils and minerals to a wider audience, the illustrations enabling collectors to compare, identify and order their own finds and in turn to contribute to the national geological record. Often hand-coloured, the illustrations provided sufficient detail to act as a proxy for the specimens themselves.

Arsenate of Copper from James Sowerby British Mineralogy v.1 (1804) Rare Books QE 381.G7

The practical and economic significance of geology was evident in the network of canals and expansion of the mining industry in Britain during the eighteenth century. Whilst an understanding of the subject was required for these undertakings, the work itself brought further advances in geological knowledge – often supplying minerals for the collectors and illustrators.

Surveys of the soil and minerals of each county were included in the series of Board of Agriculture reports for Great Britain and Ireland published in the early years of the nineteenth century. That on Derbyshire by John Farey (1766-1826) ran to three volumes and was unusual for its extensive geological coverage. Farey’s interest in stratification stemmed from his association with the geologist, William Smith (1769-1839), creator of the first geological map of Britain, and in the report Farey published for the first time his own analysis of the geometry of faulting.

From: John Farey General View of the Agriculture and Minerals of Derbyshire v.1 (1811) Rare Books Perkins S 453

Descriptions of geological features such as landslips, cliffs and mountains appeared in many of the contemporary guidebooks, sometimes accompanied by illustrations, but it was unusual for such publications to explicitly include geological information. An exception to this was Sir Henry Englefield’s Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816). Englefield, an antiquarian with geological interests – he was a member of the Geological Society of London himself – commissioned Thomas Webster (1772-1844) a member and employee of the Society to research the geology of the Island and to contribute his findings to the book. Published as an impressive large folio with the subtitle ‘With additional observations on the strata of the island and their continuation in the adjacent parts of Dorsetshire’, the book contains illustrations of many of the geological features of the Isle of Wight and a geological map.

Alum Bay from: H.C. Englefield and T. Webster Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816) Rare Books Cope quarto 98.55

Map from: H.C. Englefield and T. Webster Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight (1816) Rare Books Cope quarto 98.55

As well as the copies of Englefield’s book, Special Collections also holds a small collection of correspondence between Webster and Englefield (MS47). This deals mainly with the geology of the Isle of Wight, as do Webster’s notes on what Englefield described in his introduction as ‘that part of natural science lately called Geology’.