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A.C. Ramsay: insights into mid-19th century geology from his papers

Anne Barrett

Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891)

Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891) was one of the most prominent British geologists of the mid-19th century. He rose from relatively humble beginnings to become the third Director-General of the Geological Survey; having completed much of the Survey’s mapping of Wales he directed a fair proportion of Survey work in England and Scotland too. He also engaged in educational activities to promote geology for the ‘improving’ working classes. His archive, now in the care of Imperial College, reveal Ramsay was a bon viveur, correspondent, diarist, family man, poet and artist, but first and foremost, a geologist of note. All these attributes and perhaps more are displayed in his papers. This talk will trace the world of 19th century geology that emanated from three centres of geological excellence in which Ramsay played a key role: the Geological Survey, the Royal School of Mines, and that fraternity of Red Lions and Royal Hammerers, by examining the ‘deep strata’ evidenced in his papers.

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