new Smith (2)A missing William Smith map of 1815 was discovered at the Geological Society on 19th February, 2014.

Archivist, Caroline Lam, has been steadily working through a backlog of uncatalogued material since joining the staff two years ago. Her temporary assistant Victoria was clearing an old drawer of Centenary (1907) items and discovered a set of maps in a folder.

It is an unnumbered early copy which makes it very rare. It is in the form of an atlas of map plates loosely folded in a worn red leather case, bearing the faint title ‘England and Wales Strata Smith’. It bears the label TS 5 and relates to an inventory compiled by Tom Sheppard in 1931.

The depiction of the Isle of Wight’s geology places it as an early Smith (Eyles, 1969). The colouring is clean and bright and when the folds are ‘relaxed’ it will be a superb copy of Smith’s masterpiece. This find certainly supports the decision to hire a professional archivist to care for the Society’s collection of historic books, documents and maps.