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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Department of Geology Records
Level of description
Sub-fonds of King's College London Archives
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
6 boxes


Name of creator(s)

King's College London, Department of Geology

Administrative / Biographical history

The first Professor of Mineralogy and Geology at King's College London was Charles Lyell, who resigned in 1833 in response to criticism that his lectures undermined accepted biblical chronology. The subject was taught under the various titles of Geology and Mining, Geology, Palaeontology and Mining, and Geology and Geography, with Mineralogy, in the Departments of Applied Sciences, Evening Classes and the Faculty of Science, Natural Science Division, from 1893. The Department of Geology was part of the Faculty of Natural Science from its inception in 1921 until the merger of King's, Queen Elizabeth and Chelsea Colleges in 1985, when the teaching of geology was discontinued and transferred to Royal Holloway College.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred by the Department of Geology. The Department's collection of mineralogical samples was moved to Royal Holloway in 1985.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Geology departmental records at King's College comprise correspondence, diagrams of fossils, exhibition photographs and negatives, 1828-1975. These notably include correspondence between Sir Charles Lyell, Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, King's College London, William Buckland, one time Professor of Geology, University of Oxford, and others concerning glaciation and descriptions of a tour of Italy undertaken by Lyell, 1828-1842; lecture notes on spectra, possibly compiled by Henry Clifton Sorby, geologist and Fellow of the Royal Society, [1859]; printed pamphlets on aspects of geology including microscopy and photography, 1857-1872; large hand-drawn diagrams of vertebrate fossils by Harry Govier Seeley, Professor of Geology and Geography, with Mineralogy, King's College London, [1876-1909]; manuscript catalogue of 200 different minerals belonging to Harry Govier Seeley, [1876-1909]; mounted photographs of Geology Department staff including Lyell, William Thomas Gordon and Professor James Taylor, and of Lyell's family estate, Kinnordy House, Kirriemuir, Scotland, fossils, various landscapes showing geological features and extracts from Lyell's papers, with negatives, for an exhibition marking the centenary of the deaths of Lyell and Charles Wheatstone, held at King's College, 1975; visitors' book, information leaflets and colour transparencies showing the exhibition on Lyell and Wheatstone, 1975; large display case containing the fabric banner commemorating Lyell's presidency of the British Association, 1864.

System of arrangement

Material is boxed in broadly chronological order

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Administrative records are generally closed for 30 years except for published material and some committee and other minutes. Student and staff records are subject to an 80 year closure period after the date of leaving.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

A brief hand-list is available in hard copy in the College Archives reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London College Archives: Examination question papers (Ref: KCLCA K/EX); Secretarial series (Ref: KCLCA KAS/AC2); papers of Maurice Kingsley Wells (Ref: KCLCA K/PP 46); papers of Professor David Leslie Linton (Ref: KCLCA K/PP 49).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: King's College Calendars and prospectuses. Entry compiled by Geoff Browell.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

April 2001

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  • Academic teaching personnel
  • Drawings
  • Educational levels
  • Educational personnel
  • Engineering education
  • Equipment
  • Exhibitions
  • Field work
  • Fossils
  • Geology education
  • Higher education
  • Higher education institutions
  • Higher science education
  • Laboratory equipment
  • Microscopes
  • Palaeontology
  • People
  • People by occupation
  • Personnel
  • Photographs
  • Photography
  • Research work
  • Scientific equipment
  • Teachers
  • Universities
  • Visual materials

Personal names

  • Buckland, William, 1784-1856, Dean of Westminster and Geologist
  • Gordon, William Thomas, b 1884, Geologist
  • Lyell, Sir, Charles, 1797-1875, 1st Baronet, Geologist
  • Seeley, Harry Govier, 1839-1909, Geologist
  • Sorby, Henry Clifton, 1826-1908, Geologist
  • Wheatstone, Sir, Charles, 1802-1875, Knight, Physicist

Corporate names

  • British Association for the Advancement of Science
  • King's College London College Archives
  • King's College London, Department of Geology


  • Italy
  • Kinnordy House, Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
  • London, England

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