Timeline of the Geological Survey of England and Wales

1832 Sir Henry De la Beche offers to geologically map Cornwall and Devon. Offer accepted by the Ordnance Survey. Surveying begins using one-inch to the mile field slips.
1835 Board of Ordnance agree to a geological survey of the English counties.
1835 Sir Henry De la Beche becomes a full-time employee of the Ordnance Survey and the Ordnance Geological Survey is created.
1835 Survey located in Craig's Court, Whitehall.
1838 Sir Henry De la Beche is appointed to a Commission to recommend the most suitable stone for building the new Houses of Parliament to replace those destroyed in a fire.
1839 Fourteen sheets have been completed to this date covering Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset. The maps are issued hand coloured in watercolours.
1839 Mapping transfers to South Wales and adjoining areas. William Edmond Logan participates.
1839 The first memoir is published: Report on the Geology of Cornwall, Devon, and West Somerset, by Henry T. De la Beche, F.R.S., &c., Director of the Ordnance Geological Survey. It serves as a model for subsequent Survey publications.
1841 Museum of Economic Geology opens in the Survey premises at Craig's Court in Whitehall.
1841 Figures and descriptions of the Palaeozoic Fossils of Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset is published. The second Survey Memoir.
1844 Introduction of published horizontal and vertical sections.
1845 Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland is set up by Act of Parliament. Victoria Regina LXIII 31st July 1845. The Act is to 'facilitate the completion' of the Survey. The Survey is transferred from the Board of Ordnance to the Office of Woods and Works.
1845 A.C. Ramsay is made Local Director for England and Wales. The English field staff is six: W.T. Aveline, W.T. Baily, Trevor James, D.H. Williams, H.W. Bristow, A.R.C. Selwyn, Edward Forbes as Palaeontologist, Lyon Playfair as Chemist, Robert Hunt as Keeper of the Mining Records.
1845 By this date the maps of nearly the whole of Somerset, the western half of Gloucestershire, the counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke, and nearly the whole of Brecknock and Herefordshire, together with part of Worcestershire, have been completed and published.
1851 Museum of Practical Geology opens (formerly the Museum of Economic Geology formed in 1841). The Survey moves to 28 Jermyn Street.
1852 The last one-inch map of the primary survey of Wales is published.
1853 The Survey is transferred to the Department of Science and Arts, under the Board of Trade.
1854 By this date the survey of the whole of Wales has been completed and published, and the fieldwork is advancing eastwards into the central counties of England.
1855 Sir Henry De la Beche dies and is succeeded by Sir Roderick Impey Murchison as Director.
1856 Department of Science and Arts moves and is now under the Education Department of the Privvy Council.
1858 First quarter-inch to the mile geological sheets published.
1858 One-inch maps spread eastwards to complete the Midlands coalfields and approaches to London.
1860 Mapping starts by Edward Hull in the Lancashire Coalfield, on the scale of six-inches to the mile. Mapping at this scale is adopted for the whole of Northern England.
1860 First six-inch maps published: Lancashire; followed by Scottish coalfields 1861; Northumberland 1967; Durham 1868; Yorkshire 1871.
1862 Maps published to date: One-inch whole sheets 35; One-inch quarter sheets 91; Six-inch sheets 15; Horizontal sections 55; Vertical sections 27.
1866 Royal Commission on coal. More interest in coalfield areas and in drift mapping, the latter for use by agriculturalists, civil engineers, medical authorities and town planners.
1867–1868 Expansion of the Survey. Twenty-one field geologists are recruited. Total staff in England and Wales is 36 and Ramsay is the Senior Director for England and Wales.
1871 The area covered by published maps covers most of the country south-west of a line drawn from Kendal to Southend on the Thames.
1872 Andrew Crombie Ramsay succeeds Murchison as Director General. Bristow becomes Director for England and Wales.
1872 School of Mines leaves the Survey and is passed to Imperial College to become the Royal School of Mines.
1871 Maps published to date: One-inch whole sheets 41, One-inch quarter sheets 124S and 3 Drift; Six-inch sheets 87; Horizontal sections 80; Vertical sections 40.
1881 Maps published to date: One-inch whole sheets, 43 Solid and 1 Drift; One-inch quarter sheets, 153 Solid and 24 Drift; Six-inch sheets 217; Horizontal sections 119; Vertical sections 66.
1882 Archibald Geikie succeeds Ramsay as Director General.
1881 There is a cessation of publishing six-inch maps, so that staff can focus on the completion of one-inch scale maps.
1883 Mining Records Office leaves the Survey, now under Department of Inspectors of Mines at the Home Office.
1885 The number of staff employed in England reduces to 12 from 23 with transfers to Scotland and Ireland. Focus is on Drift mapping.
1886–1893 Geikie brings microscopic petrology to the fore in the Survey with the appointment of Petrologists: J.J.H. Teall, J.S. Hyland, W.W. Watts, W.J. Sollas and W. Pollard.
1889 Whitaker's Geology of London published.
1883 The last one-inch map of the primary survey of England published.
1890–1904 Geikie develops a series of great Stratigraphical Memoirs, on the Pliocene, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Silurian rocks of Britain.
1889–1896 Colour printed quarter-inch to the mile maps published.
1893 New Series one-inch geological maps, Solid and Drift based on the revision of the Old Series sheets begin to appear. Colour printed.
1893–1900 Serious dissatisfaction is felt by the staff of the Survey. An official enquiry was set up in 1900.
1898 Last hand-coloured sheet produced. Sheet 100, Isle of Man.
1900 Committee is set up to 'Enquire into the Organization and Staff of the Geological Survey and Museum of Practical Geology'. The Wharton Committee.
1900 Total Survey staff down to 41.
1901 Jethro Justinian Harris Teall takes over from Archibald Geikie with the diminished title: Director.
Hutton field: well correlation diagram.
Small scale (non-series) maps
Small scale (non-series) maps