The founding of the Geological Survey


The British Geological Survey is a world-leading geological survey. It focuses on public-good science for government, and research to understand earth and environmental processes. It is the UK's premier provider of objective and authoritative geoscientific data, information and knowledge to help society to:

  • use its natural resources responsibly
  • manage environmental change
  • be resilient to environmental hazards

History of the BGS

Henry Thomas De la Beche

Portrait of Henry Thomas De la Beche [2008.6]

Henry Thomas De la Beche was born on 10 February 1796. He spent much of his early life at Lyme Regis where he developed an interest in geology.

De la Beche was responsible for the creation of the Survey (then called the Ordnance Geological Survey) in 1835 and he remained Director up to his death on 13 April 1855; he was knighted in 1848.

Ramsay's uniform

A C Ramsay

Andrew Crombie Ramsay was the third Director General of the Survey. He had formerly been Director for England and Wales.

Ramsay's uniform was recently rediscovered and loaned to the BGS.