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The Archive collections cover the history of the Society and its Fellows. The majority of the holdings relate to 19th and early 20th century geology but some later material is included, notably collections relating to Plate Tectonics.

For an overview of our collections and to search for material, see the Archive Catalogue pages. Images from our collections can also be found in our Picture Library and under exhibitions.

Vue du Mont Beshtau

Vue du Mont Beschtau du Coté de l'Orient près de la Rivière Essentouk, [1818] (LDGSL/524)

Information for researchers

Simple requests for information may be answered in response to emailed or written enquiries, but extended research cannot be undertaken.

The Archive collections can be consulted by bona fide researchers. Please contact the Archivist before visiting the Society to consult material in the archives, outlining the nature of your enquiry by email, by telephone (020 7432 0999) or by writing to the Archivist. On visiting, ID will be required and references may be requested.

The Society reserves the right to refuse access to its archive collections or to individual items within them.

Researching past Members/Fellows of the Geological Society

The Society holds a virtually unbroken record of its Members, later Fellows, from 1807 to the present day. However for most individuals, unless they were particularly active in the Society, the information held will be limited, generally restricted to:

  • Admission Certificates, 1810-present. As formal qualifications were not a prerequisite for entry as a Fellow of the Geological Society, the Certificates contained a minimal amount of information until the late 19th century. Typical information recorded on the pre-printed form until c.1877 would be: name of candidate; signatures of proposers; dates of proposal, ballot and election. After this date, the forms became more detailed, to include a candidate's rank or profession, place of residence and qualifications. Date of birth was not added until c.1914.
  • Printed obituary in one of the Society’s journals if still a member on decease, 1828-present.
  • Annual Membership/Fellowship lists, 1807-present. Lists the name, election year and last known address for each member.

The Archivist can provide confirmation of a Fellow’s election date (subject to the Data Protection Act), but for more detailed information such as a transcript or digital photograph of the Admission Certificate or a PDF of the obituary, there is likely to be a small charge. Please contact the Archivist in the first instance.

History of the Geological Society 

The following historical reference information is accessible on this site:


The Library will consider donations of material relevant to the history of the Society or its Fellows. Donated material will be carefully evaluated by the Library according to its likely benefit to the Society and the resources involved in acquiring, maintaining and preserving it.

The Library is not obliged to keep donated items (especially if unsolicited) and may dispose, sell or donate them to other repositories.

Archive Catalogue

GSL Archives

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Contact details

The Geological Society
Burlington House

Tel: +44 (0)20 7432 0999
Fax: +44 (0)20 7439 3470