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William Smith Fact Sheet

William Smith Factsheet

Find out more about William Smith and his 1815 map in our Fact Sheet

William Smith Folded Maps

The Library is now selling folded copies of William Smith's 1815 map of England and Wales

William Smith Online

William Smith Cross-Section

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History's collection of William Smith's maps, papers & diaries, digitised & available online.

Joint Photo Competition 2016


William Smith Bicentenary

William Smith (23 March 1769 - 28 August 1839)

In 1815 William Smith published the first edition of his Geological Map of England and Wales.

Smith’s map made a seminal contribution to the understanding of the ground beneath our feet and by showing the location of coal, iron ore, clays and other raw materials quite literally fuelled the industrial revolution. By using fossils Smith was able to establish a relative chronology which allowed him to identify strata of the same age and to show where they occur at the surface.

In his centenary history of the Geological Society, Horace B Woodward, (1908) describes the map as “a work of genius planned and executed single handed” and it would be remiss if the bicentenary of its publication passed unnoticed.

In 2015, a number of organisations are joined together for year-long programme of events celebrating this milestone.


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The following organisations came together to celebrate the life and work of William Smith.

Click on the images for more information.

The Geological Society
Geologists' AssociationSomersetshire Coal Canal
National Museum WalesOxford Museum of Natural History
Natural History Museum
University of Bristol
British Geological Survey
Yorkshire Museums Trust
Bath Geological SocietyYorkshire Philosophical Society
Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

Portrait of William Smith

A bicentennial celebration of the first geological map of England and Wales in 1815, is the largest online collection of Smith maps.

A free education resource, it allows users to view the maps in 3D, compare editions and overlay with modern geological maps.

William Smith Map Project

A joint project between the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and Yorkshire Museum Trust to design and install a walk-on representation of the Yorkshire part of William Smith’s 1815 Geological Map.

Visit the William Smith Map

William Smith's 1815 map is on display at Burlington House