|Description||This collection contains the original notebooks of Sir Archibald Geikie who was the first Professor of Geology to occupy the newly established Murchison chair at Edinburgh University, a post he held from 1871-1881. In the course of his work, Geikie compiled notes and drawings of places he visited and their geological features. The notebooks also include attractive watercolours of some of these places. Initially the locations were primarily Scottish, but in later years areas of England, Wales and Ireland also feature as well as Russia and Greece. The notebooks are part of the larger collection of Papers of Sir Archibald Geikie all of which are held in the University’s Centre for Research Collections.
Copies of some of the illustrations from the notebooks are on display in the Geology Department’s Cockburn Museum.
Sir Archibald Geikie was born in Edinburgh in 1835. He was the son of John Stuart Geikie, businessman, and composer. He showed an early interest in geology when he and his friends discovered fossils at Burdiehouse quarries, near Edinburgh. Geikie was influenced by scientists such as naturalist John Fleming, to whom he was introduced by his father, and by the many books on geology which he consumed, most notably Hugh Miller's “Old Red Sandstone”. He became acquainted with a number of prominent geologists including Hugh Miller and James David Forbes and distinguished scientists such as Leonard Horner and Sir Charles Lyell.
He matriculated at the University of Edinburgh in 1854 but had to leave the following year for financial reasons. He first secured a position at the Geological Survey as mapping assistant in 1855. In 1867 he was appointed director of the newly created Scottish Geological Survey, followed in 1871 by his appointment as Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh.
Geikie's field and research work took him all over the British Isles and to many parts of Europe. He went on to succeed Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay as head of the Geological Survey of Great Britain in 1881, a post he held until his retirement in 1901.|