William Smith

"The Father of English Geology"


William Smith was born in 1769 in Churchill, where his father was a blacksmith. 
There are several sites in Churchill village that are connected to his life and a William Smith village map and trail is available by post (2.00 +p&p). Please email churchillheritage@gmail.com
In March 2014, the Natural History Museum in Oxford launched William Smith Online with digital images from their William Smith Collection, his biography, a William Smith blog and more.
Smith's work established the chronological order of rock layers in the United Kingdom, and the map he drew in 1815 of the stratification
of Britain had extraordinary repercussions  - not just for science but religion too.
In 2015 we will be celebrating the bicentenary of Smith's 'map that changed the world' with a range of activities and displays.
Smith's personal life, however, was not so successful.  Overlooked by the scientific community and his work plagiarised,
Smith was financially ruined and he spent some time in a debtors' prison. 
It was only later in his life that William Smith received the recognition that he deserved. 
The touch screen exhibition in the Heritage Centre details this extraordinary story,
together with examples of his revolutionary geological maps. 
Full details of William Smith's life and achievements can be found here
The Rotunda Museum in Scarborough was partly designed and established by William Smith in 1829 and has a wonderful collection of his fossils.
Geological societies are always particularly interested to visit the village of Churchill and see where William Smith's love of landscape and fossils began.
Links to local societies can be found here.