William Smith Online

Who was William Smith?

“There are many circumstances in the early history of geology which in justice to myself ought not to remain unnoticed”

Taken from Smith's notes, 29 January, 1836

Almost 200 years ago, William Smith published the first geological map of England and Wales. Though this would have been an incredible feat under any circumstance, requiring an enormous breadth of geological knowledge of the entire country, Smith's accomplishment was extraordinary because he achieved this on his own.

A brief description of Smith's interesting and eventful life can be found by visiting the biography page. There are also a number of both academic and popular accounts of Smith's life and work, some of which are listed in our bibliography. You can also find a list of Smith's own publications, with links to pdf copies of those found in our collection.

For a more visual journey through Smith's life, view our Timeline.