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The Man Who Put Scarborough on The Map: William Smith Display at Rotunda Museum

Still from the new William Smith animation at the Rotunda Museum

A display of items relating to William Smith, the man known as the ‘father of English geology’, opens in September at Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, of which he was a founder.



The man who put Scarborough on the map will mark the 200th anniversary of the publication in 1815 of Smith’s ‘map that changed the world’.

Maps, pamphlets, and personal items will appear alongside a brand new animation by Scarborough animator Jonathan Jeeves of Displacement Box, in which Smith himself talks viewers through his life.

Scarborough Museums Trust chief executive Debbie Seymour says:
"The most notable part of this small but fascinating exhibition is a chemical table written, illustrated and signed by Smith which we have ‘rediscovered’ in the Scarborough Collections, and which hasn’t been seen by the public for many years."

"We’ve also borrowed, from Scarborough Library, a pamphlet entitled Geology of England: Mr W Smith’s Claims, which is lithographed from a document in Smith’s handwriting. Only two copies are known to have survived: this one, and another in Oxford."

"Other objects include some original letters borrowed from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, including one from him to Sir John Johnstone of Hackness Hall, as well as Smith’s spirit bill from the last year of his life!"

In 1815, William ‘Strata’ Smith (1769-1839) published his ‘map that changed the world’. The techniques he developed whilst creating the map, which shows the geological strata of England and Wales, are still the basis for much geological research today. A copy of Smith’s map is on display in the Rotunda Museum.

He lived in the Scarborough in his later years and was a member of Scarborough Philosophical Society, which opened the Rotunda, one of the world’s first purpose-built museums, in 1829, and acted as clerk of works on the build.

The Smith display will be formally opened on Friday 4 September and will continue until the beginning of January 2016.

The Man Who Put Scarborough on The Map: William Smith Display at Rotunda Museum Reviewed by Editor on 20:01:00 Rating: 5

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