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Early Geological Map

By J &C Walker, Holborn (London) 1838

Have you read "The Map That Changed The World", by Simon Winchester? If not... I commend it to you!

Winchester tells the tale of William Smith (WP) and the first ever geological map, which was published in 1815.

Intellectual property rights protection wasn't then what it tries to be today... and copies soon arose. And independently produced alternative maps... I make no judgement on the Walkers!... but their map, shown below, came has "March 18th, 1838" along the bottom edge. (Pit the poor web-page author.. me. I'd misread that, and, initially, there were many files with 1835 in them, all of which had to be renamed, backups had to be renamed, references had to be revised. Sigh.)

Whole of Walker 1838 geological map

The copy I have photographed to share with you here, thank you Tim Bryars, Cecil Court, London, was mounted on linen. The image above has been retouched. Crudely. But enough to soften the visual impact of the "seams" where there is, as usual, a slight gap between panels, to make the map fold nicely.

I hope the sheer beauty of it comes across?

Small distortions of the geological information arose in the course of the retouching. If a spot of interest to you bridges a seam, you may be seeing slight mis-information.

What do you think of the following detail? A "detail of the detail" follows....

Detail.. Sussex coast... Walker 1838 geological map

And here's the promised "detail of the detail", showing (to the right) Beachy Head, the great limestone sea cliffs often used to accompany references to the geologically related, but smaller, "White Cliffs of Dover". (The best of the cliffs are to the west of the headland.)

Detail.. Sussex coast... Walker 1838 geological map

For a nice page by someone else about the same map, with, among other things, details of what the colors mean, I recommend the one by David Hame/ MapCo. He has also provided information about different editions of the map.

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