William Topley F.R.S., F.G.S.


1841 Born March 13th at Greenwich.
1858 – 1861 Student at Royal School of Mines.
1862 Appointed Assistant Geologist on Geological Survey.
Field work in Wealden area under Le Neve Foster. Elected F.G.S.
1865 Joint paper with Foster on “Denudation of the Weald” (Q.J.),
Memoir on the Weald published 1875.
1868 Promoted to Geologist.
Worked in Northumberland and Durham Coalfield, chiefly on Carboniferous and Glacial Drifts. With Lebour studied Whin Sill and proved its intrusive character.
1872 Committee of sub-Wealden exploration began work. Topley sent by Geological Survey to report on borings.
1872 – 1878 15 times Secretary of Geology Section at British Association.
1874 Association of Institution of Civil Engineers.
1875 Examiner in Geology to Durham University. Succeeded Bristow as examiner to Science and Art Department.
1880 Field work in Northumberland abandoned.
Moved to Jermyn Street to superintend publication of maps and memoirs.
1881 Appointed to superintend publication of British section of geological map of Europe, promised by International Geological Congress.
1885 President of Geologists Association.
Report on National Geological Surveys of Europe.
1888 Elected F.R.S.
1888 Prepared with Goodchild geological map of Europe for vol. II of Prestwich’s Geology.
1893 Took entire charge of office [Jermyn Street] on retirement of Edward Best.
1894 Offered Chair of Committee of Bibliography at International Geological Congress at Zurich.
1894 Died September 30th.


Completed 21 Survey maps. Published 82 papers and Memoirs on subjects: Phosphates; silver and gold; Channel Tunnel; Coal in Kent; Water-supply; petroleum; sanitation.

Biographies and Obituaries

1896 Proceedings of Royal Society vol. LIX (1896) p. lxix
1894 Geological Magazine (1894) p. 570
1895 Quarterly Journal Geological Society vol. LI (1895)