The City of Bath has a long history of geological connections as well as an advantageous position between the Cotswolds and the Mendip Hills. The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution was established in 1824 and a museum opened in 1825 under the patronage of the then Duke of York with William Lonsdale the geologist as curator.
The City is also notable for the home of William Smith, literally the founder of geological mapping, who lived and worked in Bath while engaged on canal construction and other projects for the Somerset coal fields.
The Bath Geological Society owes its existence to an article in the Bath Chronicle dated 22nd March 1967 entitled “Do we really want to keep these fossils?”. The article was inspired by a fire at the R.L.S.I. property at 16/18 Queen Square where the Collection was housed.
A number of letters appeared in the Chronicle during the next few editions and resulted in the writers of those letters meeting together to see what could be done to safeguard the Collections.
On 28th March 1968 a geological display was opened.
It was, however, not until early in 1970 that the proposal was made to form a Geological Society. It was agreed that the Society should promote interest in all aspects of geology and support the development of the museum. In March 1970 a brief questionnaire was distributed and a statement sent to the Evening Chronicle to enquire if there would be sufficient support for a society. After receiving a hundred favourable replies, a Steering Committee made preparations for a public meeting.
The Inaugural meeting of the Bath Geological Society was held on 25th September 1970 at Bath University. The aims of the Society were considered to be the encouragement of local geological activities such as the work of the museum and the provision of educational lectures and field trips. The Society would welcome laymen and specialists as members. At the conclusion of the meeting, a formal proposal was made and accepted unanimously that the Bath Geological Society should be formed. A pattern of regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month was established for lectures and club sessions. Field trips were arranged, mostly at weekends, and included half-day visits or two-day expeditions to areas in other regions.
The philosophy and programme have been maintained by a group of enthusiastic members. Until September 1990 meetings were held in the Kimball Room in the museum in 16/18 Queen Square, However this building was then closed and the public had no access to the Collection. The members of the Bath Geological Society continued to meet at Abbey Church House until April 1998, when we returned to Queen Square at the invitation of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.
The Bath Geological Society’s records; including minutes, accounts, correspondence, journals and programmes from 1970 to 2017, are archived within the Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Bath Record Office, in their public records section. The reference number for the records is 1261.