A bit of history
The Edinburgh Geological Society is one of the UKs
largest and oldest geological societies, with a membership of about 550 drawn
mainly from Scotland but also spread worldwide. It was founded in 1834 with the
stated aim to encourage public interest in geology and the advancement of
geological knowledge, an aim to which we still adhere today. The Laws of
the Society drawn up at that time set the framework for the Societys activities,
though they have since been modified many times to reflect changing times in our
affairs. The Societys Archive, held in the Special Collections of the Library
of the University of Edinburgh, records its long history. With close links to
the British Geological Surveys Edinburgh office, the University of Edinburghs
School of GeoSciences, and National Museums Scotland, the EGS benefits greatly
from having many professional geologists among its members to underpin the programme
arranged for the amateur membership.
The winter programme
core of the Societys activities for members are the winter lectures and
the summer field excursions. The Societys year runs from October
to October. About 10 lectures are given fortnightly on Wednesday evenings from
October through to March. These are currently held in the Grant Institute, on
the Kings Buildings site of Edinburgh University on West Mains Road, which
houses the Universitys School of Geosciences. The lecture programme is notified
to members in the first Billet of each year which is sent out in late September.
Lectures are generally aimed at the informed amateur and range across a wide variety
of subjects, covering geological research and theory world-wide, as well as key
areas of Scottish geology.
We join with the Geological Society of Glasgow,
our sister society, in inviting a celebrity lecturer to present the James Wright
Memorial Lecture which is given in Glasgow and in Edinburgh in alternate years.
there is our Fellows Night, an evening when any member can give a short
talk or display on a topic they are involved with. This is where we discover the
talent among us and people can have feedback on what others think of their ideas.
From April to September we arrange field excursions
so that members can get a feel for the rocks and the geological structure of Scotland:
the best geologist is the one who has seen most rocks. The programme
of excursions is published in the Billet in early April. Six to eight Saturday
excursions go by coach from Edinburgh for a full day in the field, and shorter
trips on three or four Wednesday evenings visit localities close to or within
Further afield, there is one weekend excursion and one full weeks
excursion every year. These are usually to highland or island locations in Scotland,
where we feel that the EGS has a special role to play, but occasional weekends
have been spent in the north of England, and the weeks Long Excursion has
in the past been to Eire, to Northern Ireland, to the Isle of Man and to southwest
Keeping in touch
The Billet comes out four times a
year and is the main contact between the Societys Council and its membership.
As well as giving details of forthcoming lectures and excursions, the Billet notifies
members of all Society affairs and carries announcements of geological events
organised by other bodies. Any member can submit items for the billet, provided
they are clearly relevant to the Societys business and of interest to other
members. Contact details for key officers of the Society are given inside its
The Societys website at www.edinburghgeolsoc.org has
full information about the Society, its activities and its publications. Keep
an eye on it for updates and last-minute news as the year goes by.
Geologist is the magazine of the Society where members can submit articles on
any geology-related subject. It is published twice a year and provides a revealing
view of the various interests of the Societys members. The Edinburgh Geologist
is also the official organ carrying annually the Proceedings of the Edinburgh
The social side
Field excursions often seem
as much social events as scientific occasions, when people meet up with their
friends and catch up on news. The Annual Social Evening, held in the first week
of December to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Society, is ourown
Christmas party where we get together for an evening of good food and good company.
And after every evening lecture people meet and talk over tea and biscuits.
The Society publishes a number of field guides to the geology
of different areas of Scotland, which guide readers to the most important rock
exposures in any area and explain their significance. These are available to members
at reduced price (see enclosed list), while their public sales are an important
source of revenue for the Society.
The Scottish Journal of Geology is our
scientific journal, of international standing, edited jointly through the Edinburgh
and the Glasgow Geological Societies who contribute equally to its funding. Published
twice yearly, it is sent to all except Senior, Family and Associate members. Junior
Associates can buy it at a reduced price. Funding
The Societys income
comes partly from the subscriptions of its members, partly from sales of its publications,
and partly as investment income from financial reserves built up over the years.
There are no paid staff; all office bearers work on an honorary basis. The costs
of most Society activities are met from within the Societys funds. However,
members attending day excursions are asked to contribute part of the cost of hiring
a coach. The residential weekend and week-long excursions are paid for out of
members own pockets, though with a subsidy from central funds to cover the
expenses of invited geological leaders.
The Clough and Mykura
Funds, accumulated from bequests and memorial contributions, are used to provide
several awards. The Clough Medal is the Societys premier award, presented
to a distinguished geologist who is invited to lecture on his or her subject on
the occasion of the presentation of the medal. The Clough Memorial Award is a
monetary prize to a young geologist who is similarly invited to lecture on his
or her research. Small grants from the funds can be given to support specific
field research projects.
The Society itself
purchases geological texts which are housed in the University of Edinburghs
Robertson Engineering and Science Library on the Kings Buildings campus.
EGS members are entitled to reading and borrowing rights at all branches of the
Edinburgh University Library.
GeoConservation Groups and geological conservation
Geodiversity Sites (previously known as RIGS) have been designated throughout
the UK for special protection because of their importance to the development of
geological knowledge. The EGS hosts three GeoConservation groups which get involved
in the conservation and interpretation of a number of Local Geodiversity Sites
across east Scotland. Society members are involved in site conservation and the
publication of descriptive leaflets for the public, and also in proposing possible
new sites for designation.
Governance of the Society
is a registered charity whose affairs are looked after by a Council composed of
14 Office-Bearers and 6 Ordinary Members. Its composition is stipulated in the
Laws of the Society. Members of Council are elected at the Annual General Meeting
of the Society each November, and any full member of the Society may stand for
election. The Councils work is carried on through a number of subcommittees
whose members come both from Council and from the general membership:
The Excursions Committee plans the excursion programme.
Publications Committee plans the publication of our excursion guides and liaises
with the editorial board of the Scottish Journal of Geology.
Clough Committee administers the Clough and Mykura Funds, deciding who shall receive
the Clough Medal and Clough Memorial Award, and allocating grants from the funds.
Planning and Finance Committee acts to support the Honorary Treasurer in reviewing
the Societys financial affairs, and promotes ideas for new initiatives in
Lothian & Borders GeoConservation, Stirling
RIGS and Tayside Geodiversity are all subcommittees of the Society.