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Field Meeting: Malvern Rocks: geology in a Victorian health resort

with Tim Carter and local experts

The rocks around Malvern have long challenged geologists. Studies and discussions in the C19th, both by nationally renowned geologists and by local enthusiasts, show how ideas evolved. Theodore Groom, at the time Professor of Natural History at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, later at Birmingham and Oxford Universities expressed these well at the end of the century:

“Leonard Horner described the Malverns as a granitic mass intruded into the associated strata. Murchison regarded the chain as essentially of igneous origin, though including    ‘Silurian’ beds altered by the intrusion. Phillips, in his masterly work on the district, maintained that the Lower Palaeozoic strata associated with the range had been deposited against the crystalline rocks. H.B. Holl regarded the range as probably composed of pre-Cambrian metamorphosed sedimentary and igneous rocks, described the Cambrian and Silurian beds as overlapping the metamorphic series. Mr. Rutley considers that the gneissic and schistose rocks of the Malverns are a series of altered tuffs, grits, sandstones, and volcanic and other igneous rocks. Dr. Callaway, on the other hand, regards the former series as metamorphosed plutonic rocks, chiefly granite and diorite, and compares them with the Archaean Series of Primrose Hill in Shropshire. The same author recognized the volcanic series of the Herefordshire Beacon and correlated it with the Uriconian rocks of Lilleshall Hill in Shropshire. The Herefordshire Beacon rocks have subsequently been studied by Green, and by Messrs. Rutley, Harker, and Acland. During the past year the present writer has maintained that the Malvern and Abberley Hills are the basal wrecks of an old mountain-range which arose during Coal times.

“The field meeting will visit the sites where these ideas were first formulated and capture the fieldwork and thinking of  those who investigated and popularised the geology of the Malvern area. 

More details of the outline programme are on the Eventbrite page.

You will need to find your own accommodation.  It can be booked through Malvern Tourist Information – Tel: 01684 892289 E-mail: – or via private arrangements, using the usual web-based booking agencies.  


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Field Meeting: Malvern Rocks: geology in a Victorian health resort

A.C. Ramsay: insights into mid-19th century geology from his papers

A.C. Ramsay: insights into mid-19th century geology from his papers


Past Meetings

The ‘Discovery’ of the Silurian: following in the footsteps of Murchison.

Geological drugs and prophylactics – discovering how knowledge of geology was used in the past to prevent disease and protect against ailments

The history of petroleum exploration: evolving technologies based on a handful of underlying principles.

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