Friday, 14 June 2013

Geologist's uniform, Geological Survey of Great Britain

A BGS geologist models the uniform of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay. This uniform is of the type "Levy dress" worn when attending Court. Sir A.C. Ramsay was appointed to the Survey in  1841 and suceeded Sir Henry De La Beche to become the third Director of the Geological Survey 1871-1881.

A BGS geologist models the uniform of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay. This uniform is of the type 'Levée dress' worn when attending Court. Sir A.C. Ramsay was appointed to the Survey in 1841 and succeeded Sir Henry De La Beche and Roderick Impey Murchison to become the third Director of the Geological Survey 1871-1881.

The uniform was kindly loaned by Dr. Margaret Wood of GeoMôn Angelsey GeoPark who was given the uniform by Sir Kyffin Williams R.A. a relative of Sir Andrew and said 'they were used by Ramsay for ceremonial occasions and in other words his official uniform.'


A selection of buttons from the Survey's field uniform, unfortunately no pictures of the full field uniform exists.

As befitting an organization with origins in the early Ordnance Survey (under the Board of Ordnance) and when it was a military organization, the geologists had to wear a uniform of a blue frock coat with very military style buttons. The uniform proved unpopular and unsuitable for the rigours of field life and was soon dropped.

'During the first 10 years of its existence the Geological Survey was a branch of the Board of Ordnance. Its officers wore a dark blue official uniform. But a tight-fitting, well-buttoned frock coat could only be an inconvenient garment for the rough scrambling and climbing life of a field-geologist. It was accordingly discarded when the Survey in 1845 was placed under the Office of Woods and Forests. Each officer thenceforth chose the civilian garb that pleased him.' A. Geikie. A long life's work.

Bob McIntosh

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