W. Henry Penning : a 19th century applied geologist

Culshaw, M.G.; Forster, A.. 2020 W. Henry Penning : a 19th century applied geologist. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 49pp. (OR/20/058) (Unpublished)

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This paper gives an insight into the career of an applied geologist in the latter part of the 19th century. Over more than 30 years, William Henry Penning worked in England as an agent for a railway contractor, as a mapping geologist and, in South Africa, as a consultant geologist for gold, diamond and coal mining opportunities. Although not an academic, he published, frequently, on the geology of eastern England, on engineering geology and the geology of South Africa. Probably his greatest achievement, a book entitled Engineering Geology published in 1880, was still quoted until at least the 1930s. Yet, today, he is almost completely unknown. Penning's publications fall into three categories: Geological Survey memoirs, maps and sections and associated papers on the geology of eastern England; books and articles on building and engineering geology; and books, articles and papers on the geology of South Africa. His book on engineering geology was based on a series of articles published in The Engineer in 1879. The first of these contains the earliest usage, so far discovered, of the term 'engineering geology' in the UK and possibly the world. The book contains guidance still valid today. For this, he might be considered as the 'Founder of Engineering Geology' as a discipline. Whilst he did not establish any geological principles, he consistently published papers and books useful to applied geologists active in three principal fields of applied geology — geological mapping, mineral exploration and engineering geology. For this, he deserves to be remembered.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed, but not externally peer-reviewed.
Date made live: 16 Jan 2024 11:49 +0 (UTC)

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