Saving Charles Lyell’s notebooks

The Geological Society of London, alongside a number of institutions, groups and individuals, is supporting the University of Edinburgh’s campaign to save Charles Lyell’s notebooks, which are due to be sold abroad.

Charles Lyell (1797-1875) is well known as a key figure in the history of science, particularly for his part in the Darwinian evolutionary debates and in convincing readers of the significance of “deep time”.

At the core of the Lyell archives are 294 notebooks and manuscripts, which provide a daily record of Lyell’s private thoughts, travels, field observations and conversations. These remarkable documents were sold to an unknown buyer overseas towards the end of last year. In response, the UK government has imposed a temporary export ban to enable fundraising to purchase and conserve them, and make them available on-line for free to the public. The sum required is £1,444,000; major donors have already pledged more than a third of the total needed.

The temporary export ban has an initial deadline of 15 July 2019. This may be extended until 15 October if significant progress is made.

The University of Edinburgh is organising the fundraising campaign, and is asking all who are interested to pledge a donation, however small, which will only be collected when the required amount is achieved.

For more information and to make a pledge please visit the University of Edinburgh’s website.