Workshop: Working with Charles Lyell, 8-9 February 2024, University of Edinburgh

‘WORKING WITH CHARLES LYELL’  Two-day workshop, 8-9 February 2024, University of Edinburgh


In 2020, the University of Edinburgh acquired for the nation the Notebooks of the distinguished geologist and earth scientist Charles Lyell (1797-1875) and, in 2021, the University received a further substantial tranche of Lyell’s scientific papers and correspondence. Staff in the University’s Centre for Research Collections have since been working to conserve, catalogue, digitise and promote the Lyell materials. The exhibition on Lyell’s work and scientific importance – ‘Charles Lyell: Time Traveller’ – opened in the University of Edinburgh Main Library, on 27 October 2023 and will run until 30 March 2024). A website on the Lyell material in Edinburgh is to be launched shortly. This workshop – ‘Working with Charles Lyell’ – builds upon these initiatives.

Workshop Purpose

The purpose of the Workshop is to bring together researchers, museum curators and others with an interest in the life, work, and collections of Charles Lyell, to learn more of the Lyell materials held in Edinburgh, to explore how best to connect the disparate holdings of Lyell’s specimens and texts, and to consider future research possibilities on Lyell’s work and world.

Workshop Programme

Our exciting and diverse programme presents 16 papers on Lyell’s work, the world of nineteenth-century science, the context to and the lasting significance of his work. There are also two panel sessions:

1) Curatorial and archival staff in institutions holding Lyell material will explore the opportunities and problems involved in linking archival holdings and object collections across institutions.

2) We consider the opportunities and possibilities for further research and collaboration on Charles Lyell’s work and significance.

Workshop Locations

The Workshop will be based at St Cecilia’s Hall, with the afternoon of Day 2 featuring a visit to see some of the Lyell materials held at the Centre for Research Collections at the Main Library, George Square, University of Edinburgh, and an opportunity to visit to the current ‘Time Traveller: Charles Lyell at Work’ exhibition. Day 1 will end with an evening drinks reception at the Playfair Library, generously supported by the British Society for the History of Science.


Numbers are limited so registration is essential. The final date for registration is 19 January 2024.