Sanders, William (1799-1875) (DNB00)

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SANDERS, WILLIAM (1799–1875), geologist, was born in Bristol on 12 Jan. 1799, and educated chiefly at a school kept by Thomas Exley [q. v.] For a time he and a brother were partners as corn merchants, but he retired from business in order to devote himself exclusively to scientific work. He was elected F.G.S. in 1839 and F.R.S. in 1864. Though he wrote but little—only five papers (read to the British Association) are recorded in the Royal Society's ‘Catalogue of Scientific Papers’—he was most intimately acquainted with the geology of the Bristol district and co-operated with Professor John Phillips (1800–1874) [q. v.] when the latter was engaged on the survey of North Devon. He also published a pamphlet on the crystalline form of celestine from Pyle Hill, Bristol, and made a very detailed manuscript section (a copy is preserved in the mining record office) of the cuttings on the Great Western and the Bristol and Exeter railways from Bath through Bristol to Taunton. Besides this he supplied valuable information to the health of towns commission, 1844–5, and for a report to the general board of health (1850). But his most important work was a geological map of the Bristol coalfield, on a scale of four inches to the mile, begun in 1835 and finished in 1862, when it was published. It covered an area of 720 square miles, and was laid down from his own surveys, even the preparatory topographical map being made under his own eye and at his own cost by collating about one hundred parish maps on different scales. He was active as a citizen and as a member of local scientific societies, especially in developing the Bristol museum, of which for many years he was honorary curator. He died unmarried on 12 Nov. 1875.

[Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. xxxii. (1876), Proc. p. lxxxv; Proc. Bristol Nat. Hist. Soc. 2nd ser. vol. i. (1876), p. 503, E. B. T[awney] and Geol. Mag. 1875, p. 627 R. E[theridge], who has kindly added some particulars.]

T. G. B.