Geologist. He is remembered for his research in mineralogy and coal mining fields, for his contribution to Great Britain's coal mining safety reform, and for being a published educator for many years. After being educated at Westminster and Bedford schools, he attended Trinity College then Cambridge where he graduated with a B.A. Degree in 1839. While at Cambridge, he was the second seat of the boat racing team playing against Oxford University; Cambridge won the race by 35 lengths, which is the largest winning margin record in the history of the event even into the 21st century. He received a scholarship to travel for four years in Europe through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Asia Minor, Syria, Turkey and Egypt, paying close attention to each area's mineralogy and mining, examining coalfields, metalliferous mines, and making acquaintance with many distinguished geologists and mineralogists. Upon returning to England in 1844, he was appointed mining geologist on the National Geological Survey. He investigated the Roman gold mine at Dolaucthi in Wales, and published in 1846 a short paper on his observations in the periodical “Memoirs of Geological Survey.” Since there were gold rushes in California and Australia in the 1850s, he gave lectures on gold mining. In 1851 he became a lecturer at the School of Mines, becoming the chairman of mineralogy until 1881. He remained as a professor of mining until 1890. “On the Value of an Extended Knowledge of Mineralogy and the Process of Mining” is a thirty-page collection of his lectures. In 1851 he became Chief Mineral Inspector to the Office of Woods and Forests and also near his home, the Duchy of Cornwall. In 1858, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. On April 9, 1864 he married Anna Maria Antonia Story-Maskelyne and they had two sons. From 1866 to 1868, he was president of the Geological Society of London. After the coal-mining accidents of The Oaks Explosion in 1866 killing 361 men, the Hartley Colliery Disaster of 1862 killing 204 men, and the Lundhill Colliery Explosion of 1859 killing 189 men and boys from the age of 10 to 58 years old, there was a need for regulations of mining techniques. By 1870, a total of a thousand lives in one year were being loss to mining accidents in Scotland, England, and Wales. In 1874 he was appointed Chairman of the Royal Commission on Accidents in Coal Mines, thus became part of the reform for safety in mines. In the same year he became the Foreign Secretary of Geological Society until his death. Besides his 1846 paper on gold mining, he published numerous scientific articles including in the “Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society” and the “Transaction of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.” He also authored “A Year with the Turks” in 1854, and “Treatise on Coal and Coal-mining” in 1847. He was knighted in 1887. As a recipient of two Roman Catholic Church awards, he was awarded the Knight of the Italian Order of SS Maurizio and Lazzaro and of the Portuguese Order of Jesus Christ. He was the eldest son of Admiral W. H. Smyth, who was deployed to the Mediterranean at the time of his son's birth.
Anna Maria Antonia Story-Maskelyne Smyth
1827–1909 (m. 1864)