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Leonard Horner: Wikis


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Leonard Horner (January 17, 1785 – March 5, 1864), Scottish geologist, brother of Francis Horner, was born in Edinburgh.

Horner was a 'radical educational reformer' who was involved in the establishment of University College School.[1]


Early life and education

His father, John Horner, was a linen merchant in Edinburgh, and Leonard, the third and youngest son, attended the Royal High School and entered the University of Edinburgh in 1799. There in the course of the next four years he studied chemistry and mineralogy, and gained a love of geology from Playfairs Illustrations of the ilullonian Theory. At the age of nineteen he became a partner in a branch of his father's business, and went to London.


In 1808 he joined the newly formed Geological Society of London and two years later was elected one of the secretaries. Throughout his long life he was ardently devoted to the welfare of the society; he was elected president in 1846 and again in 1860. In 1811 he read his first paper On the Mineralogy of the Malvern Hills (Trans. Geol. Soc. vol. i.) and subsequently communicated other papers on the Brine-springs at Droitwich, and the Geology of the S.W. part of Somersetshire.

He was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1813. In 1815 he returned to Edinburgh to take personal superintendence of his business, and while there (1821) he was instrumental in founding the Edinburgh School of Arts 101 the instruction of mechanics, and he was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Academy. In 1827 he was invited to London to become warden of London University (now University College London), an office which he held for four years; he then resided at Bonn for two years and pursued the study of minerals and rocks, communicating to the Geological Society on his return a paper on the Geology of the Environs of Bonn, and another On the Quantity of Solic Matter suspended in the Water of the Rhine.

Other appointments

In 1833 he was appointed one of the commissioners to inquire into the employment of children in the factories of Great Britain, and he was subsequently selected as one of the inspectors. In later years he devoted much attention to the geological history of thi alluvial lands of Egypt; and in 1843 he published his Life of his brother Francis. He died in London on the 5th of March 1864.


  • Karl Marx "Capital" London 1867: "His services to the English working class will never be forgotten."
  • Memoir of Leonard Horner, by Katherine M Lyell (1890) (privately printed).

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


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