Geology is the most historical of all sciences. Yet its own history remains neglected, especially the many aspects of how geology was practised in the past. This volume analyses the careers of some important practical figures in English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish geology between 1750 and 1850. These include people who would have regarded themselves more as mining engineers (or 'coal viewers' as they were then called in the vital coal industry) or 'mineral surveyors' as today's mineral prospectors were first called (from 1808), or even inventors. Their expertise, in the land which led the industrial revolution, took them all over the world. Those included here went to Italy, and South (Peru) and North America (Virginia and Canada). The practice of geology, through the search for mines and minerals, has been much less attended to by historians than the geology which was undertaken by leisured amateurs - even though practical geology was as important in the past as the oil industry is today.