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Clement le Neve Foster

Sir Clement le Neve Foster (March 23 1841- April 19 1904), English geologist and mineralogist, the second son of Peter le Neve Foster (for many years secretary of the Society of Arts), was born at Camberwell.

After receiving his early education at Boulogne and Amiens, he studied successively at the Royal School of Mines in London and at the mining college of Freiburg in Saxony. In 1860 he joined the Geological Survey in England, working in the Wealden area and afterwards in Derbyshire. Conjointly with William Topley (1841-1894) he communicated to the Geological Society of London in 1865 the now classic paper On the superficial deposits of the Valley of the Medway, with remarks on the Denudation of the Weald. In this paper the sculpturing of the Wealden area by rain and rivers was ably advocated. Retiring from the Geological Survey in 1865, Foster devoted his attention to mineralogy and mining in Cornwall, Egypt and Venezuela, becoming a lecturer for the Miners Association and secretary of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.[1] In 1872 he was appointed an inspector of mines under the home office for the southwest of England, and in 1880 he was transferred to the N. Wales district. In 1890 he was appointed professor of mining at the Royal College of Science and he held this post until the close of his life. His later work is embodied largely in the reports of mines and quarries issued annually by the home office. He was distinguished for his extensive scientific and practical knowledge of metalliferous mining and stone quarrying. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1892 and was knighted in 1903. From 1901-1902 he was President of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.[2] While investigating the cause of a mining disaster in the Isle of Man in 1897, his constitution suffered much injury from carbon monoxide gas, and he never fully recovered from the effects. He died in London.

He published Ore and Stone Mining, 1894 (ed. 5, 1904); and The Elements of Mining and Quarrying, 1903.


  1. ^ H. T. Wood, ‘Foster, Sir Clement Le Neve (1841–1904)’, rev. R. C. Cox, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Nov 2007
  2. ^ [1964] "Patrons and Presidents", in K. F. G. Hosking & G. J. Shrimpton: Present Views of Some Aspects of the Geology of Cornwall and Devon. Penzance: Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, p.iii. 
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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