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Papers of Edgar Morton and Edgar Morton & Partner

Date range: 1920s–1990s.

Edgar Morton (1898–1973) combined an academic career, lecturing in applied geology at the University of Manchester, with commercial practice as a consulting geologist.

His company, Edgar Morton and Partner, undertook well over five hundred projects between 1929 and the early 1990s. He pioneered the study of the physical and microscopical properties of stone and the relation of these properties to the behaviour of stone in roads and buildings.

Many of Morton’s principal consultancies arose from his expertise in hydrogeology. He was involved in numerous major water schemes undertaken in Britain in the mid-twentieth century, including over 150 dams and reservoirs. Following Morton’s death in 1973, the partnership continued its involvement in major dam and reservoir schemes, such as Grimwith in Yorkshire, and Carsington and Foremark in Derbyshire. Morton also specialized in the problems of underground water and throughout his career he gave advice on boreholes.

His consultancies also included advising on an extensive range of foundation, stability and construction problems, such as road construction, subsidence resulting from coal mining and salt extraction, land stability for sewerage schemes and refuse disposal, and site assessments for power plants and housing developments.

Edgar Morton and his partnership have left a very substantial archive that comprehensively documents his work as an engineering geologist from the late 1920s to his death in 1973, and the continuation of Edgar Morton and Partner into the 1990s.

As well as research and lecture notes, the archive contains a vast quantity of material relating to his consultancies, arranged into four series for public water supply; private water supply; foundation, stability and construction problems; and planning and mineral workings.

Edgar Morton worked closely with Professor Peter Rowe and there is considerable overlap between the two men’s archives.

The JRUL also holds the substantial archive of Sir William Boyd Dawkins, who pioneered engineering geology in Britain.

Together the Morton, Rowe and Boyd Dawkins archives constitute a source of national importance for the history of geotechnical science and civil engineering in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


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