Henry De la Beche KCB, FRS (1796-1855) was the first director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain.
In 1837, understanding the importance of geological research to developing the South Wales coalfield, he moved the Survey from London to Swansea. By 1844 he completed the detailed mapping of South Wales.
In Swansea, he joined the Royal Institution of South Wales, a network of leading scientists and engineers, whose first President, the naturalist Lewis Weston Dillwyn (the owner of Cambrian Pottery) was a close friend. Bessie, his daughter, married Dillwyn’s son, Lewis Llewelyn Dillwyn.
Whilst the Dillwyns were ardent abolitionists, De la Beche was not: in 1801, he inherited his father’s Jamaican slave-run plantations and argued that slavery should continue.
Richard Glynn Vivian Bequest, 1911