Peach | Benjamin Neeve | 1842-1926 | geologist

Biographical Information

Occupation, Sphere of Activity

Benjamin Neeve Peach (1842-1926) was probably introduced to science by his father, a keen naturalist and lover of natural history. When Peach was a child, his father discovered fossils of American facies in the durness limestones in Sutherland. To show his gratitude for this discovery, Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871), at the time Director-General of the Geological Survey, offered to complete Benjamin's education at the Royal School of Mines. Again on Murchison's recommendation, on the completion of his studies, he was taken on to the staff of the survey.

Peach's first job on the field was in mapping the glacial features of the landscape of Lothian. During his work, he noticed the amount of Highland rock that could be found in the Lammermuir hills. He also believed, correctly, that glaciation was the only explanation for the existence of boulder-clay.

Peach's judgement is said to have been excellent, and Archibald Geikie, with whom he worked, held it in much respect. He could quickly and accurately draw conclusions on the geological structure of a region.

As chief of the survey of the North-West Highlands, Peach was able to end the controversy between Murchison and James Nicol (1810-1879) about the geology of Northern Scotland - in Nicol's favour.


Associated with James Geikie during work on glacial deposits in the Lothians. Benjamin Neeve Peach frequently worked with Archibald Geikie when the latter was investigating geological problems in the field.

Other Significant Information

Notable publications:

The Silurian Rocks of Britain (1899)

The Geological Structure of the North-West Highlands of Scotland (1907)

The Higher Crustacea of the Carboniferous Rocks of Scotland (in Memoirs of the Geological Society)

Honours, Qualifications and Appointments

1879: Appointed Acting Palaeontologist in Scotland

1883: Appointed District Geologist for the North-West Highlands

1892: Awarded Murchison Centenary Prize

1892: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Awarded Neill Medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LLD)

Awarded Murchison Medal

Awarded Wollaston Medal


List of sources for the biographical information:

Royal Society, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, vol. 100, (London, Harrison & Sons, 1926)

Who Was Who, 1916-1928, ( London, Adam & Charles Black, 1962)