The Ussher Society was founded in 1962 to promote the study of geology and geomorphology in South-West England. It arose from a series of conferences held between 1956 and 1961 at which active researchers met together to discuss their work and exchange ideas in an informal setting. Over the years its interests have expanded to include most aspects of earth science.

The name Ussher Society was adopted by the founders to commemorate William Augustus Edmond Ussher (1849-1920), an officer of the Geological Survey, who spent much of his career working in South-West England (see Burt, 2013). Ussher’s output was impressive and, in establishing the stratigraphical succession in the Devonian, Carboniferous and Permo-Triassic rocks of Devon and Cornwall, he provided a sound foundation for future workers (see Dineley, 1974).

Since its formation the Society has organised an annual conference and celebrated its 50th anniversary at its conference in Exmouth in January 2012 (see Mather, 2011).The Scott Simpson lecture (named after the Society’s first Chairman) is given annually by a distinguished earth scientist. Since 1962 an annual journal (currently called Geoscience in South-West England) has published papers given at conferences and other papers of interest to workers in the South-West.