Thomas Henry Holland

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Thomas Henry Holland
T H Holland.jpg
Born 22 November 1868
Helston, Cornwall, England
Died 15 May 1947 (1947-05-16) (aged 78)
Alma mater Royal College of Science
Owens College
Occupation Geologist, university administrator

Sir Thomas Henry Holland KCSI KCIE FRS[1] FRSE LLD (22 November 1868 – 15 May 1947) was a British geologist and educational administrator.[2]

Early life[edit]

Thomas Holland was born on 22 November 1868 in Helston, Cornwall[1] the son of John Holland and his wife Grace Treloar Roberts.[3]

In 1884, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Science, graduating with a first class degree in Geology. He stayed on until he was awarded a Berkeley Fellowship at Owens College, Manchester, in 1889.


In 1890, Holland was appointed Assistant Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India and curator of the Geological Museum and Laboratory. In 1903, he was appointed Director of the Geological Survey of India and in 1904 he was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1908, he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) for his services to the Geological Survey of India. He was president of the British Association in 1928–1929.[4]

Under the editorship of Holland a four volume "Provincial Geographies of India" series was published between 1913 and 1923 from the Cambridge University Press.

Holland was Rector of Imperial College London[5] from 1922 to 1929 and Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1929 to 1944. The Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for 1939 was awarded to Sir Thomas H. Holland, "for his services to the mineral industries". He was also a member of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.[2] From him comes the first scientific description of the charnockites near Calcutta.[6]

From 1929 until 1940 he was Principal of Edinburgh University. In 1930 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir James Alfred Ewing, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer, Ralph Allan Sampson and James Hartley Ashworth. He served as the Society's Vice-President from 1932 to 1935. He won the Society's Bruce Preller Prize for 1941.[7]


Holland died unexpectedly at his home in Surbiton on 15 May 1947.[8]


He married twice: firstly in 1896 to Frances Maud Chapman (d.1942); secondly, aged 78, to Helen Ethleen Verrall.


  1. ^ a b Fermor, L. L. (1948). "Thomas Henry Holland. 1868–1947". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 6 (17): 83. JSTOR 768913. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1948.0021. 
  2. ^ a b "Holland, Sir Thomas Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33945.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X. 
  4. ^ Presidential Address to the British Association Meeting, held at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 1929
  5. ^ Sir Thomas H. Holland, KCSI, KCIE, DSC, LLD, FRS, [[Imperial College, London|]], London, UK.
  6. ^ A. Raman: The Madras charnockite. Expressbuzz, 10 November 2009.
  7. ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X. 
  8. ^ Fermor, L. L. (1947). "Sir Thomas Holland, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E., F.R.S". Nature. 160 (4053): 11. doi:10.1038/160011a0. .

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Alfred Keogh
Rector of Imperial College London
Succeeded by
Henry Tizard
Preceded by
Sir Alfred James Ewing
Edinburgh University Principals
Succeeded by
Sir John Fraser