Geoffrey Kellaway (1914-2013)

Bristol graduate who worked for BGS, specialised in the geology of the Bristol district, and developed sources of clean hot water for the thermal spas of Bath

Geoffrey Arthur Kellaway FGS was born in Bristol. After graduating with a degree in geology from the University of Bristol in 1936, he joined the British Geological Survey. At the outbreak of World War II, he and his colleagues were drafted to work on projects essential to the war effort. For Kellaway this included making maps and mineral assessments of the Bristol-Somerset Coalfield.

He also worked on the Yeovil sheet before the war, and the wider geology of the Bristol district, producing the Bristol District Special One-Inch Sheet with F.B.A. Welch, and they wrote the definitive memoirs on Bristol geology (Kellaway and Welch, 1948, 1993). Geoff was promoted to Senior Geologist in 1945 and District Geologist/ Senior Principal Scientific Officer in 1962, retiring from the BGS in 1974.

After retirement, Kellaway was invited by Bath City Council to act as their geological adviser. His remit involved carrying out research on the hot springs and providing guidance on their future safety, governance and stability, and he published extensively on these topics (Kellaway 1996, 2001; McCann et al. 2002, 2013). The thermal springs had had to be shut down for safety reasons in 1977 after the pathogenic amoeba Naegleria fowleri was identified. From 1978 to 1987, Kellaway led an investigation to find a source of clean water for use in the Pump Room. After much investigation he identified the solution, which was to drill an inclined borehole to intercept the flow of thermal water from the King’s Spring, and the mineral water on offer in the Pump Room was restored.

An archive of Kellaway’s papers is at the University of Bath, including draft versions of his published papers, correspondence, field notebooks, scientific data, and reference documents relating to his geological and consultancy work.

Read more

McCann, C. 2013. Obituary: Geoffrey Arthur Kellaway 1914 – 2013 (long version). Geological Society of London.

Kellaway, G.A. 1996, Discovery of the Avon-Solent Fracture Zone and its relationship to the Bath Hot Springs. Environmental Geology 28, 34-39.

Kellaway, G.A. 2001, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia – A geologists’ view. The Survey of Bath and District 15, 21-29.

Kellaway, G.A. & Welch, F.B.A. 1948. British Regional Geology: Bristol and Gloucester District. British Geological Survey. HMSO, London, 99 pp.

Kellaway, G.A. & Welch, F.B.A. 1993. Geology of the Bristol District. Memoir of the British Geological Survey. HMSO, London, 199 pp.

McCann, C., Mann, A.C., McCann, D. M. and Kellaway, G.A. 2002, Geophysical investigations of the thermal springs of Bath, England. In: Hiscock, K.M, Rivett, M.O. and Davison, R.M. (eds). Sustainable Groundwater Development. Geological Society Special Publications 193, 41-52.

McCann, C., Mann, A.C., McCann, D. M. and Kellaway, G.A. 2013. Insights into the origin of the thermal springs of Bath and Bristol, England from geophysical data. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 46, 267-279.