Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor

Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor Kt. OBE, DSc, FRS

Geologist and Civil Servant

Born    18 September 1880 Peckham, London

Died    24 May 1954 Horsell, Surrey

Educated at Wilson's School, Camberwell and the Royal School of Mines, University of London.

Director-General of the Geological Survey of India


Paddy provides the briefest of biographical sketches of his father here.  Sir Lewis appears to have been something approaching a platonic ideal of an Edwardian scientist.  Unlike the amateurs of preceding generations, gentlemen naturalists, like Charles Darwin, the elder Leigh Fermor was a highly qualified professional.  Most tellingly he held a Doctorate of Science from the modern and progressive, if less grand, University of London – as opposed from the sleepy insular world of the Oxbridge establishment.  This fact alone betrays his firmly middle-class origins, although Paddy was often to be found in the company of the landed elite, his father was always a professional working scientist and civil servant.

It was in these capacities that he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, the doyen of learned societies. The Royal Society was founded in 1660 under the auspices of Charles II and the premier minds of his restoration court; Robert Boyle and Sir Christopher Wren.  From its inspection and continuing down to the present the list of FRS’s - Fellows of the Royal Society – are essentially a who’s who of the British scientific community, and hence Sir Louis was indeed ‘rightfully proud’ to be one.  Paddy was fond of noting that his father’s achievements included the discovery of a mineral called fermorite and a particular formation of snowflake.

Further reading:

Henry Crookshank, 'Fermor, Sir Lewis Leigh (1880–1954)', rev. Andrew Grout, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004)