Thomas Webster was born in 1773 in the Orkneys. He was educated at Aberdeen, but soon moved to London, where he studied architecture and agriculture. After completing his studies, he travelled through England and France gaining practice as an architect. In 1779, he was appointed to the post of clerk of the works with the newly established Royal Institution, the building for which he designed.
On deciding to follow a career in geology, he acted as curator, draughtsman and librarian to the Geological Society from 1812-26, and as house-secretary, 1819-27. His work with the society included a great deal of editorial work on their Transactions. Webster's published papers are relatively few in number, but are all known as classic texts on their respective subjects. His work focused upon the Tertiary and Cretaceous, and, to a certain extent, the Jurassic strata of the South of England, 1814-27. Later in life, he delivered lectures in geology to, and on behalf of, various educational and scientific bodies, becoming the University of London's first Professor of Geology in 1841. He died in 1844 at his London home. Today his name is associated with the rare British mineral, Websterite.
From the guide to the Thomas Webster Papers, 1814-1844, (Aberystwyth University)