The Society was founded on Friday June 1st 1888, probably as an offshoot of the Hull Field Naturalists Society. The first President was Dr F F Walton and the Secretary was J W Stather (a local wallpaper manufacturer).
J W Stather was the Secretary or president until he died in April 1938, just before the 50th Anniversary celebrations. The first field meeting was a visit to Kelsey Hill on 16th June. Reports of these early field meetings were recorded in the "Society's Book", which has since been lost. Later the Society published Transactions of the Hull Geological Society from 1894 until 1936, a total of seven volumes. Attempts were made to restart the publication after the Second World War.
In March 1889 it was agreed that "ladies be admitted to the Society on the same terms as gentlemen". There were already 52 members of the Society.
Thomas Sheppard joined the Society on 19th September 1893. After leaving school at an early aged he worked as a clerk for the North Eastern Railway, before becoming the first curator of Hull Museums in 1902. He was President of the Society in 1907-9 and 1936-9, and editor of the Transactions. He was a prolific writer and published over 300 papers on geology, varying in length from one sentence to the 629 page Bibliography of Yorkshire Geology of 1915. Perhaps his most famous contribution to local geological sciences was Geological Rambles in East Yorkshire of 1903. He was the president in 1938 and produced a commemorative medal, with a portrait of "T.Sheppard - President" on one side and the ammonite Metarnioceras sheppardi on the other.
Ted and Willy Wright joined the Society in 1930 as schoolboys. Their early interest in geology as encouraged by Tom Sheppard. They published their first paper in 1932 about a Yorkshire Chalk starfish. They went on to do a lot of research on the local chalk before they left the area in World War II, publishing the results in their 1942 'Chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds' paper in the Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. Ted went on to be an amateur expert maritime archaeology and Willy an amateur palaeontologist, publishing monographs on Chalk ammonites, starfish and sea urchins.
After the War the Society struggled to survive, the membership declined and it ceased to hold meetings after February 1958.
But in 1960 the Inland Revenue wrote to the son of the last President demanding income tax on a bequest that had been received from C F B Shillito. An extraordinary General Meeting was held and the Society reformed as an educational charity. Ken Fenton was the President, he later became the Secretary. Ken was a biology teacher at the Technical College and a keen collector of the Jurassic plants of the Yorkshire coast; his collection is now in Hull Museum. Felix Whitham became treasurer in 1965, and has held that post ever since.
To celebrate the Centenary of the Society a special meeting was held on local geological topics with all speakers being members of the Society, along with a display of specimens by members and a celebratory dinner. The Society also started a research project into the Yorkshire Chalk, revived the East Riding Boulder Committee and started to include special field trips or walks for beginners. Over the years members of the Society have carried out a lot of research into the geology of East Yorkshire.
The Society became involved in geological conservation when it as asked by English Nature to 'adopt' Rifle Butts Quarry SSSI. When it became evident that the site was being badly damaged by frost the Society raised the funds to protect it with a roof, the project the barin child of Society members Donald Beveridge and Harry Thompson. The Society joined the East Yorkshire RIGS Group at its formation in 1992, and is also represented on the Ryedale RIGS Group which was founded in 1997.
(Updated June 2, 2007 )