De la Beche, Sir Henry Thomas (də lä bāsh, dĕləbĕshˈ) [key], 1796–1855, English geologist. As a result of his private undertaking to prepare a geological map of England, the British government became aware of the need for such mapping. In 1832 his work was subsidized, and in 1835 the Geological Survey was formed with De la Beche as its first director. He wrote several standard works on geology, including A Geological Manual (1831, 3d ed. 1833) and How to Observe Geology (1835), which he enlarged under the title The Geological Observer (1851, 2d ed. 1853). He was knighted in 1842.