William Mathews (mountaineer)

William Mathews portrayed by Edward Whymper in Zermatt, 1864 (from the original edition of Scrambles Amongst the Alps by Edward Whymper)

William Mathews (1828–1901) was an English mountaineer, botanist, land agent and surveyor, who first proposed the formation of the Alpine Club of London in 1857.

Founding of the Alpine ClubEdit

Mathews had corresponded with F. J. A. Hort about the idea of founding a national mountaineering club in February 1857 and took the idea up with E. S. Kennedy on an ascent of the Finsteraarhorn on 13 August 1857 (the fifth ascent of the mountain and the first British ascent).[1] Ad-hoc meetings at Mathews's house near Birmingham proceeded during November,[2] and the meeting at which the Alpine Club was founded took place on 22 December 1857 at Ashley's Hotel in London, chaired by Kennedy.

Monte Viso, first climbed by Mathews, Jacomb and Croz in 1861

First ascentsEdit


  • 'Mechanical properties of ice, and their relation to glacier motion', by William Mathews, President of the Alpine Club, in Nature, 24 March 1870[3]
  • The Flora of Algeria: considered in relation to the physical history of the Mediterranean region and supposed submergence of the Sahara (London: Edward Stanford, 1880)


  1. ^ Finsteraarhorn at stnet.ch (accessed 7 January 2008): On this ascent Mathews and Kennedy were accompanied by J. C. W. Ellis, John Frederick Hardy, Benjamin St John Attwood-Mathews, and by four guides, Auguste Simond and Jean Baptiste Croz, of Chamonix, Johann Jaun the Elder, of Meiringen, Aloys Bortis, of Fiesch, and by one porter, Alexander Guntern.
  2. ^ Claire Engel, Mountaineering in the Alps, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971, p. 112. Mathews and Kennedy approached John Ruskin to become a member, but he declined. p. 113.
  3. ^ History of Science and Technology at wisc.edu (accessed 8 January 2008)
  4. ^ IPNI.  Mathews.