Horne was born near Stirling and educated at Glasgow University, before finishing his degree he applied to join the Scottish Branch of the Geological Survey and so joined as an assistant in 1867. As an apprentice to Benjamin Peach, the two men became firm friends and collaborators.
Horne was involved with the mapping of the Midland Valley, but it was alongside Peach that his reputation was confirmed to history in the Northwest Highlands and Southern Uplands. He did not possess Peach’s skill in resolving the internal structure of mountains from the rocks seen at the surface, but he was a logical thinker and writer and complemented Peach’s skills. Following their work in the highlands, Peach and Horne produced their massive ‘Northwest Highlands Memoir’ in 1907, which is still regarded as one of the most important memoirs ever written – Horne did most of the writing.
Horne held the post of Director of the Scottish Branch of the Survey from 1901 to 1911.
Flett, Sir John Smith. 1937. The First Hundred Years of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
Oldroyd, D. R. 1990. The Highlands Controversy. Constructing geological knowledge through fieldwork in nineteenth-century Britain. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.