Established in Greenwich in 1675, the Royal Observatory moved to Herstmonceux in 1948, where it was greatly expanded and renamed the Royal Greenwich Observatory. In 1990, following a downsizing, it moved to Cambridge where it remained until it was closed down by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) in 1998.
The first women to be employed at the Royal Observatory in a professional capacity were Isabella Clemes, Alice Everett, Harriet Furniss and Edith Rix. All began work as ‘Lady Computers’ on 14 April 1890. Although all had attended either Newnham or Girton College Cambridge, they were paid at the same rate as the ‘Boy Computers’. Everett began work on a starting salary of £72 a year. This compared to the £200 a year paid to a Cambridge man starting as an Assistant with equal qualifications and doing much the same work. Denied promotion at Greenwich, Everett moved to a temporary post at the Potsdam Observatory in 1895. Facing continued discrimination as a woman, she gave up her career as a professional astronomer in 1900.