People: Walter Bryant

Name Bryant, Walter William
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
8 Feb 1892 – 31 Jan 1923

Posts 1892, Feb 8

Second Class Assistant


Established Computer (see below)

1904, Jan 1

Born 1865, Dec 9

Died 1923, Jan 31


Known Addresses 1892 Seymour Cottage, Conduit Vale, Blackheath (MNRAS & MNRAS)

122 Blackheath Hill
18 Westcombe Terrace, renumbered as 179 Westcombe Hill in 1900/1901
41 Glenluce Road
  1906–1908 10 Charlton Park Terrace, Old Charlton. Renamed as 211 Charlton Road in the 1930s and in 2012 housing a branch of Coral Bookmakers
  1908 78 Burnt Ash Hill

1910 & 1912

21 Charlton Road Blackheath

Walter Bryant. From The Leisure Hour (1898)

Bryant was the seventh of what turned out to be an elite group of individuals to be appointed as a Second Class Assistant, a grade that was created in 1871 and abolished in 1896. Following changes to the appointment process in 1872 all the posts at this level were filled by competitive examinations organised by the Civil Service. In total, just eight individuals were appointed under this system. All were well educated (Bryant like Crommelin had a maths degree and was 21st wrangler at Cambridge – ie 21st best student in his year), and generally in their early 20s when they arrived at the Observatory. They were:

1873      Arthur Matthew Weld Downing
1873      Edward Walter Maunder
1875      William Grasett Thackeray
1881      Thomas Lewis
1881      Henry Park Hollis
1891      Andrew Claude de la Cherois

1892      Walter William Bryant
1892      Thomas Charlton Hudson

Of the eight, six including Bryant remained at the Observatory for their entire working life. Bryant and Hudson were appointed as a Second Class Assistants following the promotion of Lewis and Thackeray from Second Class to First Class Assistants. Bryant started on 8 February 1892 and Hudson a few days later. Following a regrading exercise in 1896 and the abolition of the post of First and Second Class Assistants and their replacement with the Assistant and Established Computer grades, Bryant was technically regraded as an Established Computer as was Crommelin. In practice, both continued to be referred to by Christie as Second Class Assistants, except in the Navy Estimates. Both Crommelin and Bryant were promoted to the Assistant Grade in January 1904, Crommelin to a new post that had been created at this level, and Bryant as a result of the retirement of Nash as Superintendent of the Magnetic and Meteorological Department.

From his arrival at Greenwich and until the end of 1903, Bryant’s work was centered around the Transit Circle. In the late 1890s, he also began to make observations of double stars with the Great Equatorial. Following Nash’s retirement, he took over as Superintendent of the Magnetic and Meteorological Department. He died in office of enlargement of the prostate (with retention) at the age of 57 following a serious operation (RGO8/33).



By Henry Hollis. The Observatory, Vol. 46, p. 75-76 (1923)

By Charles Davidson Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 84, p.211 (1924)