People: George Humphreys

Name Humphreys, George
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
26 October 1846 – 1849 (RGO6/1/475)

Posts 1847

Magnetic Assistant

Born 1822

Died 1893, Dec 17

Known addresses 1846 7 Park Terrace (RGO6/1/460)

In the early days of the Magnetic Observatory, posts were directly funded directly by the Treasury rather than by the Admiralty. As such, they were not established posts. Humphries, a neighbour of Airy’s First Assistant, Robert Main wrote to Airy on 15 January 1846 offering himself as a candidate should a post become available. He offered Main as a referee (RGO6/1/460). When later in 1846 he was offered a position, he accepted, starting work on 26 October.

In 1848, photographic recording techniques were introduced and in 1849, the number of Assistants assigned to Glaisher in the Magnetical and Meteorological department was reduced by Airy from three to one, with Computers to the same pecuniary value seemingly being employed instead. Humphreys was one of those to go. With further research in the archives (RGO6/3) it may be possible to establish if he had decided to go anyway or decided to go beause Airy proposed to keep him, but pay him at the lower rate of a Computer. According to Alumni Cantabrigienses, Vol 2 part 3 (1947), after leaving Greenwich, Humphreys was employed in the Commander-in-Chief’s Office (Horse Guards) before taking a degree at Cambridge which he started in 1849. He went on to become Actuary and Secretary to Eagle Insurance.