People: Arthur Bowden

Name Bowden, Arthur Hunt Ley
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
26 Mar 1855 – April/May 1857

Posts 1855, Mar 26


Born 1839, Q4

Cawsand, Cornwall
Died 1923, Sep 10 Woolwich

Known Addresses 1841 Fore Steet, Cawsand, Cornwall
(from censuses and 1861 Observatory, Cambridge (lodger)
electoral registers 1871 31 Kilton Street, Battersea, London (boarder)
  1881 26 Gibson Square, Finsbury, Islington (boarder)
  1906–1911 31 Bennett Park, Blackheath

Appointed in March 1855, Arthur Bowden worked mainly for Glaisher in the Magnetic and Meteorological Department. The Introductions to Greenwich Observations record that in his role as a Computer, Bowden was also an observer between 1855 and 1857. Bowden resigned in order to take up the position of Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory – one of a number of Greenwich Computers to do so between the 1840s and 1860s. He was promoted to the post of Assistant at Cambridge on 1 Jan 1859, resigning in 1863 to take up non observatory work and to travel to France. He was probably the Bowden employed at the Glasgow Observatory from 1868–69 and is said to have participated in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71).

By 1878, Bowden had moved back into an observatory post, becoming Assistant to Robert Grant at Glasgow. In October 1879, he was appointed First Assistant at the Radcliffe Observatory under the new Radcliffe Observer, Edward Stone, who from 1850–1860 had been the First Assistant at Greenwich. In the summer of 1880 he failed to return from leave. It turned out he had been on a drinking bout, at which point he was sacked by Stone. He was replaced by another Greenwich Computer, Walter Wickham.

Bowden is said to have subsequently become a prospector for mining and other companies, spending time in South America and Africa. In his early sixties, Bowden moved to Blackheath where he was able to resume his earlier friendship with George Criswick.



The Observatory, Vol. 46, p.348 (1923)