People: William Thynne Lynn

Name Lynn, William Thynne
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
Apr 1854 – Apr 1855  &  Sep 1856 – 31 Jan 1880

Posts 1854 Apr


1855 Apr

To Cambridge Observatory as Junior Assistant

1856, Sep

1871, Apr 1

Second Class Assistant (following regrading exercise)

1875, Jan 1

First Class Assistant

Born 1835, Aug 9


Died 1911, Dec 11

Objects named after him Asteroid (4358) Lynn. Discovered 5 Oct 1909 by Philip Cowell at Greenwich

Known Addresses 1871–1872

1 Burgess Place, Old Dover Road,  Blackheath (now 101 Old Dover Road): lodger
  1885–1887 4 South Vale (Road), Blackheath
  1889–1899 3 South Vale, Blackheath
  1902–1910 26 South Vale, Blackheath
  1911 25 Lawn Terrace, Blackheath (census)


Lynn started work at Greenwich as a Computer at the age of 18. In 1855, he was recommended by Airy for the post of Junior Assistant at the Cambridge Observatory. He was brought back to Greenwich as an Assistant following the death of John Henry. In 1871 when the pay scales were restructured, he, together with the other more junior assistants (Criswick and Carpenter), was regraded as a Second Class Assistant. When Glaisher resigned at the end of 1874, Lynn was promoted by Airy over Criswick (who had arrived at the Observatory as an Assistant a year before Lynn in 1855). Criswick was eventually promoted to the grade of First Class Assistant the next time a post became vacant – which wasn’t until 1880 following the retirement of Lynn on the grounds of ill health. At the intervention of Airy, Lynn was awarded able to retire with his pension.

In 1856, Lynn was first placed in charge of the reduction of the meridian zenith-distance observations, a department which was always assigned in those days to the junior assistant; but on the retirement of Hugh Breen in 1859 he was made Superintendent of Supernumerary Computers, and placed in charge of the miscellaneous computations for, and of the printing of, the annual Greenwich volume. He occupied this position until 1871, when the offices in the Observatory were reorganized, and the charge of the Altazimuth. was transferred to him from Dunkin.

Lynn obtatined a B.A from the University of London in 1861. In retirement, he wrote extensively. Click here for a list of his books.



An image of Lynn was published as the frontispiece to Volume 35 of The Observatory to accompany his obituary. It is not currently (Jan 2016) available online.



By Henry Hollis. The Observatory, Vol. 35, p. 47-49 (1912)

By T.E.R.P. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 72, p.249 (1912)