People: William Garrard

Name Garrard, William
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
25 Mar 1788 – 1 Jul 1789  &  1 Jul 1798 – 21 Jul 1798

Born c.1755 (Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre,1390/2D)
Posts Assistant

Prior to coming to Greenwich as Maskelyne’s Assistant in 1788, William Garrard (active 1781-1808) was an usher at Mr Bettesworth’s Marine Academy, Ormond House, Paradise Row, Chelsea. (Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre,1390/2D). Garrard was a replacement for John Brinkley and was himself replaced by William Smith. His brief return to the Observatory in 1798, was probably part of a stop-gap arrangement in which he and another former assistant, John Crossley, did brief stints to tide Maskelyne over following the departure of Thomas Evans.

The precise timings of Garrard’s career following his original departure in 1789 are difficult to pin down. After leaving Greenwich, he published a number of books where to start with, he styled himself as ‘Late Assistant Observer At The Royal Observatory, Greenwich’. In 1793 he seems to have been at the Union Observatory, Denmark Hill, London. From 1794–97 he was astronomer onboard HMS Thetis. He then seems to have returned to the Naval Academy at Ormond House as Master, where he appears to have been in 1802 and 1807, though in 1805 he was absent as astronomer onboard HMS Pallas. He then appears to have been appointed Quarter Master of Instruction at the Royal Naval Asylum, Greenwich, which is where he was in 1808 when Maskelyne communicated a paper by him to the Royal Society.

Garrard was given two awards by the Board of Longitude, one for £70 which was awarded on 2 June 1798 for ‘New Lunar Distance Tables’. The other was for £21, was awarded on 5 June 1806 for ‘Observations on NW coast of America’. The latitudes and longitudes that he recorded on his voyages on the Thesis and Pallas are preserved in the Observatory’s archive (RGO14/67/177–215) and are viewable online in digital form. Click here for link.