People: Bertram Bennett

Name Bennett, Bertram
Place of work Greenwich
Employment dates
1880 Apr – 1885 Apr 30 (RGO7/266)

Posts Computer

Born 1864, Apr 18
Died 1925, Mar 21

Bertram Bennett joined the Observatory as a computer in 1880 – Airy’s last full year as Astronomer Royal. He obtained observing certificates for the Transit Circle, the Altazimuth and the ‘Equatorial’ (both the Great Equatorial and the Sheepshanks?), participating in the observing programme each year from 1881 until he resigned in 1885 (RGO7/266).

Born in Greenwich, he was the fourth son of William Cox Bennett, the grandson of Greenwich watchmaker John Bennett (d.1829/30) and nephew of his more famous watchmaker son, Sir John Bennett (1814–1897). He was educated locally at St Olaves School. He left the Observatory to enter Peterhouse, Cambridge, to study mathematics, graduating with a BA in 1888. On leaving, he became an army coach and master in a private school (or schools?).

1892 was an eventful year Bennett’s life. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in February, married in August, and a few months later took over the headmastership of Montpellier School, Paignton, Devon. He died while still in office, leaving a widow and four children. In the 1940s, the school had three houses: School, Wheat’s (named after the founder), and Bennett’s. The school has since closed down and the site redeveloped.


Further reading

Obituary. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 86, p.173 (1926)

Cambridge Alumni Database