People: Charles Craven Lacey

Name Lacey, Chrarles Craven
Place of work Greenwich

Employment dates
1891 – 1900

Observatory posts 1891

Supernumerary Computer

Subsequent posts
by 1911

Professional photographer

Born 1876

Colchester Essex
Died ?


Known addresses
23 Gilmore Road, Lewisham
(from census etc.) 1911

28 St Fillans Road, Catford


Born in Colchester Essex, Charles Craven Lacey was one of many children born to Charles Craven Lacey (Snr.) and his wife Kate Summers. In the 1881 census, his father is listed as a Supervisor for the Inland Revenue (Excise Branch), whilst his mother is listed as a housewife. The census also records that Charles was the ninth of twelve children living at the family home which at that time was still in Colchester. By the time of the 1891 census, the family had moved to Gilmore Road in Lewisham where Charles is recorded as still being at School and his father as still working for the Inland Revenue. In that same year, when he was about 15, Charles was taken on at the Observatory as a Boy Computer to work under E Water Maunder in the Solar Department. In the Introductions to the published volumes of Greenwich Observations, he is recorded as also having undertaken observing duties from 1891–1900 (for which he received additional pay). He was also approved as competent to take photographs with the photoheliographs in 1893.

By the start of 1900, Lacey would have been 24 years old and rapidly approaching the age at which he would become ineligible to apply for an established post (should one have become available) under the Civil Service rules that existed at that time. This probably explains why he left the Observatory as his existing post was poorly paid.

The 1911 census records that Lacey was unmarried and that he was a photographer, working in the role of an employee. It also records that his mother had been widowed, and that he was living with her and a sister at 28 St Fillans Road, Catford.

In terms of known photographs, Maunder credits Lacey for several of the photographs in his book The Royal Observatory Greenwich a glance at its history and its work. He is credited elsewhere for a photograph of the Observatory taken at some point after 1908, suggesting that he kept in touch with his former colleagues.