Extracts from the Reports of the Astronomer Royal relating to chronometers (1912–1964)

The following extracts relating to the Buildings and Grounds are taken from the Annual Reports of the Astronomer Royal to the Board of Visitors.

The reports were presented at the annual visitation, which normally took place in the first week of June. The first was produced in 1836. The report for the following year established a format that remained much the same until 1963, (the year before the Board was abolished).

The reports from 1837 onwards were grouped into sections dealing with different topics. The contents of the section related exclusively to chronometers in different years was as follows:

Section VII   1912–1917  Chronometers
Section VI    1918–1931  Chronometers
Section VII   1932–1936  Chronometers
Section V     1937–1940  Chronometers
Section IV    1941–1942  Chronometers
Section V     1943          Chronometers
Section IV    1944–1947  Chronometers
Section VI    1948–1956  Chronometers
Section V     1957–1959  Chronometers
Section VI    1960           Chronometers
Section X     1961           Chronometer Repair Service
Section VI    1962–1963  Chronometer Service
                   1964           Narrative Report, Grounds and Buildings

Additional relevant material has also been included from the section dealing with the buildings and grounds.

Whilst every effort has been made to check the transcription for errors, the text is not guaranteed to be error free. Most of the reports as published can be accessed from NASA's Astrophysics Data System via the links below.
During the Second World War, a confidential addendum was tabled to each report containing information (relating mainly to chronometers, the Nautical Almanac Office and magnetic and meteorological data) that might have been useful to the enemy. They were never published. Copies for the years 1940–42 are held at the National Archives in ADM190/19 , ADM190/20 and ADM190/21 respectively.









1912 1913 1914 1915

1916 1917 1918 1919 1920

1921 1922 1923 1924 1925

1926 1927 1928 1929 1930

1931 1932 1933 1934 1935

1936 1937 1938 1939 1940

1941 1942 1943 1944 1945

1946 1947 1948 1949 1950

1951 1952 1953 1954 1955

1956 1957 1958 1959 1960

1961 1962 1963 1964

 


 

1912, June 1

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1911 May 11 to 1912 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

I. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... As the heating arrangements of the chronometer rooms under the Great Equatorial by a stove and of the record room by a hot-air supply were unsatisfactory and had become obsolete, a system of hot-water pipes and radiators was installed. ...

VII. – Chronometers:–

From the beginning of the year 1912 some changes of procedure came into force with regard to the receipt and issue of chronometers to the Fleet, and the upkeep of the stocks at the Admiralty depots, the Astronomer Royal being now responsible for the maintenance of the stocks in these establishments. In future all applications for permission to submit chronometers and watches to the annual trials are to be made directly to the Astronomer Royal, to whom also all claims in connection with the purchase and repair of chronometers and watches are to be sent. The Hydrographer is kept informed by periodic reports.

The number of Government marine chronometers and watches now at the Observatory is 396, viz., 141 box chronometers, 22 pocket chronometers, 98 chronometer watches, and 135 hack watches.

In addition to these there are at the Observatory 6 box chronometers being tested after repair, and 2 box chronometers awaiting repair, belonging tip the Indian Government.

There are at present 10 hack watches and 13 non-magnetic watches on trial for purchase by the Admiralty.

In the year ended 1912 May 10, the average daily number of chronometers and watches being rated was 573, the total number received was 1,782, the total number issued was 1,793, and the number sent for repair 794. This last number includes 36 box chronometers, 1 pocket chronometer, and 3 watches belonging to the Indian Government.

For the annual trial of chronometers, which lasted 29 weeks with a range of temperature from 49° to 106°, 55 chronometers were sent in. During the trial 16 were rejected because the difference between one week's rate and the nest exceeded 12 seconds. Of the remaining chronometers, 20 were purchased for the Navy, 2 for the Indian Government, and I for the Commonwealth of Australia.

The performance of these chronometers was very satisfactory.

For the annual trial of chronometer watches, lasting 16 weeks and including trials in the oven and in positions, 195 watches were entered, of which 72 were classified, and of these 60 were purchased for the Navy. Among the watches classified were 29 with centre-seconds' dials; of these, 23 were purchased. There were 15 "Karrusel" or "Tourbillon" watches classified, of which 12 were purchased. The performance of the watches was good.

A trial of pocket chronometers took place concurrently with the trial of chronometer watches, and under the same conditions as regard duration of trial, temperatures, and positions. Of the 11 pocket chronometers sent in, 2 were purchased for the Navy.

The trials of hack watches and non-magnetic watches have been continued throughout the year, 58 of the former and 27 of the latter having been tested. Of these, 19 hack watches and 12 non-magnetic watches have been purchased.

The next trial of box chronometers will commence on June 15, and of pocket chronometers and chronometer watches on August 3.

Provision is now made to receive and test two classes of non-magnetic watches at the Royal Observatory, (a) those comparable with chronometer watches and (b) watches less highly adjusted.

The experiments mentioned in the report for 1911, which were undertaken to investigate the effect of magnetic fields on the rates of chronometers and watches (both ordinary and non-magnetic), have been continued throughout the year and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

It was found that a vertical magnetic field has little or no effect as such – if, however, it is deflected in passing through the chronometer, its horizontal component will affect the rate.

The effect of a horizontal field varies with the direction in which it passes through the chronometer. If the latter is not permanently magnetised, a reversal of the field does not affect the rate; but if the chronometer is turned through 90° in the field, the chancre of rate will be exactly reversed in sign. There are certain directions in which the rate is entirely unaffected by a magnetic field.

If, however, the chronometer becomes permanently magnetised, the change of rate is reversed in sign by reversing the field. In this case the change of rate is directly proportional to the intensity of the magnetic field, whereas in the case of temporary magnetisation the change of rate is proportional to the square of the intensity of the field.

It was found that a field of intensity one c.g.s. unit is liable to change the rate of an average chronometer by approximately one second per day.

The changes of rate are due to the mechanical couple acting on the magnetised steel in the balance arm and rim when in the magnetic field.

Watches can be shielded from the above effects by being placed in suitable iron boxes.

Tests on non-magnetic watches have shown that slight changes of rate may be produced in -very strong magnetic fields, but no permanent change of rate takes place. Changes of rate produced in non-magnetic watches do not follow the same laws as those occurring in ordinary watches or chronometers, and must arise from different causes.

A full account of these experiments is given in a paper by Mr. Chapman and Mr. Lewis, which will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

 

1913 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1912 May 11 to 1913 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

I. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... The Observatory has ceased to generate its own electric current for lighting and other purposes, and now obtains current from outside. The gas engine and dynamo will shortly be removed, and the battery of accumulators has already been taken away. Alternating instead of direct current is now used, and a small supply of direct current is obtained by means of a rotary converter. The direct current is required for charging small storage batteries (used in lighting the instruments) and for the electro-magnet used in magnetic tests of chronometers and watches. ...

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of Government marine chronometers and watches now at the Observatory is 512, viz., 194 box chronometers, 22 pocket chronometers, chronometer watches, and 174 hack watches.

In addition to these there are at the Observatory 4 box chronometers and 3 watches being tested after purchase or repair, and 4 stop-watches on trial for purchase for the Indian Government.

There are also 2 box chronometers on trial for purchase for Hong Kong Observatory.

There are at present 25 hack watches and 3 non-magnetic watches on trial for purchase by the Admiralty.

In the year ended 1913 May 10, the average daily number of chronometers and watches being rated was 553, the total number received was 1,930, the total number issued was 1,802, and the number sent for repair 861. This last number includes 31 box chronometers, 1 pocket chronometer, and 5 watches belonging to the Indian Government.

For the annual trial of chronometers, which lasted 29 weeks with a range of temperature from 49° to 102°, 53 chronometers were sent in. During the trial 18 were rejected because the difference between one week's rate and the next exceeded 12 seconds. 0f the remaining 35 chronometers, 22 were purchased for the navy, and 2 for the Indian Government.

The performance of these chronometers was very satisfactory.

For the annual trial of chronometer watches, lasting 16 weeks and including trials in the oven and in positions, 171 watches were entered, of which 57 were classified, and of these 53 were purchased for the Navy, and 3 for the Indian Government. Among the watches classified were 29 with centre-seconds' dials; of these, 23 were purchased. There were 11 "Karrusel" or "Tourbillon" watches classified, all of which were purchased. The performance of the watches was good.

 A trial of pocket chronometers took place concurrently with the trial of chronometer watches, and under the same conditions as regard duration of trial temperatures, and positions. Of the 7 pocket chronometers sent in, 1 was purchased for the Navy.

The trials of hack watches and non-magnetic watches have been continued throughout the year, 76 of the former and 28 of the latter having been tested. Of these, 24 hack watches and 2 non-magnetic watches have been purchased.

The next trial of box chronometers will commence on June 21, and of pocket  chronometers and chronometer watches on August 2.

Provision is now made to receive and test two classes of non-magnetic watches at the Royal Observatory, (a) those comparable with chronometer watches and (b) watches less highly adjusted. These may be brought in for trial at any time.

A box chronometer Dent 54835 in a specially made metal box is now being tested in a magnetic field.

 

1914 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1913 May 11 to 191.1 .May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of Government marine chronometers and watches now at the Observatory is 479, viz., 216 box chronometers, 16 pocket chronometers, 185 chronometer watches, and 62 hack watches. These include 6 non-magnetic chronometer watches and 3 non-magnetic hack watches.

In addition to these there are at the Observatory: 3 box chronometers and 2 watches, being tested after repair, for the Indian Government.

There are at present 47 hack watches and 5 non-magnetic watches on trial for purchase by the Admiralty.

In the year ended 1914 May 10, the average daily number of chronometers and watches being rated was 712, the total number received was 2,094, the total number issued was 2,110, and the number sent for repair 934. This last number includes 41 box chronometers, and 7 watches belonging to the Indian Government.

For the annual trial of chronometers, which lasted 29 weeks with a range of temperature from 50° to 105°, 53 chronometers were sent in. During the trial 30 were rejected because the difference between one week's rate and the next exceeded 12 seconds. Of the remaining 23 chronometers, 18 were purchased for the Navy. The performance of these chronometers was satisfactory.

For the annual trial of chronometer watches, lasting 16 weeks and including trials in the oven and in positions, 170 watches were entered, of which 63 were classified, and of these 59 were purchased for the Navy, and 2 for the Indian Government. Among the watches classified were 17 with centre-seconds' dials; all of which were purchased. There were 12 "Karrusel" or "Tourbillon" watches classified, all of which were purchased. The performance of the watches was good.

A trial of pocket chronometers took place concurrently with the trial of chronometer watches, and under the same conditions as regards duration of trial, temperatures, and positions. Three pocket chronometers were sent in, but none purchased.

The trials of hack watches and non-magnetic watches have been continued throughout the year, 213 of the former and 30 of the latter having been tested. Of these, 97 hack watches and 10 non-magnetic watches have been purchased.

The next trial of box chronometers will commence on June 20, and of pocket chronometers and chronometer watches on August 1.

 

1915 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1914 May 11 to 1915 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of Government marine chronometers and watches now at the Observatory is 325, viz., 125 box chronometers, 19 pocket chronometers, 80 chronometer watches, and 101 hack watches. These include 3 non-magnetic chronometer watches and 1 non-magnetic hack watch.

In addition to these there is at the Observatory 1 box chronometer, being tested after repair, for the Indian Government.

There are at present 107 hack watches and 157 chronometer watches on trial for purchase by the Admiralty.

In the year ended 1915 May 10, the average daily number of chronometers and watches being rated was 657, the total number received was 3,273, the total number issued was 3,207, and the number sent for repair 1,007. This last number includes 8 box chronometers, and 2 watches belonging to the Indian Government.                        

For the annual trial of chronometers, which lasted 29 weeks with a range of temperature from 49° to 105°, 42 chronometers were sent in. During the trial 18 were rejected because the difference between one week's rate and the next exceeded 12 seconds. Of the remaining 24 chronometers, 12 were purchased for the Navy, and 3 for the Indian Government. The performance of these chronometers was satisfactory.

For the annual trial of chronometer watches, lasting 16 weeks and including trials in the oven and in positions, 228 watches were entered, of which 81 were classified, and 81 were purchased for the Navy. Among the watches classified were 30 with centre-seconds' dials.

A trial of pocket chronometers took place concurrently with the trial of chronometer watches, and under the same conditions as regards duration of trial, temperatures, and positions. Six pocket chronometers were sent in, and three were purchased.

The trials of ordinary hack watches have been continued, but those for non-magnetic watches were discontinued at the end of 1914. Of 562 hack watches sent in for trial 278 have been purchased, and 31 non-magnetic watches submitted 28 were purchased.

Three 8-day chronometers were tested for the Indian Government.

The next trial of box chronometers will commence on June 19. The trial o chronometer watches is now in progress.

 

1916 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1915 May 11 to 1916 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 229, viz., 49 box chronometers, 4 pocket chronometers, 71 chronometer watches, and 100 hack watches. Three box chronometers are also being tested for the Indian Government.

There are 93 box chronometers, 50 chronometer watches and 64 hack watches belonging to various makers, now at the Observatory on trial for purchase by the Admiralty. In addition, five 8-day chronometers are on trial for purchase by the Indian Government.

During the year ended 1916 May 10, 5,085 chronometers and watches have been received and 5,090 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,546, including 30 box chronometers, and 6 watches belonging to the Indian Government.

Purchases of chronometers and watches have been made after severe trial in temperature and position. Three trials of box chronometers have been held. Altogether 143 chronometers were entered, and of these 81 were purchased. A fourth trial, for which 77 chronometers have been deposited at the Observatory, is now proceeding.

Five trials of chronometer watches have been held. The total number of watches deposited was 516. Of these 250 have been purchased.

Provision has been made for two further trials of chronometer watches in summer and autumn.

Trials of hack watches have proceeded continuously throughout the year. In all 812 watches have been under trial, and 536 have been purchased.

A cheaper form of watch, which has been given the name of Pocket Watch, was called for by the Admiralty during the year. Of these 600 have been purchased after being tested.

 

1917 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1916 May 11 to 1917 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 313, viz., 55 box chronometers, 51 chronometer watches, 62 hack watches, and 145 pocket watches. Two box chronometers and two chronometer watches are also being tested for the Indian Government.

There are 28 hack watches, belonging to various makers, now at the Observatory on trial for purchase by the Admiralty.

During the year ended 1917, May 10, 4,849 chronometers and watches have been received and 4,989 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,815, including 38 box chronometers, and 8 watches belonging to the Indian Government.

Purchases of chronometers and watches have been made after severe trial in temperature and position. Two trials of box chronometers have been held. Altogether 159 chronometers were entered, and of these 79 were purchased. Seven eight-day chronometers have also been tested for the Indian Government) of which 3 have been purchased.

Three trials of chronometer watches have been held. The total number of watches deposited was 320. The number purchased during the year was 177 for the Admiralty and 2 for the Indian Government.

Trials of hack watches have proceeded continuously throughout the year. In all, 490 watches have been under trial, and 305 have been purchased.

Two hundred watches of a cheaper form, known as Pocket Watches, have been purchased after being tested.

 

1918 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1917 May 11 to 1918 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 558, viz., 206 box chronometers, 83 chronometer watches, 144 hack watches, and 125 pocket watches. One box chronometer is also being tested for the Indian Government. In addition there are 40 chronometers and watches being rated or under examination, of which 10 are on loan to the Admiralty.

There are also 12 chronometers, 17 chronometer watches, and 15 hack watches belonging to various makers, now at the Observatory on trial for purchase by the Admiralty, and 2 chronometers for the Indian Government.

During the year ended 1918, May 10, 6,856 chronometers and watches have been received and 6,580 issued. The number sent for repair was 2,913, including 9 box chronometers and 1 watch belonging to the Indian Government.

Purchases of chronometers and watches have been made after severe trial in temperature and position. Altogether 152 chronometers have been tested, and of these 110 were purchased for the Navy. 375 chronometer watches have been tested, and 265 have been purchased. Further, 101 large-size lever watches mounted in gymbals have been tested, of which 78 have been purchased and the remainder are still under trial. 504 hack watches have been tested during the year, of which 323 have been purchased. 280 watches of a cheaper make, known as pocket watches, have also been purchased.

 

1919 June 14

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1918 May 11 to 1919 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,123. Of this total, 206 chronometers, 175 chronometer watches, 141 hack watches, and 57 pocket watches are being rated. One box chronometer is also being tested for the Indian Government. In addition there are 67 chronometers and watches being rated or under examination.

There are also 24 chronometers, 125 chronometer watches, and 17 hack watches belonging to various makers, now at the Observatory on trial for purchase.

During the year ended 1919 May 10, 8,631 chronometers and watches have been received and 6,713 issued. The number sent for repair was 2,900, including 1 box chronometer belonging to the Indian Government.

Purchases of chronometers and watches for R.N. service have been made after testing for the standard performance required of the several types of instruments. Altogether, 106 chronometers, 329 chronometer watches, 133 large lever watches in gymbals, 156 hack watches and 396 pocket watches have been purchased.

In addition, the purchase of 7 chronometers and 6 hack watches after trial has been made by the Indian Government.

 

1920 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1919 May 11 to 1920 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

I. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... The substitution of electric instead of gas heating in. the chronometer ovens was commenced on April 12 by Messrs. Grundy &- Co. and is now in progress. Low-power beating elements, controlled by a thermostat which operates an automatic switch, are placed in the same chambers as the chronometers and watches. ...

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,249. Of this total, 168 chronometers, 165 chronometer watches, 168 hack watches, and 65 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder consisting of 325 chronometers, 1,081 chronometer watches, 584 hack watches and 690' pocket watches are being kept in storage.

All new chronometers and watches on order before the armistice, which could not be countermanded, have now been received. During the year 8 chronometers, 90 chronometer hatches, 13 Waltham chronometers and 11 hack watches have been tested and taken on charge.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers, one chronometer is being tested for the Indian Government. There are also 81 chronometers and watches deposited at the Observatory belonging to vessels loaned during the war or for similar reasons. There are also 99 Waltham chronometers, the property of the United States Navy.

During, the year 5 new chronometers and 6 hack watches have been tested and purchased for the Indian Government.

In connection with the purchase of chronometers by the United States Shipping Board, 206 new chronometers and 124 second-hand chronometers have passed the requisite tests satisfactorily and been dispatched.

During the year ended 1920 May 10, a total of 4,338 chronometers and watches have been received and 3,478 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,328, namely 1,219 for the Admiralty and 109 for the Indian Government.

The usual annual trials of chronometers and watches were discontinued during the war and instead, definite orders were placed with various firms. It would seem desirable, in order to maintain the highest efficiency in the manufacture of chronometers, to reinstitute the annual trial at an early date.

The substitution of electric heating in the chronometer ovens in place of gas has been referred to earlier in the report. It was considered desirable to make this change in preference to renewing a large portion of the iron work in the heating chamber, which required extensive repair. The erection of a cooling chamber is under consideration, so that tests at low as well as at high temperature may be possible at any period of the year.

 

1921 June 4

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1920 May 11 to 1921 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

I. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

The substitution of electric for gas heating in the chronometer ovens was completed in June. The temperature control works quite satisfactorily and within a close range. It is a great advantage to have got rid of the gas fumes which frequently found their way into the Chronometer Room.

For the purpose of testing chronometers and watches at low temperatures at any period of the year, a refrigerating plant was installed by Messrs. Hall & Go., of Dartford, in January. The plant consists of a suitably lagged chamber, 7½ ft. X 6½ ft. X 6½ ft., with shelves for 45 chronometers, cooled by a brine tank reduced to a low temperature by the expansion of liquid carbon dioxide in a coil immersed in the brine. The compressor is worked by a 3 horse-power single phase motor.

A 6½ -inch self-contained motor-driven lathe, with a ¼ horse-power motor and accessories, has been supplied to the workshop. The lathe was installed and brought into use in March and has already been of considerable service.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,054. Of this total, 236 chronometers, 160 chronometer watches, 247 hack watches, and 64 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, Consisting of 243 chronometers, 1,221 chronometer watches, 392 hack watches and 491 pocket watches, are being kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers, 17 chronometers are being tested for the Indian Government. There are also 51 chronometers and watches deposited at the Observatory, for various reasons.

During the year 8 new chronometers have been tested and purchased for the Indian Government.

In connection with the purchase of chronometers by the United States Shipping Board, 119 new chronometers and 3 second-hand chronometers have passed the requisite tests satisfactorily and have been dispatched.

During the year ended 1921 May 10 a total of 2,600 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,921 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,361, namely 1,291 for the Admiralty and 70 for the Indian Government.

The usual annual trials of chronometers and watches were discontinued during the war, but, in order to maintain the highest efficiency in the manufacture of chronometers, the annual trial will be reinstituted during the current year.

The substitution of electric heating in the chronometer ovens has been completed during the year, and a small refrigerating plant for testing chronometers at low temperature has been erected. The ovens are working very satisfactorily, but the cold chamber has not yet been brought into regular use.

 

1922 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1921 May 11 to 1922 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,049. Of this total, 222 chronometers, 227 chronometer watches, 169 hack watches, and 49 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 321 chronometers, 1,110 chronometer watches, 456 hack watches and 495 pocket watches, are being kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers, 1 chronometer and 1 watch are being tested for the Indian Government. There are also 86 chronometers and watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

In connection with the purchase of chronometers by the United States Shipping Board, 124 new chronometers have passed the requisite tests satisfactorily and have been dispatched.

During the year ended 1922 April 30 a total of 2,191 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,196 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,148, namely 1,118 for the Admiralty and 30 for the Indian Government.

The usual annual trials of chronometers and watches were discontinued during the war and have not vet been reinstated.

 

1923 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1922 May 11 to 1923 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,959. Of this total, 205 chronometers, 139 chronometer watches, 180 hack watches, and 42 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 403 chronometers, 1,170 chronometer watches, 311 hack watches and 509 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers, there are also 135 chronometers and 31 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

In connection with the purchase of chronometers by the United States Shipping Board, 35 new chronometers have passed the requisite tests satisfactorily and have been dispatched. This completes the contract made for the supply of 500 chronometers.

During the year ended 1923 April 30 a total of 2,056 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,075 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,156, namely 1,111 for the Admiralty and 45 for the Indian Government.

The annual trials of chronometers and watches have not been reinstated.

 

1924 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1923 May 11 to 1924 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,896. Of this total 113 chronometers, 164 chronometer watches, 226 hack watches and 69 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 489 chronometers, 1,116 chronometer watches, 212 hack watches and 

507 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 33 chronometers and 21 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1924 April 30 a total of 2,127 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,299 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,342 namely, 1,315 for the Admiralty, 25 for the Indian, 1 for the Canadian and 1 for the New Zealand Governments.

The annual trials of chronometers and watches have not been reinstated.

 

1925 June 6

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1924 May 11 to 1925 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,866. Of this total 103 chronometers, 190 chronometer watches, 273 hack watches and 57 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 453 chronometers, 1,084 chronometer watches, 150 hack watches and

552 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 44 chronometers and 20 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1925 April 30 a total of 2,256 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,279 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,418, namely, 1,383 for the Admiralty, 33 for the Indian, and 2 for the Australian Governments.

The annual trials of chronometers and watches have not been reinstated.

 

1926 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1925 May 11 to 1926 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,100. Of this total 282 chronometers, 169 chronometer watches, 316 hack watches and 68 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 373 chronometers, 1,154 chronometer watches, 153 hack watches and

581 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 30 chronometers and 11 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1926 April 30 a total of 2,376 chronometers and watches have been received and 2,165 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,420 – namely, 1,400 for the Admiralty, 17 for the Indian, 2 for the Australian, and 1 for the New Zealand Governments.

The annual trials of chronometers and watches have not been reinstated.

 

1927 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1926 May 11 to 1927 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,098. Of this total 218 chronometers, 278 chronometer watches, 416 hack watches and 44 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 380 chronometers, 1,053 chronometer watches, 87 hack watches and

618 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 41 chronometers and 11 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1927 April 30 a total of 1,971 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,961 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,143 – namely, 1,088 for the Admiralty, 40 for the Indian, 1 for the Australian, 7 for the New Zealand and 2 for the Egyptian Governments. Eleven watches have also been sent f or repair on behalf of the Royal Air Force.

 

1928 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1927 May 11 to 1928 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,067. Of this total, 230 chronometers, 266 chronometer watches, 349 hack watches and 44 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 353 chronometers, 1,056 chronometer watches, 121 hack watches and 644 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 38 chronometers and 15 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ending 1928, April 30, a total of 1,716 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,746 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,052, viz., 987 for the Admiralty, 1 for the Colonial Office, 57 for the Indian, 2 f or the Canadian, and 5 for the Egyptian Governments.

 

1929 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1928 May 11 to 1929 May 10 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,128. Of this total, 195 chronometers, 241 chronometer watches, 317 hack watches and 30 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 384 chronometers, 1,074 chronometer watches, 233 hack watches and 650 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 40 chronometers and 16 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ending 1929 April 30, a total of 1,854 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,790 issued. The number sent for repair was 955, viz., 898 for the Admiralty, 49 for the Indian, 3 for the South African, and 4 for the New Zealand Governments, and 1 for the Royal Air Force.

 

1930 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1929 May 11 to 1930 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,060. Of this total, 252 chronometers, 241 chronometer watches, 253 hack watches and 33 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 340 chronometers, 1,033 chronometer watches, 262 hack watches and 644 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 44 chronometers and 12 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1930 April 30, a total of 1,609 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,677 issued. The number sent for repair was 952, viz.: 916 for the Admiralty, 25 for the Indian, and 4 for the New Zealand Governments, 6 for the Royal Air Force, and 1 for Durham University.

During the year 27 chronometers, 37 chronometer watches, 7 hack watches and 5 Waltham chronometers have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1931 June 6

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1930 May 11 to 1931 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VI. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,975. Of this total, 285 chronometers, 257 chronometer watches, 229 hack watches and 60 pocket watches are being rated. The remainder, consisting of 310 chronometers, 978 chronometer watches, 222 hack watches and 629 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 42 chronometers and 20 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1931 April 30, a total of 1,604 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,686 issued. The number sent for repair was 944, viz.: 914 for the Admiralty, 18 for the Indian, and 2 for the Canadian Governments, and 10 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year 32 chronometers, 34 chronometer watches, 1 hack watch and 4 pocket watches have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1932 June 4

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1931 May 11 to 1932 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 3,063. Of this total, 257 chronometers, 226 chronometer watches, 331 hack watches and 55 pocket watches are being rated. Four are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 359 chronometers, 1,001 chronometer watches, 189 hack watches and 641 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 43 chronometers and 25 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1932 April 30, a total of 1,654 chronometers and watches have been received and 1,559 issued. The number sent for repair was 849, viz.: 813 for the Admiralty, 29 for the Indian, and 6 for the New Zealand Governments, and 1 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year 11 chronometers, 38 chronometer watches, and 1 hack watch have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1933 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1932 May 11 to 1933 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... The refrigerating plant, used in connection with the testing of chronometers, has been overhauled. An electrically-driven grinding machine has been installed in the workshop. ...

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,976. Of this total, 173 chronometers, 173 chronometer watches, 327 hack watches and 36 pocket watches are being rated. Five are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 425 chronometers, 1,028 chronometer watches, 231 hack watches and 578 pocket watches are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 45 chronometers and 18 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1933 April 30, a total of 1,463 chronometers and watches has been received and 1,554 issued. The number sent for repair was 724, viz.: 665 for the Admiralty, 47 for the Indian, 1 for the New Zealand, and 3 for the Canadian Governments, and 8 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year 5 chronometers, 23 chronometer watches, and 72 pocket watches have been sold out of surplus stock, and 10 chronometers have been transferred to the Naval Ordnance Department.

 

1934 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the year from 1933 May 11 to 1934 May 10, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,514. Of this total, 193 chronometers, 216 chronometer watches, 273 hack watches and 50 pocket watches are being rated. Five are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 424 chronometers, 952 chronometer watches, 247 hack watches and 154 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 33 chronometers and 31 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1934 April 30, a total of 1,997 chronometers and watches has been received and 2,458 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,336, viz., 1,297 for the Admiralty, 36 for the Indian Government, 2 for the New Zealand Government, and 1 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year, 2 chronometers, 21 chronometer watches, 4 hack watches, and 411 pocket watches have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1935 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1934 May 11 to 1935 April 30, and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,387. Of this total, 197 chronometers, 211 chronometer watches, 227 hack watches and 49 pocket watches are being rated. Five are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 386 chronometers, 889 chronometer watches, 209 hack watches and 158 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 30 chronometers and 26 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1935 April 30, a total of 1,563 chronometers and watches has been received and 1,753 issued. The number sent for repair was 915, viz., 876 for the Admiralty and 39 for the Indian Government.

During the year, 23 chronometers, 34 chronometer watches, 5 hack watches, and 3 pocket watches have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1936 June 6

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1935 May 1 to 1936 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

A fluctuation in the general lighting in the observatory which occurred at the times when the compressor, for the refrigerating plant of the chronometer testing cold chamber, was in operation, proved very troublesome when any of the measuring machines or the photometer were in use. To eliminate this fluctuation, an independent 220-volt transformer was installed to supply the Brook's main. This has proved to be satisfactory.

A new sectional boiler has been installed, for heating the chronometer store, wireless room and record room.

VII. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 2,061. Of this total, 216 chronometers, 231 chronometer watches, 252 hack watches and 146 pocket watches are being rated. Five are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 305 chronometers, 718 chronometer watches, 105 hack watches and 20 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty chronometers there are 33 chronometers and 30 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ended 1936 April 30, a total of 2,088 chronometers and watches has been received and 2,411 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,369, viz., 1,323 for the Admiralty, 24 for the Indian, 4 for the Australian, 6 for the New Zealand 1 for the Canadian Governments, and 11 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year, 15 chronometers, 46 chronometer watches and 5 pocket watches have been sold out of surplus stock.

 

1937 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1936 May 1 to 1937 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... Part of the Upper Computing Room has been screened by partitions and will be used as a watch and chronometer repairing workshop. ...

V. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 1,987. Of this total 224 chronometers, 390 chronometer watches, 275 deck watches (previously known as hack watches) and 130 pocket watches are being rated. Five chronometers are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 317 chronometers, 439 chronometer watches, 168 deck watches and 39 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty instruments, there are 12 chronometers and 52 watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ending 1937 April 30, a total of 2,167 chronometer watches have been received and 2,175 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,319, viz., 1, the property of His Majesty The King, from the Royal Yacht " Victoria & Albert," 1,267 for the Admiralty, 33 for the Indian, 3 for the New Zealand, 4 for the Canadian, Governments, and 11 for the Royal Air Force.

During the year 30 chronometers and 65 chronometer watches have been sold out of surplus stock.

A scheme has been under consideration for undertaking a certain amount of repairing and adjusting of chronometers and watches at the Observatory. The number of persons engaged in the trade who are competent to undertake the adjustment of chronometers and watches to the fine limits required in Admiralty repairs is small, and, because there is little demand in commercial work for such high standards in adjustment, the competent adjusters are steadily becoming fewer in number. It is hoped that the scheme for undertaking repairs at the Observatory will provide a training in accurate adjusting. The scheme would be capable of gradual expansion, if experience proved that to be desirable. A room has been fitted out as a repair shop but the staff has not yet been appointed.

 

1938 June 4

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1937 May 1 to 1938 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

V. – Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 1,875. Of this total 227 chronometers, 527 chronometer watches, 214 deck watches and 113 pocket watches are being rated. Seven chronometers are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 306 chronometers, 186 chronometer watches, 242 deck watches and 53 pocket watches, are kept in storage.

In addition to Admiralty instruments, there are 61 chronometers and watches deposited at the Observatory for various reasons.

During the year ending 1938 April 30, a total of 2,178 chronometer watches have been received and 2,269 issued. The 'number sent for repair was 1,409, viz., 1,349 for the Admiralty, 35 for the Indian Government, 1 for the Australian Government, 2 for the Colonial Office and 22 for the Royal Air Force.

Various changes have been made by the Admiralty during the year, some of which have resulted in a considerable increase in the amount of testing to be done at the Observatory. The withdrawal of all deck watches (previously known as hack watches) with separate seconds dial has reduced the stock of available deck watches by about 30 per cent, and 100 new centre-seconds watches have been ordered. An increase in the number of chronometer watches was also decided on and after a considerable amount of correspondence and study of samples a type was selected; it is expected that 200 will be delivered during the current financial year for testing and purchase. The amount of work involved in a "test for purchase" is greater than in the case of a watch tested after repair only, and the load on the Observatory will evidently increase further. It is also planned to replace all deck watches by a new pattern in which the seconds graduations are on a ring that can be rotated so as to set the seconds error to zero at any time. This principle is also being applied to wrist watches.

The position regarding the repair by the trade of the high grade instruments necessary for navigational use is still unsatisfactory. The public demand for high grade watches is now very small and this has led to the almost entire elimination of the highly skilled craftsmen, not only in adjusting but in other branches of the repairing trade. The present position is such that the illness of one key craftsman can seriously hamper all the firms undertaking Admiralty repairs.

As foreshadowed in the last report, the Observatory now has its own adjusting and repair shop with a small staff and, although it has been in action for a comparatively short time (since 1937 November 30), it has already proved to be of great assistance. The convenience of having skilled adjusters at the Observatory has greatly facilitated and accelerated the repair of the watches.

The equipment of the repair shop consists of a lathe, watch cleaning machine, demagnetiser, case polishing equipment, a small thermostatically controlled oven and a watch rate recorder. This last has a crystal-controlled constant-frequency drive against which the ticks of the watch are automatically recorded. The watch may be tested in all positions, and in a few seconds its rate can be read off with ample precision for all preliminary work. Any irregularity in its beat is also immediately apparent.

 

1939 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1938 May I to 1939 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. – Buildings and Grounds, Movable Property, and Library:–

... Portable two-tier shelves have been made, that can be added to the tables in the upper chronometer room when the number of watches being tested is exceptional. ...

The following painting work was done during the year:-

Exteriors: Sheepshanks Dome, Altazimuth Dome, Yapp building, steel work on Reversible Transit Circle Dome, Collimator houses, Magnetograph house and annex, 28-inch Dome, railings on north boundary, boxes containing fire apparatus, main gates. At Abinger, the magnet houses.

Interiors: 28-inch Dome, staircase and lower landing, upper and lower Chronometer Rooms, ceiling of Watch Repairing Room, new partition and part of wall on museum floor of main building. At Abinger, some decorating of the Caretaker’s quarters. ...

[V. –] Chronometers:–

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at the Observatory is 1,739. Of this total 180 chronometers, 522 chronometer watches, 337 deck watches and 77 pocket watches are being rated or held in reserve for issue on service. Eight chronometers are in regular use in the Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 205 chronometers, 123 chronometer watches, 242 deck watches and 45 pocket watches, are in storage.

In addition to Admiralty instruments, 66 chronometers and watches, the property of other Departments, are deposited at the Observatory for repair, testing or storage.

During the year ending 1939, April 30, a total of 4,170 chronometers and watches has been received and 3,662 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,674; viz., for the Admiralty 1,599, for the Royal Air Force 21, and for other governments as follows: Australia 1, Canada 2, India 46, New Zealand 3. An additional 100 deck watches had their dials numbered and were recased in the watch repair shop. A machine for printing numbers on dials has been added to the equipment of the shop, and a stock of spare parts for watches of foreign manufacture is being accumulated.

Two chronometers belonging to H.M. The King were received from the Royal Yacht for repair and subsequent testing.

The above figures show a great increase in the amount of chronometer and watch rating during the year. They are exceeded only by those of 1916-1919. .Moreover, the tests involved in trial before purchase in the case of new stock are more extensive than those incidental to repair of used instruments. Nine hundred new watches were added during the year, and the preparation of specifications and other formalities involved also imposed an extra load on the staff.

Steps are being taken to decentralise the stock of chronometers and watches now held at the Observatory. The rating of instruments held in other places will be continued, and information will be communicated to the Observatory for supervision.

The watch repair shop has continued to prove indispensable. The employment of two additional repairers has been authorised, but it has not been possible to obtain suitably qualified men for both vacancies and so far only one has been filled. The staff of the repair shop have given assistance in the selection of suitable movements for purchase.

 

1940, June 1

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1939 May I to 1940 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. BUILDINGS, GROUNDS, MOVABLE PROPERTY AND LIBRARY.

... The windows of the ground floor of the South-East Dome and of the Lower Chronometer Store have been bricked up. A concrete housing for the new time desk and terminal frame was erected on the site of the cold greenhouse; a new greenhouse has been erected adjoining this room. ...

The following painting was done during the year:

Internal redecoration of the South, East and West Wings, South Lobby, Workshop, Workmen's Lavatory and First Aid Room in the Main Building; the Altazimuth Dome and walls; the Upper Computing Room and the Lower Chronometer Store. In Flamsteed House, five bedrooms and bathroom. At Abinger, the house of the Assistant-in-Charge was redecorated internally and externally on change of occupancy, and the water tower was repainted.

V. CHRONOMETERS.

As mentioned in the previous report, arrangements were made for the decentralisation of the stock of instruments normally held at the Royal Observatory. With the co-operation and active assistance of the Director and Deputy Director of the Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol, some premises belonging to the Museum were made available, and were in use until September. It was then decided to move the entire chronometer and watch testing and repair work to premises in the same town. Suitable accommodation was selected on the 30th August, and as soon as approval had been obtained, the work required to make it ready for occupation was put in hand. The transfer of staff and instruments was carried out between September 7th and 12th. This entailed the removal of some 1,400 instruments together with all the records relating to them, office furniture, stationery and other requirements, the complete equipment of the watch repair shop, and the necessary materials required for the packing and despatch of instruments on service, Normal rating was recommenced by September 30th. In the meantime issues on service were made from reserve stocks, the winding and rating of which had been continued without interruption. The accommodation is arranged to provide offices, rating rooms, watch repair shops, insulated chambers for high temperature tests, packing and storage rooms, space for a refrigerator (now on order), A.R.P. shelter for staff, and living rooms for a caretaker.

During the past year the watch repair shop has continued to prove its value by the consistently good results obtained from the watches returned after repair.

In spite of the increased number of receipts and issues dealt with during the past year, the ledgering and other records of the chronometer and watches have been kept right up to date. Considerable simplification of the methods of keeping the records has been effected, and good progress has also been made towards completing the ledgering, which, at the time of the introduction of the card index system, was much in arrears.

CONFIDENTIAL
Addendum to Report:

Chronometers.

With the outbreak of war, the work of the chrono­meter section, which had been increasing for some years, became much heavier. The stocks of chronometers and watches, especially deck watches, ready for issue, were rapidly reduced, and further orders were placed with the manufacturers. The quality of the movements of the watches now being purchased is in most cases superior to those previously held in stock although the prices compare very favourably with purchases made during the 1914–18 period. This is largely due to the maintenance at the Observatory of exceptionally well quali­fied technical staff, combined with the policy of direct approach to the actual manufacturers.

During the past year, orders for 750 chronometer ­watches have been placed. Of these 250 have been received and have completed trial satisfactorily, whilst the delivery of the remainder is expected to commence immediately. In November and December orders were placed for the supply of 620 deck watches. Delivery of over 200 has been made, and the orders will be completed by the end of June. Contracts for the supply of a further 450 deck watches have been placed.

The number of pocket watches on the books has been augmented by the purchase during the past six months of 575 watches. Another order has recently been placed for the supply of 150 pocket watches.

After discussion with representatives of the Air Materials Department, Admiralty, a specification was prepared for watches to be used by aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm. This watch will be termed the Aircraft Watch, and will be specially adjusted for service in temperatures ranging from 15º to 85º Fahr. in the pendant up position. The watch will fill a gap between the chronometer watch and deck watch standards. An order for 300 watches has been placed and delivery is expected in June, The construction of a cold chamber in which these watches will be tested, has been commenced.

In response to a circular from the Hydrographer, 40 standard size two-day chronometers have been received from various nautical instrument makers and chart agents. These chronometers have been examined and priced, and offers of purchase have been sent to the firms whose chronometers were considered to be suit­able for Admiralty service.

A sufficient stock of spare parts has been purchased with each type of watch bought in order that repair and adjust­ment to watches of foreign manufacture can be carried out in the watch repair shop with efficiency and minimum delay. Stock cards have been prepared for this material, which contains over 300 different parts.

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty now at H,M. Chronometer Depot, Bristol is 1,816. Of this total 306 chronometers, 398 chronometer watches, 78 Waltham N.W’s, 130 deck watches and 483 pocket watches are being rated or held in reserve for issue on service. Seven chronometers and watches are in use at the Royal Observatory. The remainder consisting of 12 chronometers, 5 chronometer watches, 8 Waltham N.W’s, 318 deck watches and 29 pocket watches are in storage. The large number of deck watches in store consists chiefly of watches considered unfit for service or uneconomical to repair.

In addition to the above instruments 161 chronometer watches are rating and available for issue to the Air Ministry as required, and arrangements have been made for a further 80 to be available by the middle of August.

The number of watches under test prior to purchase is 156.

There are also 46 privately owned instruments and 8 instruments belonging to Colonial Governments deposited for repair, testing or storage.

During the year ending 1940 April 30th, a total of 4,752 chronometers and watches has been received and 5,622 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,511, viz., for the Admiralty 1,484, for the Royal Air Force 19, and for other governments as follows: Australia 2, India 5, New Zealand 1.

On the order of the Ministry of Supply 121 chronometer watches were transferred for the use of the War Office in March.  A request for the supply of another 50 has recently been received.

The number of instruments dealt with during the year shows a further increase and the volume of work is comparable with the busiest period of the last war. The preparation of orders and the testing of the new watches prior to purchase con­tinues to account for a large part of the work.

 

1941 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1940 May I to 1941 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

IV. Chronometers:–

In the report for last year it was mentioned that the entire chronometer and watch testing and repair work had been moved from Greenwich to premises in Bristol at the beginning of the war. The heavy raids on Bristol made it desirable to move this work to a safer area. Premises were therefore obtained elsewhere in January and after the necessary alterations to adapt them to the requirements of this work had been made, the watch repair staff with their equipment were transferred from Bristol on February 24. The majority of the watches and chronometers were transferred the following day. The rating and issuing of chronometers and watches were continued at Bristol until March 3 on which date the office staff and equipment together with the remaining instruments, were moved. There was no interruption to the normal work of issuing and receiving chronometers and watches during the period of transfer. Immediately after the completion of the transfer an audit of instruments was carried out and all wore accounted for. As an additional safeguard reserve stocks of chronometers and watches have boon widely dispersed.

During June, 1940 the refrigerator for testing watches at low temperatures purchase of which was mentioned in the last report, was delivered at Bristol where it has given satisfactory service at temperatures down to 10°F. It has since been moved and re-erected at the new premises.

The Gibbs Watch-rate recorder, used in the repair shop developed trouble and it was found that a new quartz crystal was required. The necessary repairs have been efficiently carried out by the Furzehill Laboratories. This instrument is of considerable assistance in making preliminary adjustments for rate to watches after assembly, and also for the detection of faulty escapements or trains.

A 3½-inch Lorch lathe has been generously presented by Mr. R.W.Nicol for use in the watch repair shop. This will be of great use in work of' a heavier nature than the present Lorch lathe can accommodate.

The high standard of results obtained from watches repaired and adjusted in the repair shop has been maintained, Many centre-seconds chronometer watches, previously unsuitable for use on account of minute hand discrepancies, received special examination, and repairs or replacements have been made with highly successful results. The experience thus gained has proved very useful in dealing with this type of watch generally. Other specialised work, which necessitated the expenditure of much time, included experiments in connection with the behaviour of watches at low temperatures, when treated with different oils.

CONFIDENTIAL
Addendum to Report

Buildings. Damage to the buildings at Greenwich was caused by direct hits from H.E. bombs on the nights of 1940 October 15–16 and October 21–22. Superficial damage in a varying degree was caused by blast from H.E. bombs falling near the Observatory on the nights of 1940 October 19–20, December 8–9, 1941 March 19–20 and by the explosion of a delayed action bomb on March 28. Minor damage has been caused by blast on several other occasions. Incendiary bombs fell within the Observatory grounds on the nights of 1940 December 27–28, 1941 March 19–20, April 19–20 and May 10–11. These were on each occasion dealt with by the A.R.P. squad on duty at the Observatory: the only damage caused by them has been to the fencing of the Christie Enclosure.

When it became necessary to terminate night observations at Greenwich and to operate the time service from the Magnetic Observatory at Abinger (Station A of the Report), the house “Cornerways”, Abinger Hammer, was taken for the Office staff and for the staffs of the Time and other Departments, which were moved from Greenwich.

The premises of 124, Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol, taken as Chronometer Depot at the beginning of the war, have been given up. New premises have been taken at “Lynchetts”, Woolley Street, Bradford-on-Avon.

Chronometer Section.

The number of chronometers and watches belonging to the Admiralty on charge to H,M. Chronometer Depot, Bradford-on-Avon is 5645. Of this total 237 chronometers, 357 chronometer watches, 38 Waltham N.W’s, 67 Aircraft Watches, 1,837 deck watches and 2,3283 pocket watches are being rated or held in reserve for issue on service. Four chronometers are in use at the Royal Observatory. The remainder consisting of 24 chronometers, 354 chronometer watches, 11 Waltham N.W’s, 345 deck watches and 51 pocket watches are in storage.

Some measure of dispersal of stocks has been arranged and of the above instruments 115 chronometers and 50 chronometer watches are stored in Exeter, 96 chronometer watches, 59 deck watches and 304 pocket watches in Bath, 426 deck watches and 1,000 pocket watches at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and 50 Chronometer watches at the University of Oxford.

In addition to the above instruments 9 chronometer watches are held for the Air Ministry. Royal Air Force demands are also being met from Admiralty stocks of centre seconds deck watches. There are also 60 privately owned instruments and 16 instruments belonging to Colonial Governments deposited for repair, testing or storage.

The number of instruments dealt with during the year shows an increase on the previous year, accounted for by the receipt of deck watches and pocket watches ordered in large quantities in June 1940. A total of 8,839 chronometers and watches has been received and 4,666 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,074, viz., for the Admiralty 1,065, for the Royal Air Force 3, and for other governments as follows: Australia 2, Canada 4.

On the order of the Ministry of Supply 104 chronometer watches were transferred for the use of the War Office in May and July.  It is understood that further demands are likely to be made shortly.

With the collapse of France it seems unlikely that orders at the time outstanding in Switzerland could be completed and delivery obtained. It is satisfactory to report that of 3,554 watches all but 216 have been delivered and advice of despatch has been received in respect of about 100 of these. Further orders for 270 chronometer watches, 300 aircraft watches and 350 deck watches have been placed. Orders for chronometers have been placed with Messrs. T. Mercer of St. Albans. A number of second hand chronometers have been purchased after inspection at H.M. Chronometer Depot, whilst other have either been presented by their owners or loaned to the Admiralty for the duration of hostilities.

 

1942 June 6

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1941 May 1 to 1942 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

IV. Chronometers:–

Throughout the year the work of the Chronometer Depot was carried on without interruption in the premises to which it was transferred in March 1941.

For security purpose, fire resisting doors have been fitted on the first and second floor landings. A brick and concrete store, with thermostatically controlled heating, has been erected in the garden at some distance from the main building. A large portion of the stock of chronometers and watches held at the Depot, together with some of the spare parts required for use in the watch repair shop, are kept in this store.

A further workshop, to accommodate three additional watch repairers, has been prepared in order to deal with the increase in number of watches requiring overhaul.

The 3½-inch Lorch lathe, mentioned in the previous report has been mounted in the upper repair shop and has proved useful for many types of work.

After a period of satisfactory operation, the Gibbs watch-rate recorder developed trouble. Examination showed that this was mainly due to changes in the values of the resistors in the multivibrator circuits. A number of the valves were also below standard. After a further period of satisfactory operation, trouble developed in the phonic motor and the coils of this motor are being rewound.

The watch repair shop has continued to prove of great value in maintaining an adequate supply of watches of all types, thus ensuring that all demands for navigational watches are met. These demands are becoming more varied and from time to time necessitate alterations to standard designs in order to meet new conditions of service. With the assistance of the watch repair shop, advice is given on the practicality of adapting watches for additional services and the production of samples is arranged when necessary.

The experiments carried out by Chapman and Lewis in 1912 to determine the effect of magnetic fields on the rates of chronometers and watches have been extended by tests at the time service station A. The chronometers and watches have been tested in the uniform field at the centre of a large pair of Helmholtz coils, in field strengths up to 8.5 gauss. Tests have been made with vertical fields and with horizontal fields, in various orientations and investigations of the effects of shielding have been tested. The tests, which have extended over several months, are nearing completion.

CONFIDENTIAL
ADDENDUM TO REPORT …

Chronometer Section.

The number of chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory is 3,562 and they are disposed at Bradford-on-Avon, Taunton, Ironbridge, Oxford and Edinburgh. Of this total 240 chronometers, 345 chronometer watches, 433 beacon watches, 1331 deck watches and 2015 [?] pocket watches are rating or available for issued.  Four chronometers are in use at the Royal Observatory. The remainder consisting of 24 chronometers, 392 chronometer watches, 240 beacon watches, 433 deck watches and 109 pocket watches are in storage or awaiting adjustment.

In addition to the Admiralty instruments, there are 118 chronometers and watches deposited for various reasons.

During the year ended 1942 April 30, a total of 5,135 chronometers and watches was received and 5,186 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,724, including a small number belonging to Dominion, Commonwealth and Allied Governments and 6 for the Air Ministry. The numbers issued and sent for repair shows a considerable increase over the numbers for the previous year. Vessels recommissioning or going into commission for the first time are normally supplied with chronometers or watches direct from H.M. Chronometer Depot, Bradford-on-Avon and the majority of replacements for defective instruments are dealt with from the same source.

The loan to the Admiralty of six chronometers belonging to the Scottish Office and the University of Edinburgh was arranged by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland in whose keeping they had been for some time.

New watches, of which over 4,000 are on order, continue to arrive fairly regularly form Switzerland and America. The chronometer watches are received in pocket or timing cases and the supply of brass cases and mahogany boxes is arranged after their arrival at Bradford-on-Avon, An order for the supply of 100 marine chronometers was placed in this country.

Restrictions on the export from Switzerland of watches having other than simple movements resulted in a shortage of stop watches for use with Homing Beacon apparatus in Naval aircraft. It was therefore arranged as supply watches for this purpose from stock of deck watches. Tests were made and the Zenith centre-seconds watch was found to perform satisfactorily over the range of temperature required, namely 15º to 85 º Fahr. With the aid of the watch repair staff preliminary designs and samples were produced. After discussion a suitable form of case, having a rotating bezel engraved in Arc, and a bakelite dashboard mounting were evolved and the work of modification was put in the hands of the Zenith Watch Co. Ltd. The number of beacon watches as they will be known, required during the next eighteen months will be at least 5,000; the testing of these include rating in low temperature and on vibrating table.

 At the request of the director of Stores, Portsmouth, arrangements were made for the testing of seven contact chronometers purchased by that Department. Tests were carried out at Bradford on Avon and the chronometers were subsequently returned to Portsmouth.

On the closing of the Portsmouth Chronometer Depot in June 1941 the Standard clock was dismounted and packed for dispatch to Bradford-on-Avon, where it is now in store. In September it was necessary to visit Rosyth for the purpose of transferring the Standard clock to new premises in Dunfermline, where it was re-erected and adjusted. The movement of the Dent clock at Plymouth Depot was removed to Bradford-on-Avon on 24th September for cleaning and was returned the Depot few days late. In January, the Graham Clock at Liverpool Depot became very unsteady, probably as a result of air raids; the movement was brought to Bradford for attention, the clock case being rendered dust proof in the meantime. Since being dismounted, the going of each of the clocks has been satisfactory.

During the Year 689 instruments, 324 of them chronometer watches were dealt with in the watch repair shop. In addition 130 chronometer watches were fitted into brass cases made in the shop. To meet initial demands for beacon watches it was necessary to augment the number being received from the Zenith Watch Co. and a number work accordingly recased in repair shop.

At the present time the addition to undertaking the repair of all chronometer watches receive back from service defective, some three hundred Nardin chronometer watches, purchased from Switzerland in an unadjusted condition, are being adjusted to required standard with very good results. The adoption of this procedure allows watches to leave the Swiss factories from two to three months earlier and with the present uncertainty of frontier control me at any time prove to have been worthwhile.

In December and additional watch adjuster and repairer was engaged to assist in the watch repair shop. The growing requirements of the Fleet Air Arm, together with other expected increases in demands of various kinds, make it necessary to plan for further expansion to enable suppliers of all types of watches to be always available.

The meetings of the Watch sub-committee of the Inter-Services Technical Committee, held during the year were attended by the Assistant in charge of the Chronometer Depot. The subcommittee has dealt successfully with the standardization of types of watches used in the three services and has also considered the question of supplies both from overseas and home sources. Arising from its representation on the above committee the Depot has been approached by other Admiralty purchasing Departments for technical advice and assistance on matters dealing with watches.

 

1943 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1942 May 1 to 1943 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I. BUILDINGS, GROUNDS, MOVABLE PROPERTY AND LIBRARY.

... A demagnetising coil with rheostat for demagnetising watches has been designed and constructed in the Observatory workshop; it has been installed at the Chronometer Depot, where it has proved very effective in use. ...

V. CHRONOMETERS.

Throughout the year the work of the Chronometer Depot was carried on without interruption in the premises to which it was transferred in March 1941. The staff has been increased by the engagement of two temporary Clerks III, an additional messenger, and a watch repairer.

Arising from the decision to have all chronometers and watches engraved with a pattern number, a Taylor, Taylor and Hobson Engraving Machine Model "C" was obtained for use at H.M. Chronometer Depot. Pending the engagement of a suitable operator the machine is not yet in regular use.

It was found that many watches were received back from service highly magnetised and that the demagnetising coil in use did not always completely clear them. A demagnetising coil with rheostat control, capable of reducing the field strength to zero, was designed and constructed in the Observatory workshop. The coil has proved very effective and satisfactory in use in the watch repair shop.

An assembly potence has been loaned to the watch repair shop by Messrs. S.Smith and Sons Ltd., Cheltenham for use as a jewelling potence.

The experiments to determine the effect of magnetic fields on the rates of chronometers and watches, mentioned in last year's report, have been completed. The results have been fully discussed and have been circulated to the Departments interested in this matter.

The watch repair shop has continued to prove of great value in maintaining an adequate supply of watches of all classes. The high standard of rating has been maintained with an extremely small percentage of rejections. New types of movements have been examined and reported on with a view to their adoption for Admiralty service.

 

1944 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1943 May 1 to 1944 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

IV. CHRONOMETERS.

The rating and supply of chronometers 'and watches for use in H.M. Ships has been continued. During the past year, similar rating and supply of wrist watches and stop watches for the use of pilots and observers in aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm has been undertaken. The repair and adjusting of watches in the watch repair shop has continued on an increased scale, and the repair and adjusting of chronometers has been undertaken. The all-round increase in the volume of work has necessitated an increase in staff. One clerical officer, one engraving machine operator, two watch repairers and a chronometer repairer have been added to the staff,

Approval has been obtained for additional staff for the watch repair staff, but lack of accommodation in the present premises at the chronometer Depot has prevented their engagement. Approval has been obtained for the erection of a prefabricated building to accommodate the watch repairers and ancillary staff, thus releasing rooms required for the increase in volume of the rating and testing. Two women are being engaged to deal with the increase in work occasioned by the engraving, rating and issue of wrist watches and stop watches.

The expansion of the workshop and of the types of work dealt with has led to a corresponding increase in the ancillary jobs, such as engraving., case polishing, silvering and boxing. The policy of equipping the workshop to undertake this work will result in increased efficiency and output.

The Taylor, Taylor and Hobson engraving machine mentioned in the he last report, was brought into regular use in June 1943; since that date all chronometers and watches issued for navigational service have been engraved with the H. S. pattern number.

A Western Electric watch rate recorder was obtained for the watch repair shop in February, 1944. Its use has resulted in an appreciable saving of time in the preliminary rating of watches after repair.

The standard clock from the Portsmouth Chronometer Depot has been cleaned and overhauled in the repair shop. A light and accurately balanced wheel mounted on a jewelled platform for use in  the Ritchie contact system fitted to a Dent regulator, employed for transmitting the Greenwich time signals, has also been made.

The work of the Depot, both in testing and maintenance, becomes more varied each year.

 

1945, June 2

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1944 May 1 to 1945 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I. BUILDINGS, GROUNDS, MOVABLE PROPERTY AND LIBRARY.

...The erection at the Chronometer Depot, Bradford-on-Avon of a prefabricated building to house the watch repair shop was, after some delay, completed at the end of December and the transfer of the work from the main building was completed by mid-January.  The building has 54 feet of benches with good north lighting, bench space for lathes, cleaning machines and watch rate-recorders whilst benches along the south side of the building provide accommodation for rating and jobs additional to the normal repair work. ...

IV. CHRONOMETERS.

The rating and supply of chronometers end watches to H.M. Ships and Naval Aircraft has continued to increase throughout the year. The work has been dealt with promptly and all records have been kept up to date.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory is 12,469 and they are disposed at Bradford-on- Avon, Taunton, Whitehall and Edinburgh. Of this total 361 chronometers (Patt. H.S.1), 410 chronometer watches (Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6), 1,110 deck watches (Patt. H.S.3) , 666 beacon watches (Patt. H.S.4), 591 pocket watches (Patt. H.S.5), 252 stop watches (Patt. H.S.7) and 2,1 88 wrist watches (Patt. H.S.8) are rating or reserved ready for issue. Three chronometers are in use at the Royal Observatory. The remainder, consisting of 118 Patt. H.S.1, 1,358 Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6, 3,828 Patt. H.S.3, 447 Patt. H.S.4, 377 Patt. H.S.5, 231 Patt. H.S.7 and 534 Patt. H.S.8 are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair.

The stock of watches 6B/60 held on behalf of the Air Ministry totals 223, of which 102 are rating and 121 are in reserve.

In addition to the above there ere 189 chronometers and watches, deposited for various reasons.

During the year ended 1945 April 30 a total or 23,378 chronometer and watches was received and 21,023 issued. The number sent for repair was 3,291 including 161 for the Air Ministry. The transactions recorded show an increase of 60 per cent over the previous year, due to the handling of wrist watches and stop watches for use in Naval Aircraft, and involving their despatch and subsequent return, to the Depot have not been included in the above totals. The issues and receipts during the year have been about three times greater than in the peak period during the last war.

Routine transfers of chronometers and watches to ships of Allied Navies fitting out in this country continued throughout the year. Instruments supplied to Commonwealth Governments and other Departments were:-

Australian Government                           76 chronometers
Air Ministry                                           1,000 deck and pocket watches 300 wrist watches
Ministry of War Transport                       63 chronometers, 17 watches
Canadian National Steamships               65 chronometers
French Service Hydrographique              10 chronometers, 50 watches

The watch repair shop during the year has been responsible for the repair and adjustment of 2,537 instruments, including 135 chronometers and 4448 chronometer watches. Additional watch repairers are needed to meet the increased calls on the watch repair shop, but great difficulty is being experienced in obtaining suitably qualified repairers. One watch repairer was released on account of ill-health and another proved unsuited to the high-grade work and was subsequently released.

Some 20,000 chronometers and watches have been engraved with pattern numbers and serial numbers, as necessary. The rating of wrist watches and stop watches, which is less exacting than that of the usual Hydrographic, chronometers and watches, has been undertaken by women under supervision of the technical staff. Seven thousand wrist chronograph watches (Patt. H.S.9) are now being prepared for service, the work entailed consisting of the removal of dials for luminising, re-assembly, engraving, fitting of stainless steel bracelets and subsequent rating.

As the result of the appeal for chronometers, mentioned in the last Report, an additional 34 chronometers were received at Bradford-on-Avon for examination with a view to acceptance by the Admiralty for purchase or on loan. At the end of 1944, the demand for chronometers having eased, it was found possible to commence the return of loaned instruments to the owners. Up to date 32 such instruments have been   returned to their owners in good going order.

The stock of watchmaker's tools and equipment purchased and held in reserve at another Establishment against a possible emergency has been recovered and brought into use in the workshop.

A second watch rate-recorder was obtained from the Western Electric Company and brought into use in January 1945. Another watch cleaning machine was purchased to replace the machine obtained in 1938, which is practically worn out.

 In June 1944 a minor adjustments were made to the standard clock at Portsmouth Chronometer Depot. The clock at Plymouth Depot was cleaned in August and in January 1945 the Graham regulator in use at Liverpool Depot was brought to Bradford-on-Avon for overhaul and subsequently re-installed at Liverpool.

A time recording unit was constructed in the watch repair shop for incorporation in the occultation machine at the Nautical Almanac Office. This unit, which replaces the linear scale previously used, was made up from a condemned chronometer movement, particular attention being given to the avoidance of backlash and sloppiness in the gearing. Provisional results shew that increased accuracy and ease of observation have been attained.

 

1946, June 1

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1945 May 1 to 1946 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

IV. CHRONOMETERS.

The rating and supply of chronometers and watches to H.M. Ships continues in requisitioned premises at Bradford-on-Avon.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory is 23,104 all of which are now held at Bradford-on-Avon. Of this total 253 chronometers (Patt. H.S.1), 359 chronometer watches (Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6), 906 deck watches (Patt. H.S.3), 157 dashboard watches (Patt H.S.4), 130 pocket watches (Patt. H.S.5), 306 wrist watches (Patt. H.S.8) and 2,001 wrist chronographs (Patt. H.S.9) are rating or ready for issue but reserved. The remainder, consisting of 166 Patt. H.S.1, 3,191 Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6, 6,341 Patt. H.S.3, 1,287 Patt. H.S.4, 1,215 Patt. H.S.5, 1,619 Patt. H.S.7, 4,091 Patt. H.S.8, 693

Patt. H.S.9 and 389 other assorted types are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Three chronometers are in use at the Royal Observatory.

The stock of watches 6B/60 held on behalf of the Air Ministry totals 251 of which 105 are rating, 30 are in reserve and 116 await repair.

In addition there are 269 chronometers and watches deposited for various reasons.

During the year ended 1946 April 30 a total of 24,780 chronometers and watches was received and 13,983 issued. The number sent for repair was 2,783, including 59 for the Air Ministry. The cessation of hostilities and the subsequent pay-off of ships was responsible for the increased number of instruments received whilst reducing the number issued on service, although the latter is still more than five times greater than pre-war.

The routine work of the Office is maintained without arrears.  The computation and logging of the rates of chronometers and watches under test and the notation of the individual instrument cards, showing all transactions, including transfers between H.M. Ships and Admiralty Chronometer Depots at home and abroad, are completed up to 30th April 1946.

Throughout the year ships of Allied and Commonwealth Governments were supplied with chronometers and watches fro-m Hydrographic sources. Ten 8-day chronometers were supplied for the use of

Australian merchant ships

Progress was made in the recovery and disposal of chronometers loaned to the Admiralty during the war.      In the past year 47 of these were returned to the owners who, in several instances, have expressed appreciation of the good condition of the instruments when returned.

On April 2 the Standard clock at the Dunfermline Chart & Chronometer Depot was taken down and removed to Bradford-on-Avon for storage.

The number of chronometers and watches overhauled and adjusted in the Observatory watch-repair shop during 1945/6 was 1,953 including 21 chronometers and 335 chronometer watches. The refitting of luminised dials and hands, and adjustment of the chronograph action in 6,695 wrist chronographs was carried through in addition to the above repairs.

The engraving, strapping and rating of the bulk of the wrist chronographs is almost completed; one woman is now retained in the repair shop to deal with the residue of this work. She is being trained to do the re-lacquering of brass cases and re-polishing of wood boxes so that with the re-silvering of dials already being carried out by the repair staff the shop will become independent of outside sources and delays.

In the course of the redistribution of the Time Service four free pendulum movements, Nos. 11, 16, 49 and 41 and the movements of five Regulators, in use at the Observatory, were thoroughly of overhauled in the watch repair shop.

The reconditioning of the Harrison Time Machine No. 4 and its duplicate made by Larcum Kendall mentioned in Part 1 of last -year's report was satisfactorily carried out by Mr. Evans. Some time was spent on the adjustment of these complicated pieces and their condition and performance is considered to be as good now as ever. There is little to choose between the two machines, for while Harrison No.4 has a smaller temperature error and more consistent the Kendall is more free from positional errors. A full record was made of the process of dismantling, re-assembly and adjustment so that future process overhauls should be facilitated. In order to preserve their appearance and to reduce the need for buffing and re-polishing, both pairs of silver cases were rhodium plated.

Some modifications have been made in the watch repair shop to the occultation machine of the Nautical Almanac Office. The arrangement for measuring the position angle was replaced by a unit consisting of two brass wheels of 360 teeth with intervening pinions and arbor, one wheel being engraved in arc and silvered. The unit, which was assembled and mounted in the repair shop, is operated by a milled knob which rotates the lens cell and indicator at a suitably slow speed.

Mr. H. Lauener, who left the Rolex Watch Company in January 1942, to assist in the watch repair shop, was released in August 1945 so that he could return to the Company to take charge of their repair section.

Mr. H. Warden was absent in Germany from 24th September to 23rd October 1945, having been seconded for duty in a technical capacity with the Hydrographic representative sent to that country to investigate the processes of manufacture and supply of chronometers and watches.

During the year Flight-Lieut. Harris, Empire Air Navigation School; Messrs. F.A. Gould, P.H. Biggs and F.H. Burch, Metrology Department, N.P.L.; and Dr. N.W. Doorn, Ryles Zee Instrumentatum, Leiden, visited Bradford-on-Avon to see the work in progress and discuss the methods and standards of rating.

 

1947 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1946 May 1 to 1947 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

IV. CHRONOMETERS.

The rating and supply of chronometers and watches to H.M. Ships continues in requisitioned premises at Bradford-on-Avon.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory is 20,920 all of which are held at Bradford-on-Avon. Of this total 376 chronometers (Patt. H.S.1) , 352 chronometer watches (Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6) 430 deck watches (Patt. H.S.3), 162 dashboard watches (Patt. H.S.4), 109 pocket watches (Patt. H.S.5), 81 stop watches (Patt. H.S.7), 104 wrist watches (Patt. H.S.8), and 422 wrist chronographs (Patt. H.S.9) are rating or ready for issue but reserved. The remainder, consisting of 251 Patt. H.S.1, 3,673 Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6, 7,580 Patt. H. S. 3, 1,465 Patt. H.S.4, 1,451 Patt. H.S.5, 475 Patt. H.S.7, 1562 Patt. H.S.8, 2,050 Patt. H.S.9 and 377 other assorted types are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Nine chronometers and watches are in use at the Royal Observatory.

The stock of watches 6B/60 held on behalf of the Air Ministry totals 250, of which 73 are rating, 22 are in reserve and 155 await repair.

In addition there are 345 chronometers and watches deposited for various reasons.

During the year ended 1947 April 30 a total of 9,454 chronometers and watches was received and 11,461 issued. The number sent for repair was 2, 138 including 3 for the Air Ministry. The year under review saw a considerable falling off in the number of transactions which, in the latter months, were approaching the pre-1939 level. The routine computing and notation work of the Office is completely up to date.

With one exception the recovery and return to owners of chronometers loaned to the Admiralty for the duration of the war, was completed during the year.

The supply of chronometers and watches for use on ships transferred to Common- wealth and Foreign Governments was continued. In addition, although no surplus has been declared at present, assistance was given by the sale of chronometers from Admiralty stocks towards meeting the demands from the Mercantile Marine which could not be met from normal trade sources. A total of 34 chronometers and watches was supplied from Bradford-on-Avon for this purpose.

A total of 1,605 stop watches Patt. H.S.7 and 4,055 wrist watches Patt. H.S.8 was declared surplus to requirements and transferred to the Ministry of Supply Disposal Department to be sold.

The standard clock at the Liverpool Chart &. Chronometer Depot was removed to Bradford-on-Avon in July 1946 and after overhaul was re-installed in its original position at the Chart & Chronometer Depot, Sheerness on 12th December 1946.

The number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted in the Observatory watch repair shop during 1946/7 was 1,973 which included 32 chronometers and 227 Chronometer watches. With the termination of the chronometer making firm of Messrs. V. Kullberg, consequent upon the death of Mr. S. Lundqvist, the repair shop will be required to undertake more chronometer repairs. The shop is now equipped and competent to complete all work ancillary to the general overhaul of chronometers and watches which may be necessary to maintain the standard of these instruments efficiently.

The three larger Harrison timepieces, formerly displayed at the National Maritime Museum, were brought from the Museum to Bradford-on-Avon in July 1946.  They had been stored at Cambridge throughout the war years and the steel work of Nos.l and 2 had become badly rusted in parts. The overhaul of No.2 was entrusted to Mr. Evans in the watch repair shop, the work being completed satisfactorily and the machine returned to the Museum for exhibition in going order on 17th October 1946.  The restoration of No.1 has now been put in hand and is expected to take longer as a number of parts will certainly need remaking. The machine No.3, dismantled by Lt. Commander Gould in 1939, is still unassembled. In connection with the maintenance of these historical horological pieces, Lt. Commander Gould has generously presented to the Observatory fourteen manuscripts and notebooks compiled whilst he was engaged on the restoration and maintenance of the machines between 1921 and 1939.

 

1948 June 5

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1947 may 1 to 1948 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I. GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS.

... The chronometer workshop in one of the huts [at Herstmonceux] is well advanced, and the Astronomer Royal's residence in the Castle is approaching completion.

As an interim measure for Stage I, some rooms on the upper floor [of the castle] are being converted into temporary chronometer rating rooms. ...

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The rating and supply of chronometers and watches to H.M. Ships continues to be carried on in requisitioned premises at Bradford-on-Avon.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory is 20,743. Of this total 372 chronometers (Patt. H.S.1), 325 chronometer watches (Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6), 297 deck watches (Patt. H.S.3), 20 dashboard watches (Patt. H.S.4.), 93 pocket watches (Patt. H.S.5), 72 stop watches (Patt. H.S.7), 90 wrist Watches (Patt. H.3.8) and 75 wrist chronographs (Patt. H.S.9) are rating or ready for issue but reserved. The remainder, consisting of 470 Patt. H.S.1, 3,501 Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6, 7,091 Patt, H.S.3, 1,576 Patt. H.S.4, 1,527 Patt. H.S.5, 595 Patt. H.S.7,  1,962 Patt. H.S.8, 2,230 Patt. H.S.9 and 423 other assorted types are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Chronometers and watches in use at the Royal Observatory number fifteen. The stock of watches 6B/60 held on behalf of the Air Ministry totals 285, of which 73 are rating and 212 await repair. In addition there are 243 chronometers and watches deposited for various reasons.

During the year a total of 5,769 chronometers and watches was received and 6,012 issued. This represents a fall in the number of instruments handled; the receipts and issues were, however, steady throughout the year, which suggests that a normal level of work has now been reached. The routine computing and notation work of the Depot is completely up to date.

The above issues include the following special items:-

(a) Twenty-six chronometers of navigational standard were supplied to the Trade for sale to British ships whose needs could not be met from the usual sources of supply. (b) Seventeen chronometers and seven watches belonging to the French Hydrographic Service, and two watches, the property of the Greek Government, were returned to the owners during the year. c) At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries 196 Deck Watches were transferred to that Department for sale to fishermen for navigational use. (d) Admiralty approval was obtained for the disposal of chronometers and watches of obsolete types whose further maintenance was considered uneconomical, and 25 chronometers, 233 chronometer watches and 734 deck watches were sold accordingly. Tenders have been invited recently in respect of a further 81 chronometers and 116 chronometer watches.

The total number of repairs and adjustments was 1,632,t including 25 for the Air Ministry. Of this total, 27 chronometers, 27 chronometer watches, and 1,165 other instruments were dealt with in the Repair Shop; the remaining 413 had to be sent to out-workers. This represents a substantial increase in the number sent out; it was necessitated by the losses in staff which occurred during the year. The work of the remaining repairers has now been mainly directed to the navigational wrist chronographs required in large numbers for the Naval Air Arm.

To achieve the aim for which the Observatory watch repair shop was established, effort will be necessary to increase the staff of the shop as soon as the removal to Herstmonceux is satisfactorily completed. In this connection a comprehensive staff scheme comprising apprentice, improver and Journeyman watchmakers., capable of dealing with all types of chronometers and watches, was submitted to the Admiralty in the latter part of 1947, but full approval for its adoption has not yet been given.

The restoration of Harrison's No.1 timepiece, mentioned in the last report, has been held in abeyance through pressure of other work in the watch repair shop and is likely to be restarted for same months. The machine No.3 also remains unassembled. During the redecoration of the Navigation Room oz the National; Maritime Museum the Harrison No.4 and Larcum Kendal timepieces were removed to Bradford-on-Avon where examined and re-oiled as necessary.

The Shelton clock in use at the Magnetic Station was thoroughly overhauled at Bradford-on-Avon and subsequently re-installed at Abinger. The clockwork drives for the slow and quick run magnetographs, which have proved troublesome in operation, are at present being reconstructed in the watch repair shop.

In June 1947, the Air Ministry intimated a wish to adopt, for aircraft navigational instruments, including clocks and watches, a system of maintenance, testing and supply similar to that which has proved efficient in the case of Hydrographic chronometers and watches. At the same time the Ministry asked whether the Admiralty could undertake this service, for the Air Ministry navigational watches, as an alternative to the duplication by the Ministry of the organisation already in existence at the Observatory.

In connection with this request, details of the amount of work involved and its cost to the Observatory Vote were prepared and submitted to the Hydrographer. A decision is awaited on this proposal, which will eventually entail the handling of an additional 10,000 watches per annum.

XI GENERAL

It has already been mentioned that "Stage I" of the Herstmonceux move is planned to take place in August. This is intended to include the Nautical Almanac Office, the Chronometer Depot, the Magnetic and Meteorological Department and the Secretariat; the Astronomer Royal will probably transfer his residence somewhat earlier, and the Solar Department will wait until the Solar Building (but not the cellar is ready. At present no date for any further stage of the move can even be guessed at, and indeed the completion of Stage I cannot in fact at present be guaranteed.

The removal of the Royal Observatory from Greenwich to Herstmonceux would even under normal conditions have entailed considerable disorganization to the work of the Observatory. The difficulties of the present times, by delaying the completion of the move, will greatly increase this disorganization. It is hoped that some further funds will be forthcoming to allow Stage I to be completed; but there is no provision in the estimates for the current financial year for further stage of the work to be commenced. It would be wasteful to disband the present force of workmen with so much still to be done; but even more regrettable is, the effect on the output of the Observatory of each month of delay in completing the move. The 26-inch and 28-inch refractors and the Melbourne transit circle, are out of action; the completion of the Photographic Zenith Tube may be expected before long. Buildings to house these instruments are required. At Greenwich the Yapp reflector as already explained, is handicapped in that, it cannot profitably be re-aluminised as long as it remains there, while latitude variation observations are in abeyance because the resumption of observations with the Cookson telescope for a short period is not advisable. The Photographic Zenith Tube, when installed at Herstmonceux, will provide both time and latitude variation.

The actual output of the Observatory is thus much reduced at present; and, apart from this, the situation which will hold from the end of Stage I until comple­tion the move will be gravely disadvantageous in other ways. The Observatory will be divided between Greenwich, Abinger and Herstmonceux, so that only one of the three branches .will have ready access to the Library, and the facilities of the Workshop will also be available only in: a very limited and unsatisfactory degree; this will be true; no matter when the Library and Workshop themselves actually move. Most serious of all, though least obvious in its effects, is the fact that both Herstmonceux and (still more) Abinger will have a marked excess of observers over instruments; already many valuable years of what should have been training have been lost, older observers are retiring, and new staff who have never made an observation are increasing. Even if the dismemberment of the Observatory could be terminated tomorrow, there would be, a large amount of ground to make up, and the effect on the standards of observational skill will plainly become more serious the longer the unification is delayed. It is therefore much to be hoped that the authorities concerned will realise the very pressing need to accelerate the present slow progress; in the long run it would result in a financial saving.

From the point of view of its preservation as an Ancient, Monument, the Castle will also require some fairly substantial expenditure before very long. An extensive stretch of the old garden wall blew down in one of the winter gales; no funds are at present available for its repair and it appears possible that a further fall is imminent. The bridge over the north moat is also in a state of disrepair, caused by the ravages of the ivy, with which it was overgrown.

Although the hostel arrangements will cater reasonably well for unmarried staff, no quarters are yet available for married men. Admiralty action has recently been taken to obtain a small allocation of "traditional" houses from the Ministry at Health, and it is believed that Hailsham Rural District Council is prepared to erect these when they are in fact authorized. Their number is only sufficient for Stage I. But apart from these few, married members of the staff, some of whom have had as much as six years war service, will be faced with a separation-period which h likely to last for a year at least. The continuance of a similar situation through all later stages of the move would cause grave dissatisfaction and discouragement, and would be bound to have an adverse effect, on the smooth running of the Observatory. It is evident that further official action on a somewhat increased scale will be essential if the later stages are not to fare even worse than the first, and if they are to fare better in any way a different approach to the subject is called for. Astronomer Royal has included in his proposals to Admiralty a requirement for houses for, senior Observing staff; these could be built on the edge of the Observatory property, and would have the advantage, from the official point of view, that members of the staff could be required to vacate them when they retired; this is not of course, the case with housing provided by Local Authorities. The nature of night observing duties requires observing staff to be resident within easy access of the Observatory; otherwise loss of observations is inevitable at times when the sky clears suddenly. It is fairly normal for an Observatory to be provided with houses for observing staff and it is really essential when, as at Herstmonceux, the Observatory is in an isolated area. The need did not exist at Greenwich, from the nature of the situation in a closely built-up area. The Local Authority is not in any case prepared to supply houses (within any foreseeable period) for personnel not already on the Observatory staff; the Observatory at present lacks a Chief Assistant, a Superintendent of the Magnetic and Meteorological Department, a senior Assistant in the Nautical Almanac Office, a Librarian and several Watch Repairers. A number of additional vacancies for senior scientists will occur when the new complement becomes effective, and a proportion of those who would be suitable for such positions will certainly be married men; there is a serious likelihood that they will refuse to consider any offer under present conditions, since it would mean a separation from their families of altogether indefinite extent. There is evidently a grave risk that the increase incomp1ement, which has been approved in principle, may be nullified in practice through an unrealistic approach to the housing problem, quite apart from the general hardship which is, as yet, the only prospect for existing married staff of the later stages.

 

1949 June 11

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1948 May 1 to 1949 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I.  GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS.

Herstmonceux. The Astronomer Royal's residence, the Main Office, and the Head Messenger's cottage were completed and occupied in August and September; the Chronometer Department office, with the temporary chronometer rooms in the southwest first floor and the Chronometer Workshop in one of the huts, were completed soon after, and the Chronometer Department moved from Bradford-on-Avon in September. The second-floor hostel quarters in the Castle, the hostel common rooms in the huts, the remaining hostel bedrooms there, and the Refectory in the Castle were completed and taken into use as necessary about the same time. The premises occupied by the Chronometer Department at Bradford-on-Avon have been given up. The generous cooperation of the Hailsham Borough Council provided the Observatory with six houses from their Bagham Lane group, more than a year ahead of any which will be available from the special allocation made for the Observatory, and these six houses were just sufficient for the existing married staff from Bradford-on-Avon. The lack of houses for any other married staff has so far prevented the Nautical Almanac Office and the Magnetic and Meteorological Department from moving. The accommodation for the Nautical Almanac Office, in one of the huts, is ready for occupation. The Magnetic and Meteorological Department offices are not yet ready, but can be completed fairly rapidly when the need arises.

...

Reconstruction of the floor of the Great Hall, to enable it to carry the weight of books, is nearly complete, and the chronometer rooms, darkroom, and other quarters below it have been progressed. It is hoped to transfer the chronometers and watches from their present temporary quarters fairly soon, so that the rooms at present occupied by them may also be adapted for their permanent purpose.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The work of the Chronometer Depot was continued at Bradford-on-Avon until September 1948. The removal by road of some 20 tons of chronometers, watches and equipment was commenced on September 13 and continued until September 17, by which date the most valuable items had all been transferred to Herstmonceux. Consignments of office furniture and stores were forwarded by rail on ensuing days, and the requisitioned premises at Bradford-on-Avon were vacated and handed over to the Civil Engineer in Chief's department for derequisitioning on September 30. For about a month during the period of removal and settling in, issues of chronometers and watches were discontinued, emergency requirements being transferred to the Home Chart depots for action. All arrears of issues were cleared by the end of November.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive of those undergoing repair, is 21,402. Of this total 232 chronometers (Patt. H.S.1), 193 chronometer watches (Patt. H.S.2. and H.S.6), 153 deck watches (Patt. H.S.3), 20 dashboard watches (Patt. H.S.4), and chronographs (Patt. H.S.9.) are rating or ready for issue. There are 3 Patt. H.S.1, 27 Patt: H.S.2, 7 Patt. H. S. 3,  8 Patt. H.S.4 and 213 Patt. H.S.9 undergoing repair in the repair shop. The remainder, consisting of 562 Patt. H.S.1,  3,557 Patt. H.S.2 and H.S.6, 7,320 Patt. H.S.3, 1,449 Patt. H.S.4 , 1,782 Patt. H.S.5, 780 Patt. H.S.7 2,200 Patt. H.S.8,  2,196 Patt. H.S.9 and 429 other assorted types are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Chronometers and watches in use at the Royal Observatory number twenty. The stock of watches 6B/60 held on behalf of the Air Ministry totals 265, of which 50 are rating and 215 await repair. In addition, there are 249 chronometers and watches deposited with the Depot for various reasons.

During the year a total of 5,715 chronometers and watches was received and 5,328 issued. These issues include the following items:-

(a) 55 chronometers and 10 deck watches were supplied to the Trade to assist with the equipping of Merchant Ships.

(b) The transfer to the Governments of India and Pakistan of 23 chronometers and watches belonging to those Governments and held at the Observatory since return from British and Allied ships.

(c) The sale of 81 chronometers and 116 chronometer watches mentioned in last year’s report as obsolete and available for disposal.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 1,978, including 26 for the Air Ministry and 1 for the Pakistan Government. Of this total 2 chronometers, 2 chronometer watches and 1,194 other watches were dealt with in the chronometer workshop, where it is still necessary to concentrate mainly on the navigational wrist chronographs for the Naval Air Arm.

The scheme for watchmaker apprentices, mentioned in last year's report, has been approved and three apprentices have been authorized. The staff of the workshop has been augmented by the engagement of four journeyman watchmakers and one watchmaker apprentice. It is hoped to fill the remaining vacancies in the current year although lack of houses makes it difficult to attract competent men for the senior posts.

The clockwork drive of the slow-run La Cour magnetograph has been remade and returned to Abinger where it has now been functioning satisfactorily for some months. As the clock movements are constructed entirely of non-magnetic material, they are subject to very rapid wear, and to counter this troublesome feature it was decided to introduce a small amount of steel in the form of bushes and pivots. This should reduce the frequency of servicing without unduly affecting the magnetograph records. A similar clock belonging to the Air Ministry has also been thoroughly overhauled and the department has been asked to consider undertaking the maintenance of other clocks of the same type on behalf of the Ministry.

The Dent regulator used as standard in the Plymouth Chart and Chronometer Depot was taken down and overhauled whilst the Depot was being redecorated in December 1948.

Arrangements have been completed for the testing of Air Ministry distribution and wrist watches at the Royal Observatory and for their subsequent maintenance by this department. The new watches, which are expected to arrive from Switzerland at an early date, are adjusted to the Swiss "'with mention" standard.

They are in special watertight cases and have anti-magnetic screening which will enable them to remain unaffected by field strengths up to 150 oersteds.

During the year the work of the department has been seriously hampered by uncertainty regarding its removal to Herstmonceux, shortage of staff, and occupation of temporary accommodation pending completion of the rebuilding of the rating and store rooms below the Great Library in Herstmonceux Castle. Even the most urgent routine testing and maintenance work was kept going only at the expense of abnormally long hours by non-overtime staff, and by sacrifice of leave. It is hoped in due course to begin work of a research nature, particularly in connection with the lubrication of watch movements for extreme temperatures, a subject on which more information is needed.

 

1950 June 3

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1949 May I to 1950 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I.  GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS.

... Requirements for the combined Nautical Almanac and Time Department building were specified to the Civil Engineer-in-Chief in considerable detail; appreciable parts of the Time Department building are almost as strictly functional as a telescope-dome, and even for the N.A.O. it was thought desirable to go into much more detail than a list of floor-areas would provide.All major requirements for this building, for the workshop and chronometer repair shop, and for the Equatorial Group (six telescopes) were worked out and submitted during 1949. ...
...
...Conversion of the permanent chronometer rating and storage rooms under the Great Hall was completed during the year and these rooms have been brought into use.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive of those in the hands of outworkers for repair, is 15,325. Of this total 146 chronometers (Pattern H.S.1), 156 chronometer watches (Pattern H.S.2) , 194 deck watches (Pattern H.S.3), 20 dashboard watches (Pattern H.S.4), and 106 wrist chronographs (Pattern H.S.9) are rating or ready for issue. There are 3 Pattern H.S.1, 28 Pattern H.S.2, 5 Pattern H.S.3, and 233 Pattern H.S.9 undergoing repair in the Chronometer workshop. The remainder, consisting of 666 Pattern H.S.1, 2,886 Pattern H.S.2, 5,746 Pattern H.S.3, 1,257 Pattern H.S.4, 498 Pattern H.S.5, 715 Pattern H.S.6, 49 Pattern H.S.7, 49 Pattern H.S.8, 2,073 Pattern H.S.9, and 479 other assorted types are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the Observatory number sixteen. In addition to the foregoing, 201 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer department for various reasons.

During the year a total of 4,997 chronometers and watches was received and 11,130 issued. These issues include the following non-routine items:

(a) 5,868 watches of obsolete or surplus types transferred to the Ministry of Supply for disposal.
(b) 19 chronometers of sub-standard type sold.
(c) 1 modern chronometer sold to the National College of Horology for educational use.
(d) 5 chronometer watches returned to the war Office after repair and rating.
(e) 6 watches returned to the Indian Government after rating.
(f) 38 deck watches transferred to the Pakistan Government.
(g) 2 chronometers returned to the New Zealand Government.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 2,204 including five for the War Office and eleven for the Pakistan Government. Of this total one chronometer, twenty-six chronometer watches, eighty-five deck watches and 1,434 wrist chronographs were dealt with in the chronometer workshop.

After the building and furnishing of the permanent rating and storage rooms under the Great Hall in the Castle had been completed, all chronometers and watches were transferred to them. The arrangement of the accommodation, which is superior to any previously occupied, considerably facilitates the rating of chronometers and watches and simplifies the periodical checking of stock.

In addition to the normal work of the Chronometer workshop a new gear train was fitted to a non-magnetic clock mechanism for use with a La Cour magnetograph. The Le Roy astronomical regulator from the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, was overhauled and new contact springs fitted. The free pendulum movement (Shortt No. 16) and its slave clock were cleaned prior to being loaned to the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University.

In view of the increasing precision of field surveying instruments and in response to enquiries as to the accuracy to be obtained from existing chronometers arrangements were made for a standard type survey chronometer, fitted with electric contacts, to be recorded on a Bélin chronograph in the Time Department to ascertain whether the error could be predicted for any time of the day with an accuracy of ten milliseconds. First results were not encouraging, showing divergencies from a smooth rate far in excess of the limit called for. Further tests with a chronometer of conventional design but of a different make gave promise of greater accuracy and the chronometer was subsequently modified in the chronometer workshop by the fitting of a remontoire mechanism. It seems probable that the accuracy required can be achieved in this manner; rating test's are now in progress. If the results prove satisfactory, the design will be modified so that a minimum of alteration to the conventional chronometer design will be needed.

The workshop suffered a serious loss by the tragic death, on 30th July, of Mr. G.F. Dingley, senior watch repairer, who joined the department at Bristol in September 1940. One journeyman watchmaker and one apprentice watchmaker have joined the workshop during the year.

The Chronometer Department is responsible, in addition to its work for the Admiralty, for the testing and distribution of navigational watches for the Air Ministry. This work, which commenced in a small way in 1919, was increased during the year by the new Mark 11 wrist watches which began to arrive for testing in July 1949. The test of these watches entails fourteen days rating in five positions and in temperatures of 4°C and 32°C, whilst a small percentage are also rated at extreme temperatures of -5°C and +45°C. Each watch is tested subsequently in a pressure jar to ensure that the case is hermetically sealed.

Navigational wrist watches Mark 7A are also being received in the department for testing and distribution to units of the Royal Air Force.

The watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry at present on charge to the Royal Observatory comprise: 54 Pattern 6B/60 and 1,499 Mark 11 rated and ready for issue with 250 Pattern 6B/60, 234 Mark 7A and 12 Mark 11 awaiting repair or rating. During the year 4,752 Air Ministry watches have been received and 2,968 issued.

 

1951 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1950 May 1 to 1951 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive of those in the hands of outworkers for repair, is 15,031. Of this total 112 chronometers (Pattern HS1), 149 chronometer watches (HS2), 306 deck watches (HS3), 24 dashboard watches (HS4), 270 wrist chronographs (HS9) and 120 ATP watches are rating or ready for issue. There are 11 Pattern HS1, 36 HS2, 25 HS3, 4 HS4 and 137 HS9 undergoing repair in the chronometer workshop. The remainder, consisting of 669 HS1, 2,888 HS2,  5,781 H93, 1,039 HS4, 505 HS5, 412 HS6, 58 HS7 , 93 HS8, 1584 HS9 and 593 ATP  watches are held in store awaiting adjustment, rating or repair. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the Observatory number seventeen. In addition to the foregoing, 200 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer Department for various reasons.

During the year 6,292 chronometers and watches were received and 6,741 issued. These figures include the following non-routine items:

(a) 308 chronometer watches of non-standard type sold.
(b) 12 deck watches transferred to the Pakistan Government.
(c) 8 chronometers sold on behalf of the Pakistan Government.
(d) 1 chronometer watch returned to the War Dept, after overhaul.
(e) 1 chronometer repaired and rated for the Ministry of Supply.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 3,433 including one for the War Office, one for the Ministry of Supply, three for the Canadian, one for the Australian, one for the New Zealand, and five for the Pakistan Governments. Of the total number repaired seven chronometer watches, twenty-seven deck watches, nine beacon watches and 1,756 wrist chronographs were dealt with in the chronometer workshop.

There has been a steady increase in the work of the department throughout the year. Increasing demands from service sources and the need to build up a greater reserve of efficient chronometers and watches was responsible for a substantial rise in the number of instruments repaired.

All chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory were accounted for at the Annual Audit. The records of the department are completed to the current date.

The Shortt Free Pendulum No. 40 with its precision Slave Clock has been mounted in a temperature controlled clock room under the West courtyard to provide a more accurate time standard. A mean solar dial is now operated in the Solar dome and an hourly signal is transmitted to the Solar Office to afford a reliable time base on the recorder for the Sudden Phase Anomaly Indicator.

In addition to the normal repair work the Cooke regulator from the Solar Dome, the Shelton regulator from the Abinger Magnetic Station and the Free Pendulum and Slave Clock (Shortt 40) were overhauled in the Chronometer Workshop. The Dent Sidereal Clock with chronometer escapement, formerly used for many years as the sidereal standard at the Royal Observatory, was thoroughly overhauled at Herstmonceux in April. The clock was subsequently installed at the South Bank site of the Festival of Britain, where it forms part of the exhibit showing the development of time standards.

Last year's report included mention of a project for improving the performance of the marine chronometer so that\ its error could be relied upon to within ten milliseconds throughout the day. A chronometer fitted with

remontoire mechanism was tested at Abinger and at no time throughout a period of 48 hours did its actual error deviate by more than six milliseconds from a uniform rate. The tests were made at normal room temperature. Development of the idea was continued on a limited scale and rating was carried out over a wide range of temperatures going down to -20°C. It was found that rewinding of the remontoire could not be relied upon at temperatures below -10°C. In view of this failure the remontoire method has been discarded and a new approach has been made by reconstructing the existing fusee. Results obtained to date show a deviation of about thirty milliseconds from the predicted error. It is felt that a compromise can be achieved between this figure and the ten milliseconds originally aimed at. The reconstructed fusee is a less complicated form of control than the remontoire mechanism.

During the year the staff of watchmakers was augmented by the engagement of three Journeymen and one improver, and a skilled labourer was recruited to deal with ancillary jobs in the repair shop. In order that output may be further increased approval has been sought for an extension to the present workshop accommodation and the engagement of five additional watchmakers.

The repayment work undertaken by the Chronometer Department for the Air Ministry has also increased during the year. This is due to the arrival of Mark 7A navigational wrist watches from the repair contractors for testing.

 

1952 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1951 May 1 to 1952 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive of those in the hands op Outworkers for repair, is 15,077. Of this total 117 chronometers (Pattern HS1), 183 chronometer watches (HS2), 377 deck watches (HS3), 18 dashboard watches (HS4), 1,129 wrist chronographs (HS9) and 441 ATP watches are rating or ready for issue. There are 14 pattern HS1, 47 HS2, 82 HS3, and 205 HS9 undergoing repair in the chronometer ,workshop. The remainder, consisting Of 577 HS1, 2,846 HS2, 5,648 HS3, 1,010 HS4, 519 HS5, 414 HS6, 98 HS7, 82 HS8, 996 HS9, and 274 ATP watches are held in store awaiting overhaul and rating. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the observatory number seventeen. In addition to the foregoing, 218 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer Department for various reasons.

During the year a total of 8,255 chronometers and watches was received and 8,199 issued. These figures include the following non-routine items:

(a) 29 obsolete chronometers sold.
(b) 6 chronometers transferred to the Ministry of Supply.
(c) 8 deck watches transferred to the Pakistan Government.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 4513 including four for the Ministry of Supply, one for the Colonial Office, six for the Canadian and three for the Pakistan Governments. Of the total number repaired forty-three chronometers, eighty-nine chronometer watches, 139 deck watches, four beacon watches and 1,695 wrist chronographs were dealt with in the chronometer workshop.

The work of the department again shows considerable increase in all respects over the previous year. The number of transactions involving Admiralty timepieces is up by approximately one-third and the volume of recording, rating and computing work is correspondingly increased, so that it is only with difficulty that the departmental records are kept up-to-date.

At the Annual Audit all chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory were satisfactorily accounted for.

New watches which have been in store for over seven years and are now being brought out for overhaul and rating begin to show signs of deterioration due to the action of ageing oil. To renew their storage life it is considered desirable that the systematic cleaning of all reserve and repairable stocks should be put in hand, thus preventing more serious damage to pivots and pinions.

The time standard available in the Department has been augmented by the loan from Abinger of a B29 Radio receiver and a chronograph drive unit which makes it possible to receive and record daily the rhythmic signals from Rugby.

In addition to coping with additional repairs to chronometers and watches, the chronometer workshop has, during the year, overhauled and cleaned the Free Pendulum movement Shortt No. 49 and the Dent regulator No. 2012 at Abinger; the modification of the second La Cour with magnetometer at Abinger Was completed. Alterations to the recording unit attached to the occultation machine used in the Nautical Almanac Office were also carried out. Only a limited amount of work has been possible on the task of modifying the Hamilton chronometer in order to obtain a greatly enhanced performance.

The examination and cleaning of Harrison No. 4 and Larcum Kendall No. 1 timepieces was undertaken in the chronometer workshop.

The extension to the chronometer workshop was completed in January 1952 and three of the authorised five additional watch repairers have been engaged and a fourth is waiting to report. One watch-maker improver left in December 1951 to take up other employment.

The department is frequently consulted, by Admiralty departments and other Ministries, on technical matters concerned with horology and in particular during the past year has been able to assist CINO and DUW, Admiralty, with advice on problems arising from failures of clock mechanisms used in underwater weapons. At the request of CINO a special syllabus of instruction on clock mechanisms was prepared by the head of the chronometer workshop, and twelve Mechanic Examiners drawn from Naval Ordnance depots throughout the country attended a course at Herstmonceux from February 26 to March 6. The question of arranging further courses from time to time is under consideration.

The volume of repayment work undertaken by the Chronometer Department on behalf of the Air Ministry continues to increase. The outside organisation for the repair of Mark 7A navigational wrist watches has been expanded and deliveries are larger and more frequent. Deliveries of new Mark 11 navigation watches from Swiss manufacturers arrive regularly for acceptance test and subsequent distribution to R.A.F. stations. Far more paper work arises from these transactions than is the case with Admiralty receipts and issues.

Watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry at present on charge to the Royal Observatory comprise: 117 Pattern 6B/60, 453 6B/159 (Mk 7A) and 492 6B/346 (Mk 11) rating or ready for issue, with 45 6B/60, 966 6B/346 and 54 of unclassified types awaiting repair.

During the year 7,974 Air Ministry watches have been received and 7,623 issued. The number sent for repair included 88 6B/60 and 250 6B/346.

 

1953 June 13

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1952 May 1 to 1953 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

I. GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS

... Preliminary plans of the buildings to house the Time Department and Nautical Almanac office, the Observatory Workshop, the Chronometer Repair Shop, and to provide miscellaneous storage accommodation and a works pound, have been considered. Some modifications to these plans were required and revised plans are in course of preparation- It is hoped that it will prove possible to accept a tender for construction by the spring of 1954. ...

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive oi' those in the hands of outworkers for repair, is 15,353. Of this total 115 chronometers (Pattern HS1), 362 chronometer watches (HS2), 871 deck watches (HS3) , 28 dashboard watches (HS4) , 43 pocket watches (HS5), 1,367 wrist chronographs (HS9) and 730 ATP wrist watches are rating or ready for issue. There are 19 Patt. HS1, 23 HS2, 154 HS3, 6 HS4, 1 HS5 and 249 HS9 undergoing repair in the Chronometer Workshop. The remainder, consisting of 597 HS1, 2,680 HS2, 5,037 HS3, 994 HS4, 339 HS5, 414 HS6, 99 HS7, 103 HS8, 814 HS9 and 289 ATP wrist watches, are held in store awaiting overhaul and rating. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the Observatory number nineteen. In addition to the foregoing, 185 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer Department for various reasons.

During the year a total of 8,556 chronometers and watches was received and 8,437 issued. These figures include the following non-routine items:

(a) 15 obsolete chronometers sold.
(b)  6 chronometers transferred to Ministry of Supply.
(c)  28 chronometers and watch--s returned to Australian Government.
(d)  1 chronometer and 6 deck watches transferred to Indian Government,
(e)  4 deck watches transferred to Pakistan Government.
(f)   1 chronometer transferred to Belgian Government.
(g)  1 chronometer watch transferred to Ceylon Government.
(h)  4 chronometers and 3 deck watches sold to Crown Agents.
(i)   1 chronometer sold to University of St. Andrews, Fife.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 4,734, including three for the Canadian Government, one for the Colonial Office, and three for the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Of the total number repaired 35 chronometers, 204 chronometer watches, 337 deck watches, 12 dashboard watches, 38 watertight wrist watches and 1,655 wrist chronographs were dealt with in the Chronometer Workshop

Once again the number of transactions involving Admiralty timepieces shows an increase over the previous year. Despite this increase the rating, computing and notation of record cards has been completed to a current date. At the Annual Audit in April all chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory were accounted for.

The Shortt Free Pendulum No. 40 used as the time standard in the department has been running throughout the year and has been checked daily against the Rugby Rhythmic Signals. The daily rate of the clock is accurate to about ± 0.015s from the mean rate, but the clock appears to have a large temperature coefficient and to be subject to periodic changes of rate without apparent cause.

The water-test apparatus on loan from Messrs. Rotherham and Sons Ltd., London, for the testing of watertight watches was returned on 27th November 1952. Two improved models, of larger size, constructed in the Observatory workshop have been in use since that date. A small model of simpler 'design, presented by the Rolex Watch Company, is also in use.

Whilst increasing its output of chronometer and watch repairs, the Chronometer Workshop has also undertaken the overhaul of the following Chronometer Depot standard clocks: Dent 45081 (Portsmouth), Dent 2010 (Plymouth), Graham (Sheerness) and also the Graham and Shelton clocks used at Abinger. Some improvements were carried out on the occultation machine in the Nautical Almanac Office.

An appreciable amount of experimental work has been done towards the modification of a watch movement with a view to its being used as a portable current integrating meter measuring very minute currents. This project, which was undertaken for the Admiralty Medical Research Laboratory, has not been brought to a practical conclusion at present. The design and construction of prototype models of specialized clockwork mechanisms was also undertaken for D.R.E, Admiralty, and has still to be completed.

During the year the renovation of the Harrison No. 3 timekeeper was completed in the Chronometer Workshop and it has since been returned for exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. All four Harrison machines and Larcum Kendall No. 1 are now in going order as they were in 1933 when their first restoration was completed by Lt-Commander R.T. Gould.

It is of interest to report that the first watchmaker apprentice to be trained in the department completed his term of apprenticeship during the year and was retained as a journeyman watchmaker. One journeyman watchmaker and another apprentice were also engaged. Although a number of applicants were interviewed it has not yet been found possible to recruit journeyman watchmakers to fill the two remaining vacancies. Lack of houses in the neighbourhood is a contributory factor.

The number of watches dealt with by the Chronometer Department on behalf of the Air Ministry shows an appreciable increase over previous years. This increase was augmented during April by the delivery of over two thousand of the new General Service wrist watch Patt. 6B/542, from Switzerland. Regular deliveries of repaired watches Mark 7A and Mark 11 have come to hand from repair contractors and new Mark 11 wrist watches and wrist chronographs Patt. 6B/551 have continued to arrive from Switzerland.

During the year 12,393 Air Ministry watches were received and 8,939 issued. The number sent for repair was 1,242 made up of 53 Patt. 6B/60 and 1,189 Patt. 6B/346 (Mk11)

Watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry at present on charge to the Royal Observatory total 5,581 and comprise 103 Patt. 6B/60, 7 6B/159 (Mk7A), 2,220 6B/346 (Mk11), 2,188 6B/542 and 2 6B/551 rating or ready for issue, with 85 6B/60 and 976 6B/346 awaiting repair.

Representatives of the Air Ministry Audit Department carried out half-yearly audits in July 1952 and January 1953. Subsequent reports expressed satisfaction with the standard of the accounting.

 

1954 June 12

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1953 May 1 to 1954 April 30 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, exclusive of those in the hands of outworkers for repair, is 14,875. Of this total 96 chronometers (Pattern HS1), 399 chronometer watches (HS2), 1,217 deck watches (HS3), 5 dashboard watches (HS4), 39 pocket watches (HS5), 1,460 wrist chronographs (HS9) and 389 wrist watches (HS10 and HS11) are rating or ready for issue. There are 26 Pattern HS1, 21 HS2, 165 HS3, 1 HS5, and 562 HS9 undergoing repair in the Chronometer Workshop. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the Observatory number sixteen. The remainder, consisting of 647 HS1, 2,546 HS2, 4,946 HS3, 772 HS4, 355 HS5, 414 HS6, 101 HS7, 105 HS8, 286 HS9 and 307 HS10/11, are held in store awaiting overhaul and rating. In addition to the foregoing, 177 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer Department for various reasons.

During the year a total of 7,403 Admiralty chronometers and watches was received and 8,213 issued. These figures include the following non-routine items:

(a) 113 obsolete chronometer watches sold.
(b) 1 chronometer sold to University of St. Andrews, Fife.
(c) 1 chronometer watch transferred to New Zealand Government.
(d) 3 deck watches sold to British Overseas Airways Corporation.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 4,243, including two for the Canadian Government, five for the Ministry of Supply, and four for the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Of the total number repaired 63 chronometers, 61 chronometer watches, 515 deck watches, 13 dashboard watches and 2,054 wrist chronographs were dealt with in the Chronometer Workshop.

The 8-day chronometer Dent 30254 belonging to Her Majesty the Queen was thoroughly overhauled in the Chronometer Workshop and subsequently issued to the Royal Yacht "Britannia".

Six chronometers and two watches, selected to form a representative collection of British horological production over the past 150 years, were loaned to-the Birmingham City Museum for exhibition over the period October 1953 to March 1954.

All computing and notation of record cards has been completed to a current date. At the Annual Audit in April all chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory were accounted for.

The sidereal Free Pendulum Shortt No. 40 used as the standard in the department has been running throughout the year and has been checked daily against the Rugby Rhythmic Signals. A subsidiary clock keeping solar time is corrected as necessary, after comparison with the sidereal standard, and signals are distributed to the chronometer rating rooms and also to the Solar, Magnetic and Cosmic Ray departments for the calibration of recording apparatus.

In addition to the normal repair work, of which it now undertakes the major part, the services of the Chronometer Workshop have been made available to other Admiralty and Observatory departments for repair and construction of equipment of a mechanical nature. A seconds impulse dial, fitted with multi-contact switches, was constructed for use with the Cosmic Recorder Unit; the movement of the Riefler clock at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, and the movement of Free Pendulum Clock No. 16 on loan to Cambridge University were overhauled during the year.

Extensive trials of the watch movement modified for use as a portable current integrating meter measuring very minute currents indicated that isochronous changes were appreciably greater than the rate variations it was hoped to achieve magnetically and tabulate. Work on this project has therefore been discontinued. Work on the specialized clockwork mechanism, undertaken for D. R. E. Admiralty, has been continued and it is expected that practical trials will be made shortly.

The approved complement of watchmakers was attained during the year by the engagement of two journeyman watchmakers to fill the remaining vacancies.

The number of watches dealt with by the Chronometer Department on behalf of the Air Ministry again shows a considerable increase, due mainly to arrivals of new watches from Switzerland and to the extension of the number of types of watches being handled by the department.

During the year 22,491 Air Ministry watches were received and 13,814 issued. The number sent for repair was 3,603 made up of 32 Patt. 6B/60, 2,005 Patt. 6B/159 and 1,566 Patt. 6B/346.

Watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry at present on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory total 14,258 and comprise 102 6B/60, 895 6B/234, 3,662 6B/346, 2,563 6B/542 and 58 6B/551 rating or ready for issue, with 98 6B/60, 3,945 6B/159, 1,616 6B/234, 1,043 6B/346, 201 6B/542 and 75 6B/551 awaiting repair.

Representatives of the Air Ministry Audit Department checked the departmental records and stocks in July 1953 and April 1954. Subsequent reports expressed satisfaction with the standard of the accounting.

 

1955 June 4 [9]

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1954 May 1 to 1955 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

Owing to the railway strike, the Annual Visitation and reading of this report was postponed from 1955 June 4 to 1955 July 9.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory, exclusive of those in the hands of outworkers for repair, is 14,873. Of this total 77 chronometers (Pattern HS1), 368 chronometer watches (HS2), 1,292 deck watches (HS3), 8 dashboard watches (HS4), 22 pocket watches (HS5), 1,488 wrist chronographs (HS9), and 163 wrist watches (HS10 and HS11) are rating or ready for issue. There are 34 Pattern HS1, 41 HS2, 229 HS3; 7 HS7, 421 HS9, and 12 HS10/11 undergoing repair in the Chronometer Workshop. Chronometers and watches in use throughout the Observatory number eighteen. The remainder, consisting of 676 HS1, 2,553 HS2, 4,894 HS3, 772 HS4, 373 HS5, 414 HS6, 340 HS7, 108 HS8, 196 HS9, and 367 HS10/11, are held in store awaiting overhaul and rating. In addition to the foregoing, 190 chronometers and watches are deposited in the Chronometer Department for various reasons.

During the eleven months under review 7,580 Admiralty chronometers and Watches were received and 7,538 issued. These figures include the following non-routine items:

8   Chronometers sold to Atomic Energy Authority.
2   Chronometers formerly on the Royal Yacht transferred to National Maritime Museum
2   Chronometers sold to Falkland Islands Dependency.
11  Chronometer watches, 2 dashboard watches and 5 pocket watches and
     one deck watch sold to Pakistan Government.
1   Chronometer watch sold to Ceylon Government Survey.
13 Deck watches of non-standard type and one Waltham navigation watch sold.

The total number of chronometers and watches repaired and adjusted was 3772, including; one for the Canadian Government, three for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, eight for the Atomic Energy Authority and nineteen for the Pakistan Government.

Of the total number repaired 47 chronometers, 57 chronometer watches, 314 deck watches, 25 dashboard watches, 242 sidereal stop watches, 1941 wrist chronographs and 18 other wrist watches were dealt with in the Chronometer Workshop.

The number of chronometers and watches passing through the Department compares closely with those handled during a similar period of the previous year, and the work of computing and notation of record cards has been maintained to a current date.

The sidereal Free Pendulum Shortt No. 40 has been in use continuously as the standard in the Department, being checked daily against the Rugby Rhythmic Signals.

In November 1954 the Free Pendulum Shortt No. 49 rated to solar time was mounted in the clock cellar and brought into use as the solar standard, distributing seconds impulses to the dials in the chronometer rating rooms, the time signal reception room and the Cosmic Ray Laboratory. Hourly signals are sent to the Solar and Meteorological Departments for the calibration of recording apparatus.

Irregularities in the daily rates of the two standard clocks, at first attributed to instability of the Castle wall on which they are mounted, were eventually traced to fluctuations of the temperature in the clock cellar. Observations of the daily rates compared with the Rugby signals when the temperature of the cellar was changed by 5°C indicate a temperature coefficient in the rates of both clocks of approximately 0.03s per 1°C, which appears to be much larger than the figures obtained from the earlier Shortt clocks. Attempts have been made to reduce the coefficient but little change has been effected to date.                                  

In the Chronometer Workshop a second apprentice completed his term in August 1954 and shortly afterwards was called up for his National Service. At the moment, therefore, the complement of the Workshop is one short of the approved figure. At the request of the Pakistan Naval Headquarters in London, an instrument mechanic from the Pakistan Naval Yard at Karachi is undergoing a period of nine months training in the repair of chronometers and watches at Herstmonceux.

Apart from routine repairs and adjustments, the staff continue to deal with other items when required to do so. During the past eleven months clock repairs have included the overhaul of free pendulum and slave movements of Shortt No. 4 from the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, and regulator clocks by Graham and Pennington from the Chart Depots at Sheerness and Malta respectively. The Molyneux regulator from

Greenwich was reconditioned and returned for use in the Astrographic dome. Before being mounted at Herstmonceux the free pendulum and slave movements of Shortt No. 49 were overhauled, the- slave being fitted with Ritchie contacts in lieu of the original synchronome switch.

Two chronometers supplied for use in the Falkland Islands Dependency were especially fitted into waterproof boxes, special winding and set hands mechanism being designed and incorporated. The experimental clockwork mechanism developed for D.R.E., Admiralty, was completed and submitted to tests which were considered satisfactory for the prototype.

The Department has carried out work of an advisory and experimental nature for the Ministry of Supply on matters concerning wrist watches used in the R. A. F. Other Observatory Departments have also made frequent use of the facilities available in the Chronometer Workshop for the repair, construction and maintenance of mechanical equipment.

The number of watches dealt with by the Chronometer Department on behalf of the Air Ministry is comparable with a similar period in the previous year, but the time spent on each watch is rather more than previously. This is due to the programme of examination of repairable watches being carried out with a view to discarding watches of sub-standard types brought into the Service during the war and not capable of economic maintenance to the specified standards. Considerable standardization of makes will result in a more efficient maintenance organization.

For over three years it has been the practice to insert a Vapour Phase Inhibitor in the cases of all wrist watches used in the R.A.F., to prevent rust and corrosion. Detailed examination of all such watches returned to Herstmonceux from service sources revealed crystalline formations on the movement plates in a large number of watches. Analysis of the crystals at R.A.E. Farnborough indicated that the crystals had been formed from the inhibitor, presumably as the result of climatic conditions encountered in service. Temperature changes, simulated in the various rating rooms and cold cabinets in the chronometer department failed to produce crystal formations but, subsequently, one of the watches under observation shewed signs of crystals after a few days wear in normal conditions at Herstmonceux. As a result of these observations the use of the inhibitor has been discontinued.

During the eleven months under consideration 18,641 Air Ministry watches were received and 17,150 issued. The number sent for repair was 7,247 viz., 49 6B/60, 4,950 6B/159, 1,489 6B/234, 250 6B/346, 250 6B/542 and 259 6B/551 of which the 49 6B/60 and 259 6B/551 were repaired and adjusted in the Chronometer Workshop.

Watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry at present on charge to the Royal Observatory total 15,749 and comprise 84 6B/60, 1,945 6B/159, 2,214 6B/234, 2,427 6B/346, 2,161 6B/542 and 53 6B/551 rating or ready for issue with 105 6B/60, 2,154 6B/159, 1,814 6B/346, 603 6B/542 and 48 6B/551 awaiting repair.

The departmental records and stocks were checked by a representative of the Air Ministry Audit Department in November 1954 and a subsequent report from the Air Ministry expressed satisfaction with the standard of accounting.

 

1956 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1955 April 1 to 1956 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

The number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Observatory on 1956 March 31 was 15,223, of which 3,992 are rating or ready for issue, 10,602 are in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, 612 are in process of repair and adjustment and 17 are in use in Observatory departments.

In the year under review transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers and watches involved the issue of 7,990 instruments and the receipt of 8,286.

The total number of chronometers and watches issued for repair and adjustment, including a small number for Commonwealth Governments and other Ministries, was 3,973. Of this number 3,188 were dealt with in the Chronometer Workshop at Herstmonceux.

The volume of Admiralty work handled by the department shows a slight increase over the previous year; nevertheless computations and notation of records were maintained to a current date.

The movements of Standard Clocks used in the Chronometer Depots at Plymouth, Portsmouth and Gibraltar were overhauled during the year and the Clock Dent 2009 belonging to the Observatory was reconditioned prior to being issued on loan to the Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory.

The repayment services provided by the department for the benefit of the Air Ministry were maintained and 17,916 receipts and 20,266 issues were recorded during the year. The number of watches sent for repair was 8,172 of which 314 of the highest grade were overhauled and adjusted in the Chronometer Workshop.

Watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry on charge to the Royal Observatory on 31 March 1956 totalled 13,399, comprising 5,917 rating and ready for issue and 7,482 in store awaiting repair and adjustment.

 

1957 June 1

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1956 April 1 to 1957 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

V. CHRONOMETERS.

In the year under review, transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers and watches involved the issue of 7,480 instruments and the receipt of 7,255. On 1957 March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory was 15,243, of which 3,472 were rating or ready for issue, 10903 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, 854 were in process of repair

and adjustment and 14 were in use in Observatory departments.

The repayment services provided by the department on behalf of the Air Ministry were maintained and 19,143 receipts and 21,518 issues were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory on 1957 March 31 was 11,024.

During the year the Chronometer Workshop repaired and adjusted 2,543 Admiralty chronometers and watches and also 931 of the high grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry.

 

1958 June 7

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1957 April 1 to 1958 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

V. CHRONOMETERS.

In the year under review, transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers and watches involved the issue of 5,627 instruments and the receipt of 5,525. On 1958 March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory was 15,318, of which 3,410 were rating or ready for issue, 11,529 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, 364 were in process of repair and 15 were in use in Observatory departments.

Repayment services provided by the department on behalf of the Air Ministry were maintained and 19,415 issues and 20,134 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory on 1958 March 31 was 11,743. On behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation 35 watches were issued and 50 received.

During the year the Chronometer Workshop repaired and adjusted 2,350 Admiralty chronometers and watches and also 1,023 of the high-grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry.

 

1959 June 6

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1958 April 1 to 1959 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

The Royal Greenwich Observatory was visited by H. R. H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on 1958 November 14.

V. CHRONOMETERS.

In the year under review, transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers and watches involved the issue of 5,644 instruments and the receipt of 5,387. On 1959 March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory was 15,122, of which 2,198 were rating or ready for issue, 12,256 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, and 668 were in process of repair.

Repayment services provided by the department on behalf of the Air Ministry were maintained, and 13,940 issues and 15,940 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory on 1959 March 31 was 13,723. On behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation 50 watches were issued and 17 received.

During the year the Chronometer Workshop repaired and adjusted 2,022 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,332 high-grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry, and 25 similar watches belonging to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

 

1960 June 11

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1959 April 1 to 1960 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

VI. CHRONOMETERS.

Transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers and watches involved the issue of 5,645 instruments and the receipt of 57572. On 1960 March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory was 14,941, of which 1,814 were rating or ready for issue, 12,569 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment and 558 were undergoing repair.

Repayment services provided by the department for the Air Ministry were maintained and 12,833 issues and 11,005 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Royal Greenwich Observatory on 1960 March 31 was 11,887. On behalf of the Ministry of Aviation 41 watches were issued and 43 received.

During the year the Chronometer Workshop repaired and adjusted 2,426 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,464 high grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry, 27 similar watches for the Ministry of Aviation and 15 chronometers and watches for the Directorate of Overseas Surveys.

 

1961 June 10

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1960 April 1 to 1961 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last named day.

X. CHRONOMETER REPAIR SERVICE.

Transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers involved the issue of 5,376 instruments and the receipt of 5,475. On March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Observatory was 14,961, of which 1,452 were rating or ready for issue, 13,023 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, whilst 486 were undergoing repair.

Repayment services provided by the Observatory for the Air Ministry were maintained and 12,209 issues and 14,152 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Observatory on March 31 was 13,983. On behalf of the Ministry of Aviation 57 watches were issued and 53 received.

During the year the chronometer workshop repaired and adjusted 2,187 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,220 high grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry, 39 similar watches for the Ministry of Aviation and nine chronometers and watches for the Directorate of Overseas Surveys. Sixteen navigational watches were repaired and adjusted for the Pakistan Naval Authority.

The large Harrison timekeeper, loaned by the Royal Astronomical Society, was overhauled and erected in the entrance hall of the West Building. The Harrison No. 2 timekeeper was overhauled and returned to the National Maritime Museum in December; the overhaul of Harrison No. 3 is at present in hand.

 

1962 June 2

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1961 April 1 to 1962 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Observatory on the last-named day.

II. GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS

...A section of the West Building originally planned as storage space has been converted into offices and rating rooms for the Chronometer Department. Ventilated cupboards for the storage of radioactive luminescent materials have been fitted in these new rooms and in the Chronometer Workshop above. ...

VI. CHRONOMETER SERVICE

Transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers involved the issue of 9,873 instruments and the receipt of 6,059. On March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Observatory was 11,223, of which 1,439 were rating or ready for issue, 9,375 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, whilst 409 were undergoing repair.

Repayment services provided by the Observatory for the Air Ministry were maintained and 11,130 issues and 9,489 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Observatory on March 31 was 11,261. On behalf of the Ministry of Aviation 66 watches were issued and 72 received.

During the year the chronometer workshop repaired and adjusted 32,88 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,109 high-grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry and 49 similar watches for the Ministry of Aviation. Thirty-eight navigational watches were repaired and adjusted for the Pakistan Naval Authority.

The overhaul of the large Harrison timekeepers No. 1 and No. 3 and also the smaller No. 4 was undertaken in the chronometer workshop and after completion they were all returned to the National Maritime Museum.

 

1963 June 15

The Report here presented refers to the period from 1962 April 1 to 1963 March 31 and exhibits the state of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and of the Cape Observatory on the last-named day.

I. EXTERNAL RELATIONS

...The Board of Admiralty has acceded to the request of the U. S. Secretary of the Navy to lend Harrison's Timekeeper No. 4 to the U. S. Naval Observatory for a year, for exhibition in the new Simon Newcomb Laboratory at Washington. The Chronometer was recovered from the National Maritime Museum in September, overhauled in the Chronometer Workshop at Herstmonceux and transported across the Atlantic by naval vessel. Mr. W. Roseman, head of the workshop, accompanied the chronometer in the last stages of its journey from Norfolk, Va., was present when H.M. Ambassador in Washington formally handed it over, and subsequently installed it in the Laboratory and left it, going, on display. ...

II. GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS

The removal of the Chronometer Office from the Castle to the rating and storage rooms prepared in the West Building was completed in May. ...

VI. CHRONOMETER SERVICE

Transactions in respect of Admiralty chronometers involved the issue of 9,314 instruments and the receipt of 6,678. On March 31 the number of Admiralty chronometers and watches on charge to the Observatory was 8,723, of which 1,216 were rating or ready for issue, 6,992 were in store awaiting overhaul and adjustment, whilst 515 were undergoing repair.

Repayment services provided by the Observatory for the Air Ministry were maintained and 11,890 issues and 11,946 receipts were recorded during the year. The number of watches of various types belonging to the Air Ministry and on charge to the Observatory on March 31 was 11,371. On behalf of the Ministry of Aviation 79 watches were issued and 80 received.

During the year the chronometer workshop repaired and adjusted 3,160 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,310 high-grade navigational watches belonging to the Air Ministry and 45 similar watches for the Ministry of Aviation. One chronometer and six watches were repaired and adjusted for the Directorate of Overseas Surveys.

In addition, two astronomical regulators by George Graham and Robert Molyneux were overhauled in the chronometer workshop, in addition to the Harrison No. 4 timekeeper mentioned in Section I.

An opportunity arose during the year to test and examine another of the recently developed crystal-controlled portable chronometers; a report on its performance was subsequently prepared.

The head of the workshop took advantage of his visit to the United States (see Section I) to visit one of the American watch factories which is manufacturing very high grade electronic wrist-watches.

 

1964 June 6

This Report has been drawn up in a different form from those of previous years, in an attempt to present a more readable account of the year's work separate from (whilst not excluding) detailed information that may be found of rather specialized interest.

The narrative Section (pp. 5 - 14) is intended to be read as a synoptic account of research activity at Herstmonceux and the Cape during the year. It makes no reference to routine work which, important though it is, changes little in nature from year to year. An abbreviated account of this latter work, and such details of the former as are unsuited to a narrative report, are contained in the Appendix (pp. 15 - 24).

NARRATIVE REPORT
… ...

CHRONOMETER SERVICE

Certain changes in staffing and organization of the Chronometer Department recommended last year by an Admiralty inspection team have been virtually completed. The technical aspects of the work have been separated from the rating and accounting: the head of the workshop now has complete responsibility for the former, whilst the latter is carried out by clerical staff under a Higher Executive Officer.

During the year the workshop repaired and adjusted 3,386 Admiralty chronometers and watches, 1,864 high-grade navigational watches for the Air Ministry and 41 for the Ministry of Aviation. Three chronometers and 92 watches were repaired and adjusted for other official bodies.

A small number of electronic wrist watches in which the timekeeping unit is a battery-driven tuning fork have been tested and distributed for Service evaluation.

Tests of commercial lubricants for small mechanisms have been carried out for the War Office on a number of watches. Deterioration tests are continuing.

Kendall Timepiece No. 2 (Bligh's Bounty chronometer), recently acquired by the National Maritime Museum, has been restored, mounted on a display stand, and set up in the Museum.