Contemporary accounts

 

The accounts included in this section fall broadly into the following categories:

  • Those made by visiting astronomers to the Observatory, or notes sent to those unable to visit
  • Popular accounts, published in weekly or monthly periodicals, many of which were authored by the Observatory’s own staff
  • Popular accounts that were published as part of a book
  • The personal recollections of individuals who worked at the Observatory, (some of which have not previously been published)

Not included are:

  • Descriptions of the instruments published in Greenwich Observations or other scientific journals
  • The Annual Reports
  • Accounts which are purely historical

 

Additional material is in preparation and will be added to the list below over the coming months.

 


 

Date: 1710, June 12
Author: Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach (1683–1734), German scholar, bibliophile, book-collector, traveller, palaeographer, and consul in Frankfurt am Main who is best known today for his published travelogues
Title: Merkwürdige Reisen durch Niedersachsen Holland und Engelland (Ulm, 1753). Originally published in German, an English Translation (minus the relevant plate), was published in 1934 under the title London in 1710.
About: During his travels, von Uffenbach visited Flamsteed at the Observatory on 12 June 1710. His account of this visit (pp. 445–451), includes a detailed description (with plate) of a quadrant housed in the Quadrant House (or possibly the Sextant House). Given the date of his visit, the instrument is most likely to have been Flamsteed’s Mural Arc, the only other instrument in the vicinity being Flamsteed’s 7-foot Equatorial Sextant. However, the published plate bears little resemblance to the view of the Mural Arc that was published in Flamsteed’s Historia Coelestis Britannica, (London, 1725). Nor does it resemble the plate of the Equatorial Sextant (engraved by Francis Place after Robert Thacker c.1676) that was also included in Flamsteed's Historia Coelestis Britannica. Nor does it resemble the Francis Place engraving of Hooke’s 10-foot Mural Quadrant, an earlier instrument that had long since abandoned by Flamsteed and almost certainly disposed of. Allan Chapman and Derek Howse (both leading authorities), believe the instrument described and illustrated to be Flamsteed’s Mural Arc.
Images:
One plate (see above).



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Date: 1769, March 26
Author: Jean Bernouilli, Director of the Berlin Observatory
Title: De l'Observeratoire de Greenwich
About: In 1768 & 1769, Bernouilli visited a number of observatories in Europe to acquaint himself with the state of astronomy there. His findings were later published in book form as a series of letters in a volume titled: Lettres astronomiques où l'on donne une idée de l'état actuel de l'astronomie pratique dans plusieurs villes de l'Europe, (Berlin, 1771), which translates roughly as: Letters of an Astronomical nature, which give one an idea of the current state of practical astronomy in several towns in Europe. His account of the Observatory at Greenwich (pp.77–100) formed the content of letter six (Lettre sixieme).
Images:
Several, including instrumental details and the earliest known image of Bradley's New Observatory.


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Date: 1777
Author: Thomas Bugge, professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Copenhagen
About: Soon after Bugge was appointed professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Copenhagen in January 1777, he travelled to Holland and England to acquaint himself with the state of astronomy and instrument making in those countries. He kept an extensive journal of his travels and findings, which is preserved in the archives of Det Kongelige Bibliotek and can be consulted online, the relevant pages being: 72 recto – 72 verso & 86 verso – 91 recto. An English translation was published in 2010 under the title: An Observer of Observatories: The Journal of Thomas Bugge's Tour of Germany, Holland and England in 1777 (Aarthus University Press).
Images: Numerous, including site plan, view of Flamsteed House from the river and various clocks and instruments.

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Date: 1798
Author: Thomas Evans, Assistant at the Royal Observatory (179698)
About: In his book: The juvenile tourist, or, excursions through various parts of the island of Great-Britain; including the west of England, the midland counties, and the whole county of Kent; illustrated with maps, and interspersed with historical anecdotes and poetical extracts, for the improvement of the rising generation, in a series of letters to a pupil (London, 1804, 1805, 1809, 1810 & 1818), John Evans included nine pages of text written by Thomas Evans (pp.331340 (1805 edition); 341350 (1818 edition)). They contain the much quoted line ‘Nothing can exceed the tediousness and ennui of the life the assistant leads in this place’.
Images: None
 
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Date: 1824
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich Park
About: This brief historical account published by R. Ackermann in his Repository of arts, literature, fashions &c., The Third Series, Volume IV, No.XXII, (London), 1 Oct 1824, pp.186–188, is included here not for the text, but for its contemporary illustration which is the earliest known view of Flamsteed House from the north to include the lantern above Pond's 25-foot Great Zenith Tube.
Images: One

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Date: 1829, with 1830 corrections
Author: 1829 article, anonymous. Corrections by (JH) John HenryAssistant at the Observatory since 1811. Henry, also went by the name of Belville.
Title: Royal Observatory, Greenwich
About: Published in The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction (J. Limbird, London), this account appeared in Vol. XIV, No. 404, pp.401 & 402 on Saturday 12 Dec 1829. The account was somewhat out dated, with significant amounts that appear to have been directly copied from the 1798 account written by Thomas Evans. Writing to the Editor, the Observatory's Second Assistant, John Henry wrote: "... I perceive you have availed yourself of an account which is rather imperfect for the present day. I will, therefore, with your leave, briefly state the additions and improvements recently made in that building." Henry's letter was published in Vol XV, No. 413, p.83 on Saturday 30 Jan 1830. On the matter of plagarism, Dick's account published in 1845 is remarkably similar.
Images: One

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Date: 1833
Author: Anonymous
Title: Greenwich Observatory
About: Published in The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, (London, Charles Knight), Issue No.  87, 10 Aug 1833, pp.308–309; this brief historical account is included here not for the text, but for its contemporary illustration of Flamsteed House from the north. It shows a good view of the lantern above Pond's 25-foot Great Zenith Tube.
Images: One

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Date: 1834
Author: Anonymous
Title: Time Ball, on the Greenwich Observatory
About: Published in the The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, Vol XXIII, No.642, pp.8–9, 4 Jan 1834, (J. Limbird, London), this account has what are probabally the first published drawings of the recently completed Greenwich time ball. 
Images: Three

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Date: 1834
Author: Anonymous
Title: Flamstead House
About: This short piece was included in National History and Views of London and Its Environs;: Embracing Their Antiquities, Modern Improvements, &c., &c. from Original Drawings by Eminent Artists, Vol 1, (London, 1834), Edited by CF Partington, pp.76–77. The accompanying illustration of Flamstead House was drawn by TH Shepherd and published by WS Orr in 1832.
Images: One

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Date: 1835
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
About: Published in four episodes in The Weekly Visitor (London, The Religious Tract Society), this mainly historic rather than contemporary account contains several unique illustrations, including a distant view from the north with the Ramage Telescope visible in the Courtyard, the only known plan showing the location of the Ramage Telescope, several important early images of the time ball mechanism and the only known illustration of Pond's 25-foot Great Zenith Tube (1833). The four episodes were preceeded by one titled Greenwich Castle, Kent. Publication details are as follows:
Greenwich Castle, Kent: Issue No. CXXI, 6 Jan 1835, pp. 1–2
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich No.1: Issue No. CXXVI, 3 Feb 1835, pp. 41–42
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich No.2: Issue No. CXXVII, 10 Feb 1835, pp. 53–55
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich No.3: Issue No. CXXVIII, 17 Feb 1835, pp. 63–64
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich No.4: Issue No. CXXIX, 24 Feb 1835, pp. 67–69
Images: Nine 


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Date: 1839
Author: George Airy, Astronomer Royal
About: In his 1856 History and description of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College. (Metcalf and Co, Cambridge [Mass.]), William Cranch Bond reprinted as an appendix (pp.xcvii–ciii), the response he got from Airy to a letter he had sent on 10 April 1839, asking about "the history and present constitution of the Royal Observatory of Greenwich" Airy's reply contains information on salaries, costs of telescopes, and other information not readily available elsewhere.
Images: None

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Date: 1840
Author: William H.C. Bartlett of West Point Military Academy USA
About: In 1836, Bartlett was appointed to the post of professor of natural and experimental philosophy at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point New York. In 1840 with the aim of setting up an observatory, he applied for permission to go abroad to inspect the astronomical observatories and establishments of Europe. He subsequently visited the observatories of Greenwich, Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, Armagh, Edinburgh, Paris, Munich and Brussels; and the workshops of Troughton and Simms, Dolland, Jones, Grubb, Gambey, Ertel, Merz, and others. The report of his visit currently exists only in manuscript form, the original being held in the U.S. Military Academy Library. Of the 52 pages, 9½ are devoted to Greenwich. The report is general in its nature, but details are given of devices and arrangements that seemed important.
Images: None


 


 

 

Date: 1842
Author: Anonymous & Orville James Victor
About: In his book, Men of the Time: Being Biographies of Generals, Volume 3, (Beadle and Company, New York, 1863),  pp.96–99, Victor describes how Major-General Ormsby McKnight Mitchel, professor of Astronomy at Cincinnati College and founder of the Cincinnati Observatory visited Airy at Greenwich prior to setting up the Cincinnati Observatory in 1842. It contains numerous quotes from ‘one who was at that time intimately acquainted with the Professor's movements’ and helps illuminate Airy’s attitude towards visitors. An almost, identical account of the visit was published the following year in: The portrait gallery of the war civil military and naval: A biographical record (Derby & Miller), a volume edited by Frank Moore. This volume was republished in 1865 by D.Van Nostrand, New York.
Images: None

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Date: 1844
Author: James Glaisher, Superintendent of the Magnetic Observatory at Greenwich
Title: The Magnetic and Meteorological Royal Observatory, just completed at Greenwich
About: Although the descriptions of the magnetic and meteorological instruments published in the volumes of Greenwich Observations are superior, this account which was published in The Illustrated London News on 16 March 1844, pp.163–164, has the advantage of being illustrated. The Astronomer Royal, George Airy, was appalled that the account was published under Glaisher's name, believing instead that Glaisher should have had it published anonymously.
Images: Seven

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Date: 1844
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Time Ball , Royal Observatory, Greenwich. From the "Illustrated London Almanack" for 1845, just published
About: Published in The Illustrated London News on 9 November 1844, p.304, the account (unlike that of the 1834 account listed above), has detailed descriptions and illustrations of the component parts. Note: figures 6 & 7 are incorrectly labelled: figure 6 is actually part of figure 5 and figure 7 should have been labelled figure 6.
Images: Seven

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Date: 1847
Author: George Airy, Astronomer Royal (main author)
Title: The Altitude and Azimuth Instrument
About: Published in The Illustrated London News on 2 October 1847, pp.221–222, this is probabally the earliest published article about Airy's Altazimuth Instrument.
Images: One.

The illustration is by Hare & Co. and was re-used in the 'official account' of the instrument which was published in 1849 as part of the 1847 volume of Greenwich Observations. Hare & Co. were draughtsmen and engravers specialising in agricultural and other machinery. They supplied illustrations for trade catalogues, advertisements and other promotional material for some of the leading machinery manufacturers of the day such as Ransome & May in Suffolk whom Airy had contracted to engineer the instrument

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Date: 1849
Author: GM
Title: Visit to the Royal Observatory
About: Published in The Visitor or Monthly Instructor, (London, The Religious Tract Society, 1849) pp. 233–236, this account was written by one of the magazine's regular authors. As well as being littered with biblical and poetic references, the account indicates the author as someone with little grasp of scientific matters who was in awe of those that had.
Images: None

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Date: 1850
Author: Attributed to Frederick Knight Hunt
Title: The planet-watchers of Greenwich / Greenwich weather-wisdom
About: Originally published in Volume 1 of Household Words in 1850 (editions of 25 May (pp.200–204) and 1 June (pp.222–225)), these two articles of about 7800 words were republished in New York later that year in Volume 1 of Harper's New Monthly Magazine (pp.233–237 & 265–268).
Images: None

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Date: 1850
Author: Robert Main, First Assistant at the Observatory
Title: The Observatories of London and its vicinity
About: This account was originally published in the book London and its Vicinity exhibited in 1851, (John Wheale, London, 1851). Intended to be an annual publication, a new edition was published in 1852. In 1854, the volume was republished by HG Bohn (London) under the title The Pictorial Handbook of London. Although Main's authorship is not acknowledged, p.29 of his book Rudimentary Astronomy makes reference to the fact that he was the author. The account contains the earliest known image of the Meridian Building following the alterations that were made to accomodate the Airy Transit Circle.
Images: Seven

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Date: 1857
Author: Maria Mitchell, American astronomer
About: Maria Mitchell shot to fame in 1847 when she became the second woman to discover a comet. In 1857, while on a trip to Europe, she visited and stayed with George airy at the Royal Observatory, the details of which she recorded in her journal. Extracts from the journal were later published under the title: Maria Mitchell: Life Letters and Journals (Boston 1896). Over the course of the years, Airy was host to many visitors. Mitchell sheds light on the domestic arrangements as well as recording details of her fellow diners General Sabine and Otto Struve, director of the Pulkowa Observatory.
Images: None

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Date: 1858
Author: Probably James Glaisher, Superintendent of the Magnetic Observatory at Greenwich
Title: The Royal Observatory
About: This account was published on 1 July 1858 under the title of The Royal Observatory in the first ever edition of The Stereoscopic Magazine, (Lovell Reeve, London). The Stereoscopic Magazine was published monthly between July 1858 and February 1865 with each issue usually containing 3 stereoviews. Those of the first edition at least, were produced under the superintendence of James Glaisher, who had developed his photographic expertise during the course of his work at the Observatory. Whilst copies of the stereoviews are rare, preserved copies of the accompanying text are rarer still. Glaisher's account contains what is probabaly a unique description of the shrub plantings in the Observatory Courtyard. The stereoview of the Observatory exists in at least three (and probably more) different versions. This is because at that time, the printing process needed lengthy daylight exposures limiting production to perhaps just half a dozen prints per day from each set of plates. If he didn’t take them himself, it is likely, that Glaisher was present when the photographs were taken.
Images: One (stereoview)
 
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Date: 1861
Author: Anonymous
Title: The Equatorial in Greenwich Observatory
About: Published in The Illustrated London News on 24 August 1861, p.205, this is probabally the earliest published article about the Great Equatorial following its erection in 1860. The the ‘official account’ of the instrument was published in the volume of Greenwich Observations for 1868.
Images: One



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Date: 1862
Author: Edwin Dunkin, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: A day at the Royal Observatory & A night at the Royal Observatory
About: These two accounts were both published in The Leisure Hour, Vol XI (London), 1862. A day at the Royal Observatory was published in two parts, the first in edition No.524, 9 Jan 1862, pp. 22–26 and the second in edition No.525, 16 Jan 1862, pp.39–43. A night at the Royal Observatory was published in edition No. 526, 23 Jan 1862, pp.55–60. Dunkin's articles followed on directly from one on the Observatory's Origin and History, which had been written by James Glaisher and published in edition No.523, 2 Jan 1862, pp. 7–11. Dunkin's account was later partially updated and published in 1891 in a revised and extended edition of his book The Midnight Sky.
Images: Six

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Date: 1863
Author: Anonymous
Title: A night at Greenwich Observatory
About: Published as an article in The Cornhill Magazine, Vol VII, (London, Smith Elder & Co.), pp.381–389, March 1863.
Images: None

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Date: 1866
Author: James Carpenter, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: John Flamsteed and the Greenwich Observatory
About: Published in 1866 in three episodes in the Gentleman's Magazine (Bradbury Evans & Co, London), this extensive account is largerly contemporary rather than historical. Amongst his duties in 1866, Carpenter had the general charge of the Observatory Library and Manuscripts. The three episodes were published as follows:
Epsiode 1: Feb 1866, pp.239–252
Episode 2: Mar 1866, pp.378–386
Episode 3: Apr 1866, pp.449–558
Images: 14

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Date: 1866
Author: Alphonse Esquiros
Title: English seamen and divers
About: Written following a visit to the Observatory by Esquiros in June 1866, this extensive and largely contemporary account (which runs to some 87 pages) was published in 1868 by Chapman and Hall (Piccadilly).
Images: None

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Date: 1866
Author: William Ellis, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: Lecture on the treatment of chronometers at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich
About: This authoritative account comes from William Ellis who at that time was entrusted with the management of the galvanic apparatus for chronographic registry of Transits, movement of sympathetic clocks, and external distribution of time-signals; the receiving, issuing, and rating of chronometers; the raising or the Time-Signal-Ball at 1 o’clock; and the computations belonging to the same. The text of this lecture which was delivered on 1 March 1866 was published in the 1 April edition of The Horological Journal, (London) Vol. VII, (London) pp.85–92.
Images: None

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Date: 1872
Author: George Forbes, Leader of the British party sent to observe the 1874 Transit of Venus from Hawaii and later Professor of Natural Philosophy at Anderson’s University, Glasgow
Title: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
About: Published in 1872 in two episodes in Good Words (Strachan & Co, London), this extensive account appears to be based on a visit Forbes made to the Observatory that year. The timing of his visit means that it is the only account to describe either Airy’s Water Telescope or the temporary observing huts that were being prepared for the 1874 Transit of Venus expeditions.

Epsiode 1:  pp.792–96

Episode 2:  pp.855–58
Images: None



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Date: 1887/8
Author: Albert Gustavus Winterhalter (U.S. Naval Observatory)
Title: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
About In 1887–8, Winterhalter visited Europe to attend the International Astrophotographic Congress and visit a wide range of European Observatories and related institutions. He wrote an extensive report, which was published as appendix 1 to Observations made during the year 1885 at the United States Naval Observatory. Pages 143–163 of the Appendix cover his visit to Greenwich. The account is important as it contains details of the buildings and instruments not found in in the published volumes of Greenwich Observations.
Images: None



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Date: 1888, January 28
Author: Anonymous
Title: A private view of the eclipse
About: Published in the Pall Mall Gazette on 30 January 1888, this account gives the reader a sense of what it was like to be at the Observatory while nine telescopes were being used to observe the lunar eclipse of 28 January 1888. The observing programme for the evening was part of an international project in which a series of occulations were timed. The evening (which was partially clouded out) was also reported by the Astronomer Royal in his annual report to the Board of Visitors (click here to read it).
Images:
Two, including the only known image of the Lassell Telescope in its dome at Greenwich.
 
  The Pall Mall Gazette has been digitised by the British library. The relevant edition is available for viewing online, but is only partly legible. Click here for a link (subscription required).

 


 

 

Date: 1889
Author: William Cudworth
Title: Greenwich Observatory
About At the end of his book: Life and Correspondence of Abraham Sharp, The Yorkshire Mathematician and Astronomer, and Assistant of Flamsteed; with Memorials of His Family, and Associated Families. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, Ltd.; [etc., etc.,], 1889, William Cudworth rather oddly decided to included a description of the Observatory as it was at the time of writing (pp.318–328).
Images: Two, including the only known image (copied from the 30 January 1888 edition of the Pall Mall Gazette), of the Lassell Telescope in its dome at Greenwich.

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Date: 1891
Author: Edwin Dunkin, Former Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich 
About: Back in 1862, Dunkin had published a two accounts in The Leisure Hour, Vol XI (London). A day at the Royal Observatory was published in two parts, the first in edition No.524, 9 Jan 1862, pp. 22–26 and the second in edition No.525, 16 Jan 1862, pp.39–43. A night at the Royal Observatory was published in edition No. 526, 23 Jan 1862, pp.55–60. Later in 1868 and 1869, he had two further articles published, the Midnight Sky in London and the Midnight Sky in the Southern Hemisphere. Various aspects of these four works were incorporated into a book – The Midnight Sky, which was first published in 1869 by the same publisher, The Religious Tract Society. Several other editions followed. Originally, the book did not contain a specific section about the Royal Observatory at Greenwich (pp.151–176). This changed when a revised and enlarged and what turned out to be final edition was published in 1891. It is on pp.151–176 of this volume that the account can be found. The six accompanying illustrations are those which Dunkin used in his earlier 1862 account.
Images: Six



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Date: 1897/98
Author: E Walter Maunder, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: Greenwich Observatory
About: Maunder wrote six articles about the Observatory which were published in eight episodes in the 1897/8 volume of The Leisure Hour (Religious Tract Society, London). The six articles were: 1.Origin (pp.152–160), 2.Longitude Nought (pp.228–238), 3. Storm and Sun (pp.293–297 &, 375–379), 4. Census of the sky (pp.561–565 & 642–646), 5. Bond of the Universe (pp.695–702) and 6. Celestial Chemistry (pp.771–776). Containing numerous images, the articles were later re-packaged into a single volume titled: The Royal Observatory Greenwich, a glance at its history and work (Religious Tract Society, London, 1900). Not all the images were reused. Although the 1900 volume has become a standard reference work, the 1897/8 articles are worth consulting for the additional material that they contain.
Images: 47

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Date: 1900
Author: E Walter Maunder, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: The Royal Observatory Greenwich a glance at its history and its work
About: Maunder wrote a series of six articles about the Observatory which were published in the 1897/8 volume of the Leisure Hour (Religious Tract Society, London). They were later re-packaged into a single volume. Published in 1900, it was titled: The Royal Observatory Greenwich, a glance at its history and work (Religious Tract Society, London). Although the 1900 volume has become a standard reference work, the 1897/8 articles are still worth consulting as they contain material that was not reused. The title pages of Religious Tract Society publications often lacked full publication details. This may be the case here, for although the book is known to have been produced with at least three different coloured covers, each has an identical title page. Of the three colours, dark blue, green and red, those that were dark blue or green seem to be the most common.
Images: Numerous



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Date: 1901
Author: Philip Astor
Title: The Centre of the World – How Time is Made
About: Published in Volume 6 of The Harmsworth Magazine, pp.247252, this is a well illustrated account of the mechanics of time finding and time distribution.
Images: Eleven (including several relating to Airy’s Transit Circle)
 
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Date: 1902
Author: Cicely McDonell
Title: What is Greenwich Time? – A visit to the Royal Observatory
About: Published in 1902 in The New Penny Magazine, pp.2428, this illustrated account is not focussed on time specifically. It contains two pictures of William Christie, the Astronomer Royal, which are not known to have been published elsewhere.
Images: Six
 
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Date: 1906
Author: ESG
Title: The Menace to the Meridian, Greenwich Observatory and the LCC
About: Published in The Graphic on 23 June, 1906, p.809, this article covers the storm that blew up when the Observatory finally woke up to the fact that Greenwich Power Station was being constructed a short distance away on the line of the Meridian.
Images: Five
 
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Date: 1894–1905 & 1910–1933
Author: Margaret Wilson (nee Dyson), daughter of the Astronomer Royal Frank Dyson
Title: Ninth Astronomer Royal, A Life of Frank Watson Dyson
About: Born in 1899, Margaret Dyson lived at the Observatory until 1905 and then again from 1910 until she got married in 1924. In this biography of her father, she draws on a variety of sources, presenting more than anything, a behind the scenes look at life in the Dyson household.
Images: Numerous



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Date: 1923
Author: William Witchell, Assistant at the Royal Observatory
Title: How Greenwich Time is obtained
About: Published in The Illustrated London News on 21 April 1823, pp.642–44. Until the end of January 1923, Witchell was one of the observers on the Airy Transit Circle. This well illustrated account is both authoritative and informative, filling in many details about the process by which the accuracy of Greenwich Mean Time was maintained.
Images: Seven


 


 

 

Date: 1930–1972
Author: Donald H Sadler, former Superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office
Title: A Personal History of HM Nautical Almanac Office, 30 October 1930–18 February 1972
About: Having joined HM Nautical Almanac Office in 1930, Sadler was appointed Superintendent in 1936, the year that the Office rejoined the Observatory. Sadler's account covers the evacuation of the Office to Bath, and contains much information that has not been recorded elsewhere.
Images: One



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Date: Late 1930s
Author: Anonymous
Title: Greenwich inaugure l'horloge a quartz, contemporaine de la bombe atomique  
About: Published in the 24 February 1946 edition of Le Patriote Illustré (p.122–125), this four page article is primarily about the new quartz clock at Greenwich. It contains numerous pre war illustrations, several of which are not known to exist elsewhere. The clock was installed in 1939 and moved to Abinger in 1943.
Images: Fifteen



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Date: 1942–1949
Author: Clarice Chapman, former Junior Assistant in the Solar Department
Title: Seven Years and Seven Days, Living and working with the Solar Department of the Royal Observatory Greenwich 1942–1949. A mini-autobiography
About: Appointed as a youngster in 1942, Chapman was assigned to the Solar Department, which at that time, was the only department to be fully operational at Greenwich. Having moved with the Department to Herstmonceux in 1949, Chapman resigned just seven weeks later to care for her mother. Her permission to publish this account is gratefully acknowledged.
Images: None

© Clarice Chapman, 2004

  Transcript in preparation

 


 

 

Date: 1948–1990
Author: George Alan Wilkins, former Superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office
Title: A Personal History of the Royal Greenwich Observatory at Herstmonceux Castle 1948–1990
About: Having joined the Observatory in 1948, George Wilkins was appointed Superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office in 1970. His extensive account, which runs to over 350 pages is essential reading. It is meticulously organised into numerous sections with an abundance of useful appendices.
Images: One

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Date: 1951–1957
Author: Phillip Gething, former Scientific Officer in the Meridian Department
Title: Recollections of Greenwich and Herstmonceux
About: Dr Phillip Gething, joined the Meridian Department at Greenwich as a Scientific Officer in 1951. He moved with the Observatory to Herstmonceux in 1953, where he remained for several years. In retirement, he wrote his recollections. His permission to publish them on this website is gratefully acknowledged.
Images: None

Copyright: © Phillip Gething, 2014

Click here to read the recollections

 


 

 

Date: 1970–1975
Author: Ian Glass, Infrared Astronomer
Title: Royal Greenwich Observatory, October 1970 – September 1975
About: Ian Glass, joined the Observatory as a Senior Research Fellow, but was later appointed to the position of Senior Scientific Officer and then Principal Scientific Officer. Following a year at Herstmonceux, he spent the next three years at the Cape before returning to Herstmonceux in 1974. Although his time at the Observatory was relatively short, it encompassed a highly unsettled period which saw both the retirement of Richard Woolley and the rapid departure of his successor, the Observatory's first Director, Margaret Burbidge.
Images: Five


Copyright: Text © Ian Glass, 2017. Images © Ian Glass & Robin Catchpole, 2017



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Greenwich inaugure l’horloge a quartz, contemporaine de la bombe atomique