The published output of the Royal Observatory falls into six categories:
Observations and associated catalogues, Annals, Bulletins and Circulars
The Nautical Almanac and associated tables, along with the later spin off volumes
Notes, Reports, Manuals, house journals, etc
Visitor Guides and material for non-professionals
This section deals with the The Annual Reports.
Annual Reports to the Board of Visitors were published from 1836 until 1964. They were produced both as appendices to Greenwich Observations (typically in the volume for the preceding year), and as stand-alone documents. The reporting year originally ran for about 12 months, both begining and ending in May. In 1882, Christie instigated a reporting year that ended on 20 May, bringing it forward to 10 May in 1889. There it remained, until Spencer Jones brought it forward to 30 April in 1936, and then 31 March in 1955. When the Board of Visitors ceased to exist in 1964, regular (but less detailed reports) continued to be published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (as they had been since 1960). Separate annual reports were reinstated by Hunter in 1974 and published as separate booklets under the title Royal Greenwich Observatory Reports. Covering periods whose length varied from nine months to a year, the last report of this type to be published was for the year ending 30 September 1980. Boksenberg subsequently published a single glossy report under the title Royal Greenwich Observatory, Telescopes Instruments Research and Services, which covered the five years from 1 October 1980 through to 30 September 1985. This was followed by a slimmer version covering the years 1985 to 1987, after which, no further reports appear to have been published.
Most of the reports can be accessed 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.
Click here for a text-only (OCR) view of the reports for 1955-1964 (from Hathi Trust). Although the formatting leaves a lot to be desired, much of the key information is accessible given a degree of patience.
Extracts from the Reports of the Astronomer Royal relating to the Buildings and Grounds (1836–1964)
Extracts from the Reports of the Astronomer Royal relating to Chronometers (1912–1964)
Extracts from the Reports of the Astronomer Royal relating to the Time Service (1912–1964)
Extracts from the Reports of the Astronomer Royal and Directors relating to the Library and Archives (1836–1987)
Alternative copies available from Google books
* Some pages missing in this version
These reports are not currently available on-line.
Year ending 1974
1 January 1975 – 30 September 1975
1 October 1976 – 30 September 1976
1 October 1976 – 30 September 1977
1 October 1977 – 30 September 1978
1 October 1978 – 30 September 1979
1 October 1979 – 30 September 1980
These two reports are not currently available on-line.
1 October 1980 – 30 September 1985
1 October 1985 – 30 September 1987