Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Saturday February 17, 1894

RH says.....
The explosion of 15 February continued to excite the media, and the Observatory's interest is suggested by the fact that the RGO archives contain many newspaper clippings and letters referring to the incident. The catalogue lists the following newspaper reports, and it's interesting to see that at least two suggested that the Observatory was indeed the intended target:

The Globe, 16 February 1894: 'Bomb explosion in Greenwich Park'.
Kentish Mercury, 16 February 1894: 'Fatal explosion in Greenwich Park'.
Daily Graphic, 16 February 1894: 'Explosion in Greenwich Park'.
Daily Telegraph, 16 February 1894: 'Mysterious occurrence in Greenwich Park'.
St James's Gazette, 16 February 1894: 'The Greenwich explosion - the victim identified'.
Pall Mall Gazette, 16 February 1894: 'Anarchism at home and abroad'.
Central News, 16 February 1894: 'French Anarchists in London'.
Evening News, 16 February 1894: 'Bombs and Anarchy'.
The Echo, 16 February 1894: 'Startling explosion at Greenwich - plot to blow up the Observatory'.
Evening News and Post, 16 February 1894: 'Bombs and Anarchy - a French anarchist is blown to pieces in Greenwich Park, extraordinary career'.
The Star, February 1894: 'An Anarchist Accident, Frenchman the victim of his own explosive in Greenwich Park'.
The Morning, 16 February 1894: 'Anarchist attempt to blow up Greenwich Observatory'.
The Standard, 17 February 1894: 'Anarchists in London - the Greenwich explosion'.
Daily Graphic, 17 February 1894: 'The Greenwich explosion - raid on anarchist club'.
Daily Graphic, 17 February 1894: 'The Greenwich explosion - illustrated'.
Larks, vol. 2, 19 February 1894: 'The Ball's Pond Banditti at Greenwich Observatory'.
Kentish Mercury, 23 February 1894: 'The bomb explosion in Greenwich Park - opening of the inquest on Bourdin'

The incident focused attention once again on the Observatory's unique position in the middle of a Royal Park - somewhat isolated yet accessible to any member of the public. Access and management of the park were also in the hands of the Parks authorities rather than the Observatory, which meant that observers had to have keys to the park gates for use after dark and that issues ranging from overgrown trees to stray sheep had to be dealt with by correspondence. Apart from the sheep, many of these issues remain today, meaning that access to after-hours public events, such as Evenings with the Stars, still has to be carefully organised.

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