Friday, 13 February 2009
Tuesday February 13, 1894
Sir Henry Thompson came to see the Obsy with reference to his offer of a new telescope (11.30 to 4p.m.). He definitely offered a sum of £5000 for a Photo-telescope of say 26 inches aperture & 22ft. 6in focal length similarly mounted to the Astrographic Equatorial but of double the size, to carry the Merz 12 ¾ in refractor as a visual telescope & also the Thompson 9in photoheliograph and authorized me to enter into negotiations with Sir H. Grubb about it.
William Christie, Astronomer Royal
For more information about Thompson and the telescopes that he donated to the ROG, see the notes page here. The sum of money Thompson offered was very considerable, as Christie's slight tone of disbelief ("he definitely offered...") suggests. As a comparison, it cost about £2000 to build each wing of the New Physical Observatory, the Astronomer Royal received a salary of £1000 and the Chief Assistant £500-600. According to the Measuring Worth website, £5000 is the equivalent of either £408,104.17, using the 2007 retail price index or £2,322,817.37, using 2007 average earnings.