Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Sunday March 4, 1894

Returned from Sandwich this evening

William Christie, Astronomer Royal

RH says.... Not a great deal happened at the Royal Observatory on a Sunday that was not entirely routine and Christie evidently often went away over the weekend. Sandwich, a Kent port and home of the famous Royal St George's golf course, may have either been the home of a friend of relative, or Christie had a second house there. I've not yet seen anything in the RGO archives that mentions his connection Sandwich, so this is just a guess.

E0007 Dent No. 2016 © NMMThe routine work, that continued even on a Sunday, included the regular uninterrupted series of observations such as meterological readings, the daily photograph of the sun (depending on the weather) to record sunspot activity and, of course, time-determination observations and the maintenance of time-signals. From 1852 to 1893 the latter, sent by telegraph, were controlled by the Shepherd Master Clock, but from May 1893 this was superceded by a clock made by Dent & Co. (no. 2012), one of several made for the 1874 Transit of Venus expedition. It was very similar to the one pictured here, Dent 2016, which was adapted in 1923 to be used as the primary standard for the BBC's 'six-pip' time signal.

A1905 John Flamsteed, First Astronomer Royal © NMM
Incidentally, while Christie was off playing golf (or whatever he did do in Sandwich) this day saw the 219th anniversary (or 334th anniversary in 2009) of the Royal Warrant that officially appointed John Flamsteed as Astronomer Royal, or Charles II's "astronomical observator". See Greenwich Day-by-day for more Greenwich-related anniversaries like this.

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