Friday, 29 May 2009

Preparing for Visitation Day

RH says..... Visitation Day was not only an inspection of the Observatory by the Board of Visitors, but it was also an open day for a large number of guests, including journalists (as this Times report for the 1898 Visitation shows), and required a lot of preparation.

Report on the 1898 Visitation to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich from The Times.
Chief Assistant Frank Dyson was also preparing for his upcoming wedding and to move into a new home, and in her biography of Dyson, his daughter writes of this period: “With his new work at the Observatory and his private plans, Frank spent March, April, May and early June in a fever of excitement and activity. The first Saturday in June was the traditional Visitation Day..... There was a luncheon in the octagon room and a garden party afterwards. Lord Kelvin, as President of the Royal Society, was Chairman of the Board of Visitors in 1894. At any ordinary time Dyson would have been thrilled at the opportunity of talking to this famous scientist and of meeting so many other eminent men. But his mind was in such a whirl between stars and carpets, telescopes and mahogany furniture, that his first Visitation Day (which should have been a red-letter day) passed by almost unnoticed.” - although we'll shortly see from Frank's journal that the day certainly did not go unrecorded.

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