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Adams: Notebooks and papers of Edgar Tarry Adams

Reference Code: GBR/0269/DCPP/ADA


  • Creation: 1901-1925 mainly


Biographical / Historical

Edgar Tarry Adams was born on 8 December 1852 and educated at Denmark Hill Grammar School before training at the City of London Brewery. In 1876, Edgar's father purchased the brewery of Stanton, Gray and Co. at Halstead, Essex, which Edgar eventually took over. He was interested in nautical matters all his life and owned several private yachts, with an extensive collection of navigational instruments. In 1897 he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Naval Architects and, in 1900, was admitted to Downing College as a Fellow Commoner, studying physics under Rev. T. C. Fitzpatrick, geology under Professor Hughes and astronomy under Sir Robert Ball. In 1907 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and Royal Astronomical Society. He was a keen amateur photographer, documenting village life, family, boat-building and landscapes. He was also prominent in local affairs, founding the Halstead Science and Art Club and a branch of the Boys’ Naval Brigade. On the outbreak of war, he was appointed Naval Recruiting Officer for Halstead and district and, in 1917, he was granted an honorary commission as a Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R. He died at Halstead on 29 July 1926.


5 item(s) (2 volumes, 2 files of loose papers and 1 item)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2023-24/029 - 1902 and 1906 notebooks transferred by University of Essex. See DCPP/ADA/3 for provenance note, 1985.

Related Materials

DCAT/1/1 (1914-15 correspondence) and DCAT/14/5 (pocket diary, 1902-3);

Science and Media Museum, Bradford: 1254 glass negatives, approximately 500 contact prints and several items of ephemera (Science and Media Museum, Bradford, ref. 1997-5003/995, digitised online), including photograph of Downing College Kitchen, 1901, with cook;

Royal Museums Greenwich: images and maritime instruments and models (Adams Collection).


  • Article by Adams on ‘The History and Uses of Navigating Instruments’ in The Encyclopaedia of Ships and Shipping (1908), reprinted in The Dictionary of Scientific Instruments (1921).
  • Obituary in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 87, p.249.
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Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Downing College Repository

Downing College Archive
Downing College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1DQ United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 762905