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The separation of the posts of RGO Director and Astronomer Royal, 1968-11 - 1972-07

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 147/3/1

Scope and Contents

File concerning the SRC’s decision to separate the posts of RGO Director and Astronomer Royal. When Astronomer Royal, Sir Richard Woolley was approaching retirement at the end of 1971, it became known that the SRC wanted the title of Astronomer Royal to be divorced from the job of Director RGO. There was strong opposition from RGO staff, as well as the two Astronomers Royal. The ultimate decision rested with the Government (Margaret Thatcher, as Secretary of State Education). She agreed to meet a delegation from the Institution of Professional Civil Servants (IPCS), of which Thomas was a member as Chair of the RGO Section. A decision to separate the roles was ultimately made, however, with Margaret Burbidge appointed as RGO Director and Sir Martin Ryle as Astronomer Royal.

The file includes: a photocopy of a signed petition to the Queen from Nov. 1968; minutes of an SRC meeting of 8 Jan. 1969; a photocopied statement and press notice on the separation issued by 10 Downing Street (July 1971); press cuttings; correspondence; notes taken at a meeting with Margaret Thatcher (11 Nov. 1971); an SRC press notice of the appointment of Margaret Burbidge; and a letter from Sir Martin Ryle to David Thomas re his appointment as AR (12 July 1972).

Other correspondents include Frank W. Clarke, John Hewitt and Margaret Thatcher (10 Downing Street; photocopies only), Sir Bryant Godman Irvine MP, Joy Penny, John Lyons, P.S. Laurie and David Thomas (representing the Herstmonceux section of the Institution of Professional Civil Servants, SRC Branch), and John Andrews (SRC).


  • 1968-11 - 1972-07

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1 folder(s) (1 folder) : Paper

Language of Materials


Finding aid date

2017-07-04 17:23:12+00:00


Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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