Skip to main content

Letters, Memoranda, and Journal, containing the History of Mr William Gooch [Fellow of Caius College], Astronomer of the Daedalus Transport, 1786 - 1835

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Mm.06.48

Scope and Contents

'Letters, Memoranda, and Journal, containing the History of Mr William Gooch [Fellow of Caius College], Astronomer of the Daedalus Transport: from the time of his entering College in 1786, to his premature end in 1792.' These letters, the greater portion of which are in Gooch's own writing,and written to his parents, give a complete history of his life, the assistance he met with in enabling him to come to College, the examination for his degree (1791), his appointment as Astronomer, and accounts of his voyage. There are many letters of Dr Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, to Gooch's father after the son's death, notes of the father's, and lengthy extracts made by him from his son's journal. At the end are some papers formerly in Sir Joseph Banks's possession, of which the last gives a detailed account of Gooch's death: several rough pen and pencil sketches are introduced. Prefixed is a letter from C. Nichols, an Alderman and Justice of the Peace at Yarmouth, and a statement respecting the volume by Dawson Turner, Esq., who donated it.


  • Creation: 1786 - 1835


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

William Gooch (1770-1792), astronomer, was born at Brockdish near Diss in Norfolk. He attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1791 as Second Wrangler. He was appointed by the Board of Longitude as astronomer to George Vancouver's expedition to the North-West coast of America. In August 1791 he sailed on the storeship Daedalus with the intention of meeting Vancouver at Nootka Sound. He was killed by Pahupu (Hawaiian warriors) on the island of Oahu before he was able to join Vancouver's ships.


1 volume(s) (200 numbered folios)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were presented to the University of Cambridge in c.1835 by Dawson Turner, a local historian of Norfolk. For further information on their provenance, including Turner's letter of donation, see the opening letters of the volume.

Existence and Location of Copies

This item has now been digitised and is available online on the Cambridge Digital Library.

Physical Description


Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom