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Papers of George Lyon Tupman, 1864 - 1925

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 59

Scope and Contents

RGO 59 contains records of observations and calculations made at the Hillfoot Observatory, Harrow; papers relating to the Transit of Venus of 1874, including the notebooks and journals of observing stations; and papers concerning miscellaneous astronomical work. Many of the volumes contain loose papers. There is one item in French.


  • Creation: 1864 - 1925


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

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

George Lyon Tupman (1838- 1922) was born at Boulogne on 7 September 1838. He was educated at the Royal Naval School, New Cross, and then joined the Royal Marine Artillery as a Second Lieutenant, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the time of his retirement in 1880. Tupman was interested in astronomy from a young age. His early work included estimates of the velocity of meteors and a catalogue of meteor radiants based mainly on his own observations in the Mediterranean. He is best known, however, for his work on the Transits of Venus of 1874 and 1882. In 1874 he took charge of the expedition to observe the Transit of Venus from Honolulu, organising the observers, equipment and shipping, and overseeing the setting up of the telescopes at the different stations. During the expedition, Tupman was based at the Sandwich Islands, where he carried out many vital preliminary observations. After his return, he spent four years as a volunteer at Greenwich working on the reduction of the observations, at the request of Astronomer Royal, George Airy. In 1882 he observed the Transit of Venus at Christchurch, New Zealand, and also set up the Hillfoot Observatory at Harrow, where he made many observations of faint stars on the meridian, as well as lunar occultations of comets and minor planets. Tupman's other interests included geology, microscopy, natural history, archaeology. He was also interested in wireless telegraphy, and had a wireless station at his home until 1914, when it was removed by the Postmaster-General. He married Rebecca Wetherill of Philadelphia, USA, in 1876. The couple had no children. Tupman died on 3 November 1922.


10 archive box(es) : paper/photograph

1 bundle(s)

1 envelope(s)

1 photographic print(s)

Language of Materials



Other Finding Aids

A handlist is kept in the Manuscript Reading Room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The provenance of the records is not known. They were possibly presented directly to the R.G.O. by Tupman.

Existence and Location of Copies

The following items have been digitised on Cambridge Digital Library: RGO 6/276, RGO 59/56/1-4, RGO 59/58, RGO 59/69, RGO 59/70. Links are provided at item levels.


This description was created by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. With amendments by Zoe A. Rees in Nov. 2008 and by Dr Emma Saunders in December 2016.

Date information

DateText: circa 1864- 1925.


Tupman, George Lyon

Finding aid date

2007-05-23 13:37:09+00:00

Includes index.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom