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Correspondence on time signals, 1884 - 1913

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 7/254

Scope and Contents

Miscellaneous correspondence and related papers on the following subjects:

Covering letter from W.H.M. Christie to a report by the Board of Visitors, received with thanks by C.A.B. Patey, 1888.

Letter from W.H. Preece regarding Treasury matters, 1888.

Mr Raikes' reply to a parliamentary question on the time service transmitted by J.W. Board, 1888.

Letters from Christie to W.H. Preece regarding reforms of the time signal service, with letters of acknowledgement from Preece and suggestions for action, 1888.

Proposal by Christie to the Postmaster General for having one time signal at 1 pm, 1888.

Explanation by C.A.B. Patey of the chaos and inconvenience that would occur if the time service was cut or suspended, supported by R.D. Hardy of the Admiralty, 1888.

Christie's counter to the above, calling attention to the obligations of telegraph companies and other recipients, 1888.

Objection by E. MacGregor of the Admiralty to having only one time signal, 1888.

Christie's explanation of the difficulties of providing a precise signal and arguments in favour of having only one signal, 1888.

Chronology of events in the time signal dispute, 1884-1886.

The Admiralty's viewpoint on the time signal dispute and recommendations that the service should continue, expressed by R.D. Hardy, 1888.

Papers by W.W. Bryant regarding Westminster Clock gaining, 1893.

Attachments for two clocks to be fixed by Mr Arnold in the Observatory lobby, 1893.

T. Lewis on the registration of time signals by the chronograph, 1893.

'Short Time Current' by T. Lewis, 1893.

T. Lewis on a failure in the return signal, 1893.

T. Lewis on signals that are out of order, 1893.

C. Chree on corrections for the time signals for Kew Observatory, answered by T. Lewis, 1893.

Work undertaken by the Post Office, 1893.

Query by J. Margerison regarding the accuracy of the time signals, 1893.

Request from T. Lewis for the Post Office to make good the telegraph wires following an experiment involving Liverpool, 1893.

Memoranda regarding the failure of the time ball to fall precisely on time, 1894.

Errors in chronometers held by J.W. Backhouse since a great storm and questioning of the accuracy of the signal, answered by T. Lewis, 1894.

Enquiry by T. Wheate regarding the time ball being dropped too early, answered by H.D. Hollis, 1894.

Enquiry by C.C. Browning, conveyed by J.R. Sterndale Bennett, regarding the difference in mean solar time and apparent solar time so as to rectify a sundial, answered by H.P. Hollis, 1894.

Request by T. Lewis and H.P. Hollis for repairs to the circuits, 1894.

Requests from Christie for a relay for the mean solar clock and arrangements with W.R. Smith for its fitting, 1894-1895.

Correspondence with J. Barkie regarding the irregular 1 pm signal and a letter from T. Lewis containing time ball errors, 1894.

Enquiry by G. Perkins regarding the cost of a daily time signal, 1894.

Enquiry from G. Gasgoyne as to whether the time signal is mean or solar time, 1894.

Enquiry from R.J. Latty concerning the time that the time ball falls, 1895.

Errors of the 10 am and 1 pm signals, 1894.

Comments by E. Wilkins on the erratic time signals from Greenwich, answered by F.W. Dyson, 1894.

Correspondence between J.W. Backhouse, T. Lewis and W.R. Smith regarding a signal received 35 seconds fast, 1894.

Time signals for HMS 'Rambler', 1894.

Errors of time signals in February and May 1895.

Request for details of the errors of the time signals in February for J.W. Backhouse, 1895.

Request from W.V. Moore for time signals for HMS 'Research', engaged in surveying in the Shetland and Orkney Isles, 1895.

Request by F.W. Reynolds for information regarding the regulation of the time signal, answered by H. Outhwaite, 1895.

Request by A. Lancaster for information on the time balls and signals, answered by H. Outhwaite, 1895.

Enquiry by C. Muller about the regulation of the time gun at Chatham from Greenwich, answered by F.W. Dyson, 1895.

W.W. Bryant on the lack of a signal from the Westminster Clock, with a reply from Dent and Co. that the signal was sent, 1895.

Telegrams informing of signal failures, 1896.

Request from T. Lewis to W.R. Smith for the relay and batteries to be installed permanently for the clock Dent 2012, 1896.

Formal application by Christie that the relay become a permanent fixture, 1896.

T. Lewis on problems over batteries, 1897.

T. Lewis on failure in return signals, 1897.

E.J. Eldridge on the installation of new batteries, 1898.

Failure of the 10 am signal, 1898.

Memorandum on a signal from Greenwich, 1899.

T. Lewis on connecting the [National] Physical Observatory with the time signals, with a reply from W.R. Smith, 1899.

Complaint by the Standard Time Company about errors in the signal, with an explanation by Christie, 1901.

Summary of errors and faults in the time signals, 1901.

T. Lewis on faults in the telegraph wires and W. Moon on their maintenance by the Post Office, 1901.

T. Lewis on faults in the wiring, 1902.

Request and refusal for extra telegraph forms, including a specimen copy, 1903.

Failure of the galvanometers due to a thunderstorm, forwarded for repair by G. Laslett, 1903.

T. Lewis on difficulties with a constant current, 1903.

Receipt of a letter from J.D. Wood, 1903.

T. Lewis on problems over a constant current, 1904.

Memorandum regarding wires in a pipe from the Transit Circle Room to the Magnetic House, with a diagram, 1905.

Notice that two wires from the transit circle to the magnet basement are defective and a reply from H.S. Casey that the matter will be attended to, 1905.

Application and refusal for a time signal for Newport, Isle of Wight, for E.A. Milne's research, 1906.

Request from J. Martin to discuss the 'Greenwich Time Current' and possible changes to the service, 1908, with notes from the Observatory expressing apologies due to Christie's poor health.

Errors in the time signal, 1909.

Complaint by P. Mulligan regarding errors in the time signals, 1909.

Refutation of the error and the particulars of the time signals, 1909.

J. Hobb on variations in the hourly time current from Greenwich and an explanation of the variations by P.H. Cowell, 1909.

Length of hourly time signals, 1909.

Complaints forwarded by P. Mulligan that the signals are late, answered by Christie, 1909.

Errors of the time signals, 1909.

Investigation by W. Noble into the failure of the Devonport signal, 1910.

T. Lewis, A. Moir and F.W. Dyson on alterations to the Clock Room, with a note of work done, 1911-1912.

Request for information from the Hydrographer on the irregularity of the time ball clock, 1909.

Explanation by Christie of the exceptional circumstances leading to the error, 1909.

Report by T. Lewis on the 'Error of Time Signals', December 1908 to 7 January 1909, and reports by W.W. Bryant and W. Bowyer.

Tables of comparative clock rates, with a note on star observations, 1908-1909.

Tables of clock rates at other centres, 1909.

Proposal by H.R. Kempe to make the time signal at 9 am the main signal, 1910.

Reply from F.W. Dyson stating that this can be done, but that is inconvenient and will be an extra cost, 1910.

Correspondence with H.R. Kempe regarding plans to make the change and alterations to the Admiralty clocks, 1911.

Royal Observatory's acceptance of the Post Office plans, 1911.

Memorandum regarding alterations, 1911.

An error of Dent 2012 and the 10 am signal, 1910.

Query as to whether the change will affect the Paris time signal, 1911.

Request by R.M. Hook that the return signal from Deal be delayed from 4 to 10 seconds return signal, 1911.

Enquiries by F.W. Dyson regarding the suitability of the proposal, 1911.

Correspondence with J. Jermyn regarding the time taken for the time ball to fall, 1911.

Proposed arrangements by F.W. Dyson for altering the contact points on the Deal Time Ball so as to accommodate a 10-second return signal, 1911.

R.M. Hook's approval of Dyson's scheme, 1911.

Correction by F.W. Dyson regarding the actual procedure for dropping the time ball, acknowledged by R.M. Hook, 1911.

Notice from J. Jermyn that the Post Office engineers visited him, 1911.

Proposed adjustment to the tap of the Deal Time Ball to transmit the return signal, 1911.

Sanction by R.M. Hook to adjust the air relief tap of the Deal Time Ball, acknowledged by F.W. Dyson, 1911.

Enquiry from R.M. Hook about the arrival and installation of the new time ball apparatus, acknowledged in the affirmative by F.W. Dyson, 1912.

Notes and a preliminary report on the fitting of new apparatus for a return signal, 1912.

Covering letter to diagrams from R.M. Hook, acknowledged by F.W. Dyson, 1912.

Proposal from R.M. Hook to totally rewire the Deal time station, approved by F.W. Dyson, with arrangements to discuss the work, 1912.

R.M. Hook on difficulties with the strength of return signals from Admiralty stations, 1913.

Currents and systems employed for the return signals from the Admiralty stations, 1913.

R.M. Hook on adjustments and corrections made to the current to produce a positive return signal, 1913.

R.M. Hook on the replacement of a temporary connection with a switch for the Deal Time Ball, 1913.

Enquiry by Robbins and Appleton as to whether a copy of a letter to T. Wheate is correct, 1897.

Enquiry by J. Margerison regarding the accuracy of the time from the Bilston Hill and Greenwich observatories, answered by H. Outhwaite, 1897.

Suggestion by H. Deighton that the Observatory clock is 10 seconds wrong, answered by H. Outhwaite, 1897.

J.W. Backhouse on errors in the Greenwich time signal, 1898.

Complaint from E.D. and J.R. Fraser about the poor time service, 1899.

Request from S. Makoroff of the Russian Navy to test his chronometers, forwarded to the Post Office, 1899.

Request to drop the Deal Time Ball at 5pm, 1899.

S. Mordin and Co.'s request for the cost of an hourly time signal, forwarded to the Post Office, 1899.

Request from Spiers and Pond to receive the time signal, 1900.

Request for HMS 'Research' to received the time signal, 1900.

Request from R.W. Gibson to receive the time signal, 1900.

Request from T.W. Chapman to receive the time service, 1900.

Request from Elkington and Co. Ltd to receive the time signal, 1901.

Request from W.R. Bover to receive the time signal, 1901.

Request from N. Hankart to receive the time signal, 1902.

Request from R.L. Rennison for advice on receiving the time signal, 1903.

Request from J.A. Simpson to receive the time signal, 1904.

Request from the Magneta Company to receive the time signal, 1905.

Request from G.R. de Pegrecovey to receive the time signal, 1905.

Request from H. Piddock and Sons for notification of errors in the time service, 1905.

Admiralty telegrams regarding a temporary time signal, 1905.

Correspondence regarding E.J. Horniman's wish to synchronise London's clocks with Greenwich time, 1905.

Correspondence regarding an hourly time signal for F.W. Ogg, 1905.

Correspondence regarding information requested by C. Trevithick on the transmission and error of the time signal and the solar clock, 1906.

Correspondence regarding J. Milne's need for a public time signal on the Isle of Wight to synchonize seismographs, with a reply from Christie, 1906.

Correspondence with J. Ardron of the Post Office stating that the time signal costs too much, 1906.

J. Milne's explanation of the use of the time signal to measure shock waves, 1906.

Paper by J. Milne concerning recent advances in seismology and tables of seismographic readings, published by the British Association, 1906.

Revised proof of clock errors sent by P.H. Cowell, 1907.

Request by W.A. Palmer of the Salvation Army for a daily time signal, 1907.

Request by A. Goore for a time signal by telephone, 1908.

Enquiry from Seldon and Son about receiving correct time, 1908.

Request from W.A. Perry for a time signal, 1908.

Enquiry by G. Wilde about the first transmissions of time signals to the 'provinces', 1908.

Enquiry from E.G. Allen of the 'Jeweller and Metalmaker' regarding terms for synchronizing a clock, 1908.

Enquiry from S.M. Thompson regarding the first time that the time signal was sent to Glasgow, 1909.

Request by G. Preston for a time signal to synchronize the public clocks in Finsbury, 1909.

Correspondence with the Avon Electric Meter Co. regarding information it wants concerning synchronising clocks, 1910.

Suggestion from W. Saunders that the Greenwich time signals are inaccurate, 1910.

Correspondence with R.W. Shipway regarding having an indicator showing Greenwich time, 1910.

Enquiry by F. Adler regarding the exact time to synchronise a new model of a German clock, 1910.

Request from C. Hobday for a time signal to synchronise a tower clock, 1910.

Request from W.A. Slater for information on the time service, 1910.

Reminder from A. Sykes to the Admiralty of the functions performed by the Post Office for the time service, 1910.

Extract from the 'Morning Post' on cheaper rates for the 10 am time signal, 1910.

Request by G.W. Walker for a means of determining the personal errors in time signals, answered by F.W. Dyson, 1912.

Correspondence with C. Chree regarding errors in the time signals, 1912.


  • Creation: 1884 - 1913


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Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference


Finding aid date

2006-03-30 10:52:03+00:00

Includes index.



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