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Correspondence on the Observatory and Herstmonceux, 1934 - 1957

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 9/1

Scope and Contents

Correspondence and some related papers regarding the general administration of the approaches, grounds and interior of Herstmonceux Castle; the removal of the Royal Observatory from Greenwich to Herstmonceux; and the history of the Royal Observatory and Herstmonceux Castle. The papers include the following items:

Letter from G. Jones to R. Woolley concerning the gift of his painting of the old buildings at Greenwich, 1956.

Correspondence regarding the pair of swans for the lake at Herstmonceux Castle, 1956.

Account referring to binoculars tested by the Observatory during the First World War, 1956.

Correspondence with the National Portrait Gallery regarding a portrait of King Charles II, 1956.

Correspondence with Herstmonceux Parish Council regarding the place name signs erected at the approaches to Herstmonceux Village, 1956.

Letters from R. Woolley to the Director of the Meteorological Office informing him of the discontinuation of meteorological observations at Herstmonceux, 1956.

Correspondence regarding astronomical longitudes and the cessation of time determinations at Greenwich, and on establishing the correction between Herstmonceux and the world wide network, 1956.

Copy of letters from R. Atkinson to A. Danjon regarding the Danjon Astrolabe and meridian instruments, 1956.

Correspondence concerning longitude determination between Greenwich and Herstmonceux, with a paper titled 'The Longitude of Herstmonceux', drafted by R. Atkinson, 1956.

Correspondence regarding an application to set up a National Watch and Clock Testing Authority, 1954-1955.

Correspondence between H. Spencer Jones and D.W. Barrett regarding the accurate determination of the longitude and latitude of Herstmonceux, 1953-1954.

Correspondence with the curator of the Sussex Archaeological Society concerning the two burial urns found in the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle, 1953-1954.

Correspondence between the Astronomer Royal and the Corporation of London concerning the obelisk, 1954.

Correspondence regarding the Octagon Room at Greenwich, 1953.

Correspondence between the Borough Surveyor of Boston, Lincolnshire, and the Astronomer Royal concerning the erection of a mark on the Greenwich Meridian that runs through Boston, 1953.

Statement of items of general interest concerning the move to Herstmonceux that might be included in the First Lord's Speech, prepared by H. Spencer Jones, 1953.

Correspondence with Messrs Dorothy Wilding (Portraits) Ltd concerning signed photographs of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to be obtained for the Staircase Hall in Herstmonceux Castle, 1953.

Correspondence regarding the opening of the Royal Observatory buildings at Greenwich to the public during Coronation Year, 1952.

Correspondence with the journal 'Engineering' regarding the Greenwich Time Ball, 1952.

Correspondence with the National Maritime Museum concerning the Bradley portrait and its restoration by A. Robin Ashton, 1952.

Correspondence regarding the use of the castle grounds for Royal Air Force field exercises, 1952.

Correspondence regarding an alternative site for the present meteorological station at Greenwich within the museum grounds, 1952.

Correspondence concerning the future of the old buildings at Greenwich, 1952.

Correspondence with Miss C.A. Penny concerning double observations, 1951.

Correspondence with the Admiralty regarding the restoration of Halley's tomb, 1951.

Letter from Charles Dillon Perrine to Spencer Jones voicing his displeasure at the Royal Observatory's departure from Greenwich, 1951.

Correspondence with F.C.G. Carr of the National Maritime Museum concerning plans for a Museum of Astronomy and Navigation in the Old Observatory buildings, 1950.

Article on 'Halley's Transit' by P.S. Laurie, 1950.

Notes by P.S. Laurie on Bradley's 8-foot brass quadrant, 1950.

Correspondence between R. Atkinson and H. Spencer Jones regarding the meridian discrepancy of 5ms and the difference in longitude between Greenwich and Herstmonceux, 1950.

Correspondence concerning climatological observations at Greenwich, 1950.

Notes on Edward Tyer compiled by P.S. Laurie from manuscripts at the Royal Observatory, 1950.

Report on 'Causes of the Apparent Discrepancy between the Geodetic Longitude of the Greenwich Meridian as accepted for the Old Principal New Primary Re-triangulation', sent from the Ordnance Survey Office, 1950.

Correspondence between R. Atkinson and Colonel Shewell concerning latitude differences and the transfer of the Greenwich Meridian from the old transit instrument of Bradley to the Airy Transit Circle, 1950.

Notes by R. Atkinson on the relationship between the Royal Observatory and the Admiralty, 1950.

Correspondence between H. Spencer Jones and N. J. Margetts concerning how the designation 'Royal Observatory' came to be used, 1950.

Correspondence with the Committee of Weights and Measures Legislation regarding the re-determination of the primary standards, 1950.

Correspondence concerning bomb damage to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 1944.

Correspondence between W.H.A. Robertson and Co. Ltd and Spencer Jones concerning time balls, 1944.

Correspondence concerning the presentation to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, of a log book of W. Bradley dated 1787-1792, 1937.

Correspondence concerning a portrait of Nevil Maskelyne, 1935.


  • 1934 - 1957

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 (


1 bundle(s) (1 bundle)

Language of Materials


The UK Archival Thesaurus has been integrated with our catalogue, thanks to Kings College London and the AIM25 project for their support with this.