National Maritime Museum Manuscripts : Navigational workbook: workings on chronometers, Hartwell

Fisher, George

National Maritime Museum Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>After time spent as an astronomer on two Arctic voyages, the first with David Buchan on board HMS Dorothea in 1818, the second with William Parry in 1821 on HMS Fury seeking the North West Passage, as well as several expeditions to the warmer climes of the Mediterranean aboard the HMS Asia in 1831, George Fisher retired from the Navy on half pay in 1834 and took up the headship of the Royal Hospital School in Greenwich where he continued his academic interest in the causes of variation in the rates of chronometers whilst planning and overseeing the construction of the school's observatory.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This volume is part of two workbooks that Fisher produced in this period in regard to his work on the rates of chronometers, the other being <a href='/view/MS-FIS-00022'> (FIS/22)</a>. This volume contains results from a series of experiments that Fisher conducted to observe variations in the rates of chronometers. Fisher <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(17);return false;'> recorded (FIS/21:15)</a> the rates of twelve chronometers made by Arnold and Dent whilst they were relocated by Dent from Greenwich to the Hartwell Observatory.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The Hartwell Observatory was built between 1830 and 1839 by John Lee who inherited the property in 1827. Lee, a fellow member of the Royal Astronomical Society and its President from 1861 to 1863 also helped found the Royal Meteorological Society in 1850 in the library at Hartwell House. William Henry Smyth describes the house and the Hartwell Observatory established there, in <i>Aedes Hartwellianae: Or, Notices of the Manor and Mansion of Hartwell'</i>. Fisher published some of his results taken at the Observatory in the <i>Nautical Magazine</i> in 1837 along with a recommendation that a solution to the problem of accelerating rates in chronometers was the most important required contribution to navigational sciences of the day. Fisher also recorded the <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(16);return false;'> longitude of the Hartwell Observatory (FIS/21:14)</a> in extensive detail, annotated with explanations of his methodology whilst rating the chronometers by Arnold and Dent.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Note that folios 28 to 85 are blank; the text is inverted from folios 86 to 92.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Sophie Waring<br />History and Philosophy of Science<br />University of Cambridge<br /></p>

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