Papers of the Board of Longitude : Papers on payments for Board work

Papers of the Board of Longitude

<p>This volume deals with the finances of the Board of Longitude from the 1760s to 1810s. It includes accounts, bills, and signed receipts from a range of actors. Detailed accounts [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(615);return false;'>342r</a>] by <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Ibbetson'>John Ibbetson</a> covering his tenure as Secretary to the Board, 1769-1782, link to many of the items included in the fifty one groups of documents. These show that the main financial business of the Board in this period revolved around the repair and upkeep of instruments, expenses paid to astronomers on expeditions, and the publication of the Nautical Almanac.</p> <p>Bills and receipts from instrument makers include documents from [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(9);return false;'>5r</a>] <a href='/search?keyword=George%20Adams'>George Adams</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=agent-165353;makerReference=agent-165353'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , from [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(419);return false;'>230r</a>] <a href='/search?keyword=Thomas%20Earnshaw'>Thomas Earnshaw</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/14148.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , from [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(45);return false;'>25r</a>] <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Arnold'>John Arnold</a> (see portrait in the British Museum [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=55293&partid=1'>link</a>] ), from [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(703);return false;'>393r</a>] <a href='/search?keyword=Larcum%20Kendall'>Larcum Kendall</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/usercollections/f9c8ad8b198e42bb44947210a901ffb3.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , and from [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(377);return false;'>207r</a>] <a href='/search?keyword=George%20Dollond'>George Dollond</a>. Even these financial missives were used by makers to justify their work to the Board, and compare it favourably to other makers. A bill [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(55);return false;'>30r</a>] from Arnold includes an account of how he had improved the going of a timekeeper by cleaning it. Earnshaw included a detailed account [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(426);return false;'>233v</a>] of the going of Kendall's K1 [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/79143.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='RMG icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] before and after he had cleaned it, and compared this to John Harrison's H4 [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.nmm.ac.uk/collections/objects/79142.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='RMG icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] . Receipts [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(533);return false;'>295r</a>] also record an allowance paid to the Secretary <a href='/search?keyword=George%20Gilpin'>George Gilpin</a> for care of the Board's instruments. Expedition expenses include payments [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(101);return false;'>56r</a>] to <a href='/search?keyword=William%20Bayly'>William Bayly</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/154073.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] for his expenses on Cook's third voyage [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=event-81;eventReference=event-81'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='RMG icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] in <a href='/search?keyword=HMS%20Discovery'>HMS Discovery</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/13374.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , notably the materials to set up an observatory, payments [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(521);return false;'>287r</a>] to <a href='/search?keyword=Matthew%20Flinders'>Matthew Flinders</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/127646.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] for his observations on <a href='/search?keyword=HMS%20Investigator'>HMS Investigator</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/86331.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , and payments [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(355);return false;'>193r</a>] to <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Crosley'>John Crosley</a> for his observations and expenses on <a href='/search?keyword=HMS%20Providence'>HMS Providence</a>.</p> <p>Publication of the Nautical Almanac incurred costs in purchasing paper, paying a number of publishers, paying for engraving and publishing specific prints, and of course for the complex, annual work of computing and comparing the tables. The largest single group of receipts and bills [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(121);return false;'>67r</a>] in the volume is to the Board's main publisher <a href='/search?keyword=Thomas%20Bensley'>Thomas Bensley</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=agent-1772;makerReference=agent-1772'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] . There are also payments [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(497);return false;'>273r</a>] in the 1780s-90s for work to maintain the Board's warehouses where paper and Almanacs were stored, and payments [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(605);return false;'>335r</a>] for re-painting a room in <a href='/search?keyword=Greenwich%20Hospital'>Greenwich Hospital</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/106328.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] which had been allowed to the Commissioners for storing instruments, but had been damaged by fire.</p> <p>Katy Barrett<br />History and Philosophy of Science<br />University of Cambridge<br /> </p>


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