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Royal Observatory Greenwich Drawings and Paintings : View of the Magnetic Observatory and the observing rooms (in the distance) from the south

Royal Observatory Greenwich Drawings and Paintings

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Pencil drawing made and presented by Miss Elizabeth Smith, of Brampton near Chesterfield, Derbyshire and initialled 'E.S.' The drawing shows a view of the Magnetic Observatory from the south, taken from the Magnetic Ground. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> In 1816, the Admiralty ordered the Astronomer Royal, John Pond, to make regular observations of magnetic variation (declination). Pond's 'Magnetic House', built in the Lower Garden, proved to have unstable foundations and was demolished in 1824, at which point observations ceased. Pond's successor, George Airy, recognised the importance of magnetic work and persuaded the Admiralty to fund the establishment and staffing of a new Magnetic Observatory. Further grounds in the park were secured and an extension to the south fenced off in 1837. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Airy's Magnetic Observatory was completed in May 1838. This drawing was made the following year. The building, which stood where the Peter Harrison Planetarium now stands, was cruciform in shape. It was built of wood on a concrete foundation, materials such as iron and brick being excluded to avoid their risk of residual magnetism.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> For further views of the Magnetic Observatory, see <a href='/view/'> (RGO 116/3/3)</a>, <a href='/view/'> (RGO 116/3/11)</a>, <a href='/view/'> (RGO 116/5/2)</a>, <a href='/view/'> (RGO 116/5/6)</a> and <a href='/view/'> (RGO 116/5/9)</a>.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>For a brief history of the Magnetic Observatory see, <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''></a></p>

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