Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The history of the Kew Observatory is far too 
complicated to be fully described here. It was first 
instituted owing to the desire of many of the foremost 
men in physical science, in the early days of the 
British Association, to have access to a place where 
physical experiments might be made, and new 
instruments tested. The Observatory stands in the 
Old Deer Park, Richmond, adjoining the Kew 
Gardens. It was originally built for the amusement 
of George in., while he was more or less insane, and 
it was begged for by the philosophers and allotted 
by Government to their use. Its maintenance was 
defrayed by considerable grants annually voted by the 
British Association, that mounted at one time to as 
much as ^600. This became far too onerous a 
charge for their means, so various changes were made 
in its government and maintenance. At length it 
fell into the hands of the Royal Society, and was 
managed by a committee appointed by that body 
from among its members. It paid its way by charges 
made for standardising instruments, supplemented by 
occasional grants. Later on, the interest of a 
handsome endowment of ^ made by Mr. J. P. 
Gassiott, of whom more presently, placed it in a fairly 
firm position. 
At the time when Sir Edward Sabine caused me 
to become a member of the Managing Committee, the 
Kew Observatory had obtained, through his exertions, 
a high and wide reputation for the exactness of the 
observations made there, and it had become the place 
where the outfits of all magnetic observatories, English 
and foreign, were standardised, and where intending 
observers were instructed. It was, in fact, the Central 


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