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The Piazzi Blog

31st December 2016

Fanny Copeland's Grave

Fanny Susan Copeland's Grave

Like her father, Fanny Copeland maintained a strong interest in the Balkan regions. Following the First World War she worked as  translator for the Yugoslav committee during the Paris peace conference. Moving to Yugoslavia she became lecturer in English at Ljubljana University until the German invasion in 1941. In 1939 she was awarded the O.B.E. for acting as vice consul. A keen alpinist Fanny climbed Triglav (9,300 feet) with two other mountaineers to celebrate Hogmanay. When she died in Ljubljana in 1970  she was buried at Dovje at the entrance to the valley of Vrata. image credit Wikimedia Commons.

24th December 2016

Fanny Copeland

Fanny Susan Copeland

Professor Copeland and his second wife Theodora Benfey had one son and two daughters. Born at Birr Castle, Parsontown, County Offaly, Ireland in 1872, the astronomer’s daughter Fanny was studying at school in Berlin when her father was appointed Astronomer Royal for Scotland in 1889. The family moved to 15 Royal Terrace the official residence of the Astronomer Royal. Fanny attended Fettes Music Academy where she met her future husband, school master and an opera composer John Edmund Barkworth. The couple were married in 1894 at St. George's Chapel, York Place not far from the Calton Hill. image credit Wikimedia Commons

18th December 2016

Teufelsschloss

Teufelsschloss

While working at Göttingen Observatory, Dr. Ralph Copeland and Dr. Karl Nikolai Jensen Börgen were invited to join the Second German North Polar Expedition which set out in the Germania and the Hansa to explore the east coast of Greenland in 1869. Although Dr. Börgen was attacked by a polar bear, the two astronomers made regular geomagnetic, meteorological and auroral observations. Dr. Copeland was awarded the Order of the Red Eagle from the King of Prussia for the work he carried out during the expedition. image credit Wikimedia Commons

11th December 2016

Prof Auwers

Professor Auwers

Born in Göttingen in 1838 and educated at the University of Göttingen, Georg Friedrich Julius Arthur von Auwers taught at the University of Königsberg. As a telescope powerful enough to observe the companion stars of Sirius and Procyon did not exist, the astronomer used his knowledge of astrometry to locate the stars from the effect they had on the main star's motion. Appointed secretary to the Berlin Academy in 1866, the astronomer was responsible for setting up expeditions to measure the transits of Venus in order to measure the distance from the Earth to the Sun with greater accuracy. Using the scientific data to calculate the dimensions of the Solar System with increased precision and accuracy, he embarked on a project aimed at unifying all available sky charts. Although the University of Edinburgh conferred an honorary degree on Professor Auwers, he was unable to travel to Scotland to receive the honour due to ill health. The astronomer died in Berlin in 1915. image credit Wikimedia Commons 

4th December 2016

Ralph Copeland Grave

Ralph Copeland Grave

In 1893 Professor Ralph Copeland the third Astronomer Royal for Scotland undertook an independent reduction of the positional observations made by Professor Thomas Henderson and his assistant Alexander Wallace. To bring himself up to date with the latest scientific data, he travelled to Berlin to consult Professor Friedrich Julius Arthur Auwers at the Prussia Academy of Science. Professor Copeland was still working on the introduction when he died in 1905.  ‘A New Reduction of Henderson’s catalogue for the Epoch 1840.0  which was completed by Dr Halm was published in Volume II of the Annals of the Royal Observatory the following year. Professor Copeland is buried in Morningside Cemetery. image credit Wikimedia Commons

27th November 2016

Collective

Collective Exhibition

Developed by Anastasia Philimonos W.W.W. (Whole World Working) opens at the Collective on December 3rd. The exhibition explores  W.W.W. Buckminster Fuller’s utopianism in relation to geopolitical reality, due to the increase in interest in nationalist and isolationist politics since 2008. Works and texts by Michel de Broin, Alessandro Di Massimo, R. Buckminster Fuller and Ben Russell with design by Kaisa Lassinaro, Yorgos Stavridis with Dimitris Aatos Ellinas invite the public to focus on the contradictions between geopolitical restraints and allegedly borderless information technologies.

20th November 2016

Paris Meridian

Paris Meridian

Published by the Paris Observatory in 1679, the contributors to the Connaissance des temps used observations of eclipses in Jupiter’s satellites to aid mariners to calculate longitude. The Bureau des Longitudes was founded by the National Convention in 1795 following a report drawn up jointly by the Committee of Navy, the Committee of Finances and the Committee of State Education to reverse the decline in France’s naval power. The report proposed that improvements in navigation should be made in order to lay the foundations for the restoration of the country’s naval strength. Given precedence over France’s astronomical establishments including the Paris Observatory, the Bureau was also instructed to regain control of the seas from the Royal Navy by improving the accuracy of astronomical observations and the use of reliable clocks when tracking the longitude of ships. image credit Wikimedia Commons

13th November 2016

US Navy Observatory

The US Naval Observatory

The U.S. Navy used the almanac published by HM Nautical Almanac Office until 1849 when Congress passed an act authorising the preparation and publication of data necessary for navigation. The U.S. Nautical Almanac Office was established the same year for that purpose. First published in 1852, the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac contained data for the year 1855. The almanac was published in two parts until 1881. Part one entitled the American Nautical Almanac contained data for the meridian of Greenwich on the Sun, Moon, lunar distances, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Part two contained data for the meridian of Washington on the Sun, Moon, planets, principal stars, eclipses, occultations and other phenomena. image credit US Naval Observatory

6th November 2016

Thomas Young

Thomas Young

Educated at Edinburgh University, Thomas Young was appointed superintendent of HM Nautical Almanac Office in 1818. In 1824 Thomas Henderson contacted Dr Young suggesting a method of computing an observation involving the position of a fixed star and the Moon. Impressed by the astronomer’s method, the superintendent included his contribution in the 1827 almanac. In addition to his method being published in the 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831 almanacs, the latter editions contained a second method. Although Thomas Young recommended that Thomas Henderson be appointed author of the Nautical Almanac, the job was given to John Pond the Astronomer Royal in 1829.

30th October 2016

Earl of Crawford

Earl of Crawford

The Bibliotheca Lindesiana owned by James Ludovic Lindsay the Earl of Crawford was one of the most impressive private collections in the U.K. Based on the plan that knowledge is divided into the following categories: Theology, Jurisprudence, Science and Arts, Belles Lettres, History, Genealogy, Archaeology, Biography, Literary History, Bibliography and Encyclopaedias, the bulk of the library was kept at Haigh Hall near Wigan in Lancashire, the remainder at Balcarres. In addition to donating astronomical instruments from his own observatory, the earl donated books on mathematics and the physical sciences from his library to the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh in 1888. image credit Wikimedia Commons

23rd October 2016

Library

Library Display Boards

Display boards telling the story of the114th Battalion (Haldimand), Canadian Expeditionary Force are now on display in the Scottish Department, Central Library.  Also known as ‘Brock's Rangers’ the battalion was authorized in December 1915, sailing for the U.K. in October the following year. Arriving at the Caledonian Station on 11th December the battalion marched to Edinburgh Castle for a visit. The members of the battalion probably heard the One o’clock Gun firing as they marched along Princes Street on their way to the fortress 

16th October 2016

Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin

Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin

Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin was Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. The inventor of the cable car, he was also an electrician, cable engineer, economist, lecturer, linguist, actor and artist. In 1857 he was employed by R.S. Newall & Co., Gateshead. In addition to being involved in the manufacture of the first Atlantic cable. the firm also manufactured the cable connecting the master clock at the observatory on the Calton Hill with the electric clock designed by Frederick James Ritchie which stood beside the time gun on the Half Moon Battery.

10th October 2016

Observatory Entrance

Observatory Entrance

Work to transform the City Observatory complex on the Calton Hill will begin in early November. Working in partnership with the City Council, the Collective aim to transform the site into a new type of City Observatory. The historical site will provide a meeting place for research, science, heritage and contemporary art. A space will be created in which artists, producers and members of the public will meet, debate and explore both the historic and the contemporary aspects of the building and its surroundings. See here

9th October 2016

World Animal Day

World Animal Day Ceremony

The photograph shows the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and the Reverend Neil Gardner the Chaplain to Edinburgh Castle during the ceremony to mark World Animal Day. Corporal John Moffat played 'The Black Bear' following the firing of the One o'Clock Gun. image credit Alan Watson.

6th October 2016

Cruachan

Cruachan

Cruachan the regimental mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland will be attending the Pets Blessing Service at Greyfriars Kirk this Sunday. Cruachan who is billeted at Redford Barracks will be accompanied by Corporal Mark Wilkinson the regiment's Pony Major. image credit Alan Watson

2nd October 2016

Wojtek Bear Statue

Wojtek Bear Statue

The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and Dariusz Adler the Polish Consul General in Edinburgh will be attending a ceremony to mark World Animal Day on 4th October. The ceremony will be held at the statue of Wojtek the Polish bear which stands in West Princes Street Gardens. The event which has been organised by the One o’Clock Gun Association is sponsored by Scotmid. image credit Wikimedia Commons

25th September 2016

St Margarets

St Margarets

Accompanied by his wife Jessie and his two assistants, Professor Piazzi Smyth went to St. Margaret’s Loco Depot which was situated at Piershill, about a mile from the Waverley Station to carry out an experiment. The experiment consisted of looking at the spectrum of a gaslight through jets of high-pressure steam from the locomotives standing in the yard. The photograph shows the locomotive sheds. London Road can be seen on the left. image credit Edinburgh St Margarets

18th September 2016

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre

When William McEwan retired he lived at 25 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh. A keen amateur astronomer, the brewer presented a telescope to the Calton Hill observatory in 1896. The six inch astronomical refracting telescope was later fitted with an electric drive. Although manufactured more than a hundred years ago, the telescope made by Thomas Cooke & Sons is still in perfect working order. On a clear night, the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn and the Moon's craters are clearly visible. The brewer's house which is now the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre will be open to the public on Doors Open Day which takes place on the 24th and 25th September

11th September 2016

John Lamont

John Lamont

Born in 1805 at Corriemulzie near Braemar, Aberdeenshire, John Lamont attended the local school. Following his father’s death in 1817, John was sent to be educated at the Scottish Benedictine Monastery at Ratisbon in Bavaria. Interested in mathematics and astronomy, he was appointed director of Munich Observatory in 1835. Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth paid a courtesy call on the astronomer when he visited Munich with his wife Jessie in 1869. image credit Wikimedia Commons

4th September 2016

Marble Sculpture

Marble Sculpture

An exhibition by Hamish Young, consisting of carved marble sculptures and a series of screen prints created from the residual dust opens at the Collective on the 17th September. Hamish specializes in creating exhibitions featuring the gritty story of coal and marble mining. The fascinating exhibition also includes details of the production process, and the relations between the managers and workers involved in quarrying the white and blue-grey marble. In addition to informing the public on the marble quarries of Carrara in Tuscany, the exhibition also tells the story of the quarry workers involved in the formation of the anarchist movement.

28th August 2016

Jessica and Charles

Jessica with husband Charles

We have added a new subdomain for Jessica Piazzi Smyth, wife of Charles Piazzi Smyth. It can be reached here.

21st August 2016

Robert Innes

Robert Innes

Robert Thorburn Ayton Innes was born in Edinburgh in 1861. After attending school in Dublin he went to London where he worked for a wine importer. Interested in astronomy he joined the Royal Astronomical Society. Extremely ambitious, he decided to emigrate to Australia in 1890 where he became a partner in a wine business in Sydney. Using a homemade 12-inch reflecting telescope, he discovered several double stars which had previously been unknown. Due to his correspondence with David Gill Her Majesty’s Astronomer at the Cape, he was offered a position at the Royal Observatory in 1896. Seven years later he was appointed director of the Transvaal Government Observatory. In addition to discovering numerous binary stars, the astronomer discovered Proxima Centauri in 1915. image credit Wikimedia Commons

21st August 2016

Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby

Derek MacLeod a direct descendant of John MacLeod the artist who painted the portrait of Bobby hanging in Greyfriars Kirk visitors’ centre sent the illustration which was probably painted by the artist. John MacLeod who died two days after the death of the terrier is buried in the New Calton Cemetery. His wife Ann died six months later. image credit Derek MacLeod

14th August 2016

Rock House

Rock House

Jessie Piazzi Smyth was an experienced photographer. The astronomer’s wife would have known Hill and Adamson as their studio was situated on the steps leading to the observatory on the Calton Hill. In addition to being a geologist, she kept detailed notes, made sketches and supplemented the team’s rations by preserving local foods during the expeditions undertaken by the couple. Jessie was the first photographer to have stereoscopic prints published in a book.

7th August 2016

Fundraising for the City Observatory redevelopment project has now reached its final stage. In addition to various trusts and foundations, key funders include the Heritage Lottery, the City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage. The aim is to set up a new kind of observatory for the city by inviting enthusiasts with an interest in innovative art and heritage to support the project. Just under 10% is still needed. Your donations will help save this internationally significant heritage site. No donation is too small. The Collective aims to develop talent, deliver new exhibitions and improve the Calton Hill’s environment . All donations from individuals and corporate sponsors will help to ensure the success of the project. Don't delay. Donate today. Check out www.collectivegallery.net for details of the Collective’s Buy-a-Brick scheme and text donating.

31st July 2016

RS Newall Factory

RS Newall Factory

Founded by Robert Stirling Newall, R.S. Newall & Company Ltd. in Gateshead specialised in manufacturing wire cables. In addition to supplying cables to the mining industry, railway and shipping companies, the company was instrumental in developing substantial improvements to submarine telegraph cables. The first successful cable laid between Dover and Calais in1851 was manufactured by the company. Ten years later the company provided the cable connecting the One o’Clock Gun to the Royal Observatory on the Calton Hill.

24th July 2016

Bobby and Auld Jock

Bobby and Auld Jock

The painting of Greyfriars Bobby and Auld Jock by Chris Rutterford can presently be seen in the Tron Church. Chris who works on a large scale is well known in the city as he specialises in creating his works of art at public venues. Chris has a workshop in the church. His style is unique as the background figures featured in his paintings consist of members of the public. image credit Chris Rutterford.

17th July 2016

Alexander Adie designed the small transit telescope which stood in the transit house on Calton Hill. At the end of his apprenticeship, in partnership with his Uncle John he had opened an optician’s shop in Princes Street. The company supplied lenses to Joseph Hooker, Charles Darwin and Sir David Brewster. When the scientific instrument maker who was appointed optician to the royal family died at Caanan Lodge, Morningside in 1859, he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. His son-in-law Professor Thomas Henderson, the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland, is also buried in the kirkyard.

10th July 2016

Playfair's Statue

Playfair's Statue

A statue of William Henry Playfair has been set up in Chambers Street close to the front entrance of the National Museum of Scotland. In addition to designing many of the neo-classical landmarks and buildings in the New Town, the architect designed the Royal Observatory on the Calton Hill. Painstaking and meticulous, his designs were worked out with great care. He believed that nothing good in architecture can be achieved without a monstrous expenditure of patience and India Rubber. image credit George Robinson

3rd July 2016

Mural Circle

The Mural Circle

While Thomas Henderson was Astronomer Royal at the Observatory on Calton Hill, his Assistant Astronomer used the Transit Telescope which stood in the east section of the observatory to determine stellar Right Ascensions while he used the Mural Circle which stood in the west section to measure Declinations. Henderson pointed the six foot long telescope at a star as it moved from east to west before reading the six microscopes mounted around the circle to find the Declination for that star. The Mural Circle which was mounted on a block of Craigleith stone is presently in store but will be returned to the observatory next year.

26th June 2016

Viewing Structure

Viewing Structure

Simon and Tom Bloor’s viewing structure will enable the public to focus on specific areas behind the City Observatory’s walls. The sculptural work is based on Robert Barker's 1792 panorama showing the city from the Calton Hill. For further details check out www.collectivegallery.net
Dr Bruce Vickery will be giving his talk on Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth at St Augustine United Church Centre, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh at eight o’clock on Friday 1st July. Admission is free.

19th June 2016

The City Observatory project has been awarded a £300,000 restoration grant. Although the complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, like the Nelson Monument the buildings and grounds fell into in a state of disrepair. Edinburgh World Heritage which protects, conserves and promotes the city’s heritage has been awarded the grant to repair and restore the buildings to their original condition. The One o’Clock Gun Association worked with the city’s heritage organization to restore the Nelson Monument and the time ball and is presently gathering information which will be used to tell the story of the important work carried out by the city’s astronomers during the 19th century. It’s hoped that the buildings and grounds will be open to the public by the end of next year.

12th June 2016

Mt Teide

Mt Teide

The summit of Mount Teide on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain lies 3,718-metre (12,198 ft) above sea level. Still active, the most recent eruption occurred in 1909. Charles and Jessie Piazzi Smyth sailed to Tenerife in 1856 to assess the possibility of setting up an observatory on the island. Arriving on the yacht Titania, Charles and Jessie who were on their honeymoon, spent sixty five days mainly carrying out observations and exploring the volcano. An amateur geologist, although Jessie was one of the first women to have officially taken part in a scientific expedition of such importance, she was not the first Scotswoman to have climbed Mount Teide. According to local historians a Scots lady called Mrs Hammond explored the mountain during a visit to the island in 1825. image credit Wikimedia Commons

5th June 2016

Time Gun 1861

Time Gun 1861

The illustration of the One o’ clock Gun is said to have been drawn by Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth. The drawing was used as a guide by J.M. Corner to illustrate the astronomer’s article ‘Time and It’s Measurement’. The figure on the left may be be a local character as he’s wearing a military uniform which cannot be identified. In addition to adding a dog to the illustration which was published in ‘Good Words’, the artist also added an extra chevron to the tunic. This led Forbes Macgregor author of ‘Greyfriars Bobby the Real Story at Last’ to put forward the theory that the figure represents Colour Sergeant Scott who fed Greyfriars Bobby.

29th May 2016

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

In August 1835 ‘The New York Sun’ announced that life had been found on the Moon. The discoveries were said to have been made by the astronomer John Herschel who was working at the Cape. The first in a series of six articles claimed to have been taken from the ‘Edinburgh Courant’ was published four days later on August 25. The articles claimed that the astronomer had found evidence that the Moon was covered by massive craters and populated by furry humanoids with wings.

22nd May 2016

Images of alpha Piscium

Images of alpha Piscium

Dr Bruce Vickery introduced one of the city’s most colourful characters to the members of the packed audience attending his talk on Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth. Bruce skillfully presented a picture of the globe trotting astronomer who was also a photographer, artist and meteorologist. The talk attracted the attention of a documentary film crew from Spain as the astronomer took his telescope and instruments to the Peak of Teide in Tenerife to carry out observations. The photographs show the difference in the quality of the photographs of alpha Piscium taken from the Calton Hill observatory, on the left, and Alta Vista in Tenerife, on the right. This proved a hypothesis of Isaac Newton, dating from 1704, that it is better to place astronomical observatories on high mountains to ameliorate the effects of the earth's atmosphere on observations.

16th May 2016

Pipe Major Bob Anderson

Pipe Major Bob Anderson

A memorial service will be held for Pipe Major Bob Anderson at Whitefoord House in the Canongate, Edinburgh on Monday, 17th May at 3.00 pm. Bob was the One o' Clock Gun Association's first official piper. image credit Mrs Betty Walker. Bob was not only a piper, he was also a poet.

         The craft amon’ the heather, it nearly gars ye greet, 
         tae see the birk an’ rowan tree an’ smell the reek o’peat. 
         I’ve traivelt mony a weary mile ae country or anither 
         Bit ye canna beat the last mile hame, as a gin in and see ma mither  
      

14th May 2016

Charles Piazzi Smyth

Charles Piazzi Smyth

Dr Bruce Vickery’s talk on Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth takes place in the George Washington Browne Room at the Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 18th May. Dr Vickery has already given a presentation on Professor Thomas Henderson the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Professor Piazzi Smyth began wearing a tarboosh after his trip to Egypt to measure, photograph and research the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza in the 1860s. image credit George Robinson

8th May 2016

Cape Observatory

Cape Observatory 1843

John Herschel the astronomer and his wife arrived in South Africa in January 1834 and set up a twenty one foot long telescope at Feldhausen in Claremont, a suburb of Cape Town. The astronomer encouraged Charles Piazzi Smyth who was working at the Cape Observatory at that time to take up photography. The photograph of the Cape Observatory was taken by Charles Piazzi Smyth. image credit South African Astronomical Observatory

24th April 2016

Collective

Collective Performance

Conceived by Mark Bleakley as part of the Satellites Programme 2016, ‘A Nude Descends into a Lump’ explores the relationship between the human body and the cinematic and sculptural processes. The gallery will provide a performance site, allowing four dancers to develop an intimate and cyclical work built on a simple score devised by the artist, using a series of repeated actions, gestures and movements. Details of performance times available on www.collective.net

17th April 2016

Giuseppe Piazzi

Giuseppe Piazzi

Giuseppe Piazzi was born in Ponte in Valtellina a municipality in the Province of Sondrio in the Italian region of Lombardy in 1746. The Catholic priest who was a mathematician and astronomer established an observatory at Palermo. The Italian astronomer discovered the first dwarf planet, Ceres. A close friend of Commander Smyth, he was asked to be godfather to Charles Piazzi Smyth when the naval officer’s second son was born in 1819. Giuseppe Piazzi died in Naples in 1826. image credit Wikimedia Commons

10th April 2016

William Henry Smyth

William Henry Smyth

Professor Piazzi Smyth’s father William Henry Smyth was an officer in the Royal Navy. He married Annarella Warington the daughter of the British consul in Sicily in 1815. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Commander Smyth received orders from the Admiralty for his brig HMS Scylla to carry out surveys of the Mediterranean. Charles Piazzi Smyth was born in Naples in 1819. Commander Smyth also carried out surveys of the Spanish, French, Italian and Greek coasts. ‘The Resources, Inhabitants and Hydrography of Sicily and its Islands’ by Commander Smyth was published in 1824. When Admiral Smyth died in 1865 he was buried at Stone near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. image credit Wikimedia Commons

3rd April 2016

The City Dome was filled to capacity for the talk on the science and history behind asterisms, constellations and star clusters given by Professor Andrew Lawrence of Heriot-Watt University and James N Hutchinson from Glasgow College of Art. Dr Bruce Vickery will be giving a talk on Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth on Wednesday, 18th May at the Central Library, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. Not to be missed, the tickets are free and available at: this address

27th March 2016

Observatory 2013

Observatory 2013

Observatory 2016

Observatory 2016

The plans for rejuvenating this important site were passed by the City of Edinburgh Council's Planning Department a few months ago and work has now started. Initially the site needed to be cleared of all the foliage that had accumulated over the years and the difference can be gauged from the two images above. Although the site may look somewhat bare, it now more closely matches the images of engravings drawn when it was first built and in use during the 19th century. This is commensurate with one of the prime constraints in the plans in that the astronomical history be sympathetically addressed. In the meantime you can read more about that history on our website or by reading our historical summary. (Opens a new window).

20th March 2016

Arctic Expedition

Arctic Expedition

As Thomas Henderson was a member of the Astronomical Institution of Edinburgh, he was allowed the use of the instruments in the institution’s observatory on the Calton Hill. In 1824 the astronomer received the thanks of the Board of Longitude for submitting an amended method for calculating occultations which were included in five editions of the ‘Nautical Almanac’. The astronomer also received thanks from the Royal Astronomical Society for supplying a list of moon-culminating stars for Captain John Ross’s expedition to the Arctic to search for the Northwest Passage. Although he sent most of the modest income he received for undertaking legal work to his mother and sisters, the astronomer refused to accept financial reward for his contributions. image credit Second Voyage in Search of a North-West Passage and of a Residence in the Arctic Region during the years 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1833

13th March 2016

Henderson's Pistol

Henderson's Pistol

Founded in 1820, the Royal Observatory at the Cape supplied the time to mariners by turning off an oil lamp at 9.30 each evening. Early in 1833 Thomas Henderson instroduced a new system. Armed with a brass percussion pistol and a pocket chronometer, the astronomer climbed onto the roof of the observatory and fired a charge of black powder at an advertised time. The flash was bright enough to allow mariners at sea to set their chronometers. The brass pistol is part of the collection of the South African Astronomical Observatory. image credit South African Astronomical Observatory

6th March 2016

Dundee

Dundee

Thomas Henderson was educated at Dundee Academy which stood in the Nethergate. Founded by the Town Council in 1785, the academy's aim was to instruct young gentlemen in mathematical learning and the various branches of science connected with mathematics. Although the school closed ten years later it re-opened in 1801 under a new rector Thomas Duncan who was a brilliant mathematician. Appointed as drawing master about 1808, Robert Mudie also took on the teaching of arithmetic and English composition shortly after his arrival. Born in 1798 Thomas Henderson left the academy at the age of fifteen. image credit Lost Dundee

28th February 2016

Thomas Henderson

Thomas Henderson

The illustration of Thomas Henderson based on a sketch by Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth was drawn by Angus McBride. Born in London, the artist emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa. In order to advance his career he returned to England in 1961 as the publishing industry in South Africa was limited at that period. The artist’s well researched illustrations began appearing in educational magazines such as ‘Finding Out’, ‘Look and Learn’, ‘World of Wonder’ and ‘Bible Story’. He began producing highly detailed and accurate illustrations for Osprey’s ‘Men-at-Arms’ series in 1975. After making dozens of preliminary sketches, although he painted in oils, the artist preferred to work with gouache. The talented artist died in 2007. image credit Wikimedia Commons

21st February 2016

Exhibition

Mobile Military Museum

The One o’Clock Gun Association is now working with the Mobile Military Museum project, an educational resource available for booking by schools and educational establishments. Run by Ian Inglis, the museum has been operating for a year and a half. Phase two aims at setting up a permanent military museum to house the collection. Focussed on education and preserving military history for future generations, the collection has been increasing rapidly since the launch of the project in 2013. The collection now needs a permanent home. See - https:​//www.​facebook.​com/Mobmilmus?ref=​aymt_homepage_panel​ Please get in touch here by email for further information.

14th February 2016

Exhibition

Exhibition

Together in a Room runs at the Collective from 20th February till 24th April. Created by Kate Schwab, the exhibition combines textiles, video, ceramics and items of functional furniture to convey the artist’s interest in the politics and the relationships between craft, design, housing and education. Inspired by storefront displays and 1960’s Lundby dolls house design, the elements included in the exhibition have been created simultaneously ensuring that the shapes, lines, rhythms and colours are echoed throughout the different mediums.

7th February 2016

Her Majesty's Sculptor

Her Majesty's Sculptor

Her Majesty’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, Sandy Stoddart has been commissioned to sculpt the statue of William Henry Playfair which is to be set up in Chambers Street. The sculptor created the statues of David Hume and Adam Smith which stand outside the City Chambers in the High Street. image credit Wikimedia Commons.

31st January 2016

William Henry Playfair's Grave

William Henry Playfair's Grave

A statue of William Henry Playfair is to be set up in Chambers Street facing the National Museum of Scotland. The architect was commissioned to design the observatory on the Calton Hill. Built by Sibbald Smith & Co. to resemble a small Greek temple, the observatory which cost £3252 was almost completed by May 1820. When William Henry Playfair who joined the Free Church of Scotland following the Disruption died in 1857, he was buried in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh. image credit Wikimedia Commons.

24th January 2016

Red Ensign

Red Ensign

The celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the Nelson Monument will start on Merchant Navy Day which lands on 3rd September and continue till Trafalgar Day. Although there’s no evidence of the saltire being flown prior to the 14th century, the ships of the Old Scots Navy flew the red ensign bearing the saltire until the Treaty of the Union in 1707. image credit Wikimedia Commons

17th January 2016

Greyfriar's Bobby Ceremony

Greyfriar's Bobby Ceremony

The photograph taken by Alan Watson shows Bobby the One o’Clock Gun Association’s mascot and Jennifer the association’s piper with the Lord Provost and pupils from Class 3, Heriot’s School who took part in the Greyfriars Bobby Day ceremony. Although it was a cold day, the sun shone. The buffet was held in the Grassmarket Project Centre. Jamie Shannon who fired the One o'Clock Gun until recently came through from Glasgow with his wife.

Jamie Shannon

Jamie Shannon

10th January 2016

Bombardier Blue

Bombardier Blue

The invitations have been sent out for Greyfriars Bobby Day which takes place on January 14th. The photograph taken by Mrs Betty Walker shows Stewart Wilson with Bombardier Blue. Although the One o’Clock Gun Association's mascot is no longer with us the intelligent dog is much missed. The ceremony is open to the public. We’d be happy to see you, if you can come along to Greyfriars Kirkyard next Thursday at 12.45 pm. The annual get together following the ceremony will take place in the Grassmarket Centre as the midweek service will be taking place in the church.

3rd January 2016

Greenwich Time service

Greenwich Time Service

A group of British Horological Institute volunteers has launched Project Pippa. The project aims to install a machine in the National Centre for Horology designed to accurately recreate the pips signal in time for the opening of the Centre at Upton Hall in 2018. Led by Nick Sanders a founder member of the One o’Clock Gun Association, the volunteers are hoping that the Royal Greenwich Observatory who originally built the equipment will support the project. If you’re interested in taking part, contact Nick here.