CHAPTER VI - At Greenwich Observatory, 1846–1856  pp. 178-225

At Greenwich Observatory, 1846–1856

By George Biddell Airy and Wilfred Airy

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“On Nov. 7th I proposed a change in the form of Estimates for the Observatory. The original astronomical part was provided by the Admiralty, and the new magnetical and meteorological part was provided by the Treasury: and the whole Estimates and Accounts of the Observatory never appeared in one public paper. I proposed that the whole should be placed on the Navy Estimates, but the Admiralty refused. I repeated this in subsequent years, with no success. Meantime I always sent to the Admiralty a duplicate of my Treasury Estimate with the proper Admiralty Estimate.—Stephenson's Railway through the lower part of the Park, in tunnel about 850 feet from the Observatory, was again brought forward. On Feb. 20th it was put before me by the Government, and on March 9th I made experiments at Kensal Green, specially on the effect of a tunnel: which I found to be considerable in suppressing the tremors. On May 6th I made my Report, generally favourable, supposing the railway to be in tunnel. On May 13th I, with Mr Stephenson, had an interview at the Admiralty with Lord Ellenborough and Sir George Cockburn. The Earl appeared willing to relax in his scruples about allowing a railway through the Park, when Sir George Cockburn made a most solemn protest against it, on the ground of danger to an institution of such importance as the Observatory. I have no doubt that this protest of Sir George Cockburn's really determined the Government.