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Assistants at the Royal Observatory

Introduction
Professional Assistants
Women computers
Job for life
Cambridge men
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Cambridge men

A few (those who came in as Cambridge graduates to the top post of Chief assistant) went on to greater things, using the Observatory as a way up. William Christie started out as Chief Assistant under Airy and went on to become Astronomer Royal. John Jackson began as Chief Assistant under Frank Dyson (Christie’s successor) and went on to become Astronomer Royal at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

Sir William Henry Christie (1845-1922).

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Sir William Henry Christie (1845-1922).
Christie graduated in 1868 from Trinity College Cambridge and in 1870 became Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich under Airy before replacing Airy in 1881 as Astronomer Royal. Under Christie the Observatory not only continued its work in positional astronomy but also began a programme of stellar photography and one of making daily records of solar activity.

John Jackson (1887-1958), Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory (1914-1933).

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John Jackson (1887-1958), Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory (1914-1933).
John Jackson came straight from Cambridge University to become Junior Chief Assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in 1914. In 1933 he moved to South Africa to become the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, succeeding Harold Spencer Jones, who returned to Greenwich to succeed Frank Dyson as the Astronomer Royal. Jackson remained at the Cape until he retired in 1950.
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Introduction
Professional Assistants
Women computers
Job for life
Cambridge men
Social life
Wartime
*
Send this story to a friendSend this story to a friend
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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Find out more
StoriesGreenwich and the story of time
Find out why Greenwich is the home of Mean Time and the Prime Meridian
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Stories'The Centre of Time and Space'
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TrailMeridian Trail
Follow the Meridian Line trail through Greenwich Park.
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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