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British Industrial History

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Admiralty Compass Observatory

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Admiralty Compass Observatory, of Ditton Park, Slough

1795 The post of Hydrographer of the Navy was created.

He became responsible to the First Sea Lord for producing charts, "Sailing Directions", "Notices to Mariners", tide tables and light lists and for supplying chronometers, compasses and other scientific instruments to H.M. ships.

Since 1820 the Hydrographer had been responsible for the Observatory, being advised by a Board of Visitors.

1842 A Compass Branch, associated with the Hydrographic Department was formed

The Hydrographer was also responsible for naval meteorology and for the Admiralty's links with the Meteorological Office.

Between 1856 and 1862 there was a combined Hydrographic and Harbour Department.

1863 The work of the Harbour Branch was transferred to the Board of Trade leaving the Hydrography's Department responsible for the Compass Branch.

1911 The Compass Branch was affiliated to the Controller of the Navy's Department. Its work in connection with terrestrial magnetism was transferred to the Royal Observatory.

1971 The Admiralty Compass Observatory was absorbed into the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment as its Navigation Division

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] National Archives