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Accession Record : Extract from Annual Reports for 1933-35


Under 'Accessions'

'The Collection now has on offer a gift which transcends in local interest and scientific value all others that have hitherto been received. The Radcliffe Trustees have offered to the University some of the Astronomical and Meteorological Instruments which formed part of the original equipment of the Radcliffe Observatory. They have been inspected by Sir Farquhar Buzzard, Mr. Wolfenden, and the Curator, who have made a selection of those which are entirely suitable for public exhibition with those already given by the Royal Astronomical Society and other bodies to the Lewis Evans Collection. The Radcliffe instruments belong to three periods. The oldest are a 43-inch Transit Instrument made by J. Bird in 1760 and a 32-inch Quadrant by the same maker in 1767, both made for, and used by, Professor Hornsby before the Radcliffe Observatory was planned.
The Observatory instruments proper comprise:
One of the two 8-foot Quadrants by Bird and Dollond, 1773, with observer's couch and lamp-stand.
The 12-foot Zenith Sector by Bird 1773.
The 5-foot Equatorial Sector by Bird 1773.
A 33/4-inch Refracting Telescope by Dollond 1774, equatorially mounted.
A 41/2-inch Refracting Telescope by Dollond 1774, on altazimuth mount, and support. Two square telescope tubes circ. 1774.
A mercury Barometer by Bird circ. 1773.
Two Clocks by Shelton made in 1773, or earlier.
These nine items were the very best instruments of their kind at the time, and were part of the foundation equipment of the Observatory. For many years the greater part of the routine work of the Observatory was done with them and with the Transit of 1773, for which, we regret to say, we have no space.
Of a somewhat later period are a Globe of the Moon, the Selenographia made by John Russell in 1797, of which only two other examples are known to us. The 6-foot Meridian Circle by Jones in 1836 - a unique instrument. And the Barograph by Ronalds made in 1854, one of the first automatically recording meteorological instruments in regular use.
As the observations which were made with these instruments have proved to be of international importance as well as of the highest scientific interest, and as the Observatory was even better equipped than Greenwich, it is a paramount duty that so complete an outfit of the eighteenth century should be preserved for the glory of Oxford and the benefit of future generations. And failing the Observatory building itself, there is no place better suited for their exhibition than the Old Ashmolean building: for there Bradley is said to have devised an observatory and to have delivered no less than 79 courses of Lectures on Astronomy and Natural Philosophy, and thus to have prepared the way for his successor Thomas Hornsby, for whose needs and through whose advocacy the Radcliffe Observatory was designed and furnished with instruments that in their day were second to none.
For the adequate housing and exhibition of these Radcliffe Instruments there will be ample provision if the recommendations of the Committee of Council on the Lewis Evans Collection, now under consideration, be carried out.'



The outstanding events of the year have been the reception and erection of certain of the large astronomical instruments from the Radcliffe Observatory....

The Instruments from the Radcliffe Observatory
A brief description of the instruments offered by the Radcliffe Trustees and accepted by the University was given in our Report for last year.
Bird's Zenith Sector, the 8-foot Quadrant, and Shelton's Clock have been fixed against the walls of the staircase in fairly satisfactory positions, but portions of Bird's Equatorial Sector and Transit have had to be temporarily skied. The Dollond Telescopes, Russell's Selenographia, and smaller instruments have been cleaned and have been placed in the gallery. The Ronalds Barograph and Coud&eacu; telescope tube have also arrived. The Jones Meridian Circle is the only outstanding large piece of importance that has yet to be transferred.
Meanwhile the University has received a further offer from the Radcliffe Trustees of the large Reflecting Telescope by Short given to the University by the fourth Duke of Marlborough, as well as of the important Carrington Circle by Troughton and Simms, and the Simms Transit; with the last two of these instruments so large a proportion of the observational work of the Observatory has been done, that they should certainly be retained and exhibited in Oxford. '


COMMITTEE OF THE MUSEUM OF THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE First Annual Report for 1935 (including the 12th annual report of the late Committee of Management of the Lewis Evans Collection)

Under 'Accessions'
'The transference of the astronomical and meteorological instruments of historic importance, still remaining in the Radcliffe Observatory at the beginning of the year, was effected before June, when the Jones Meridian Circle was moved with the assistance of Mr. Bellamy, and was erected against the west wall of the entrance lobby of the Old Ashmolean, but other important instruments, including the Carrington Circle, Transit, and accessory apparatus, are being stored by permission of the Printer, Dr. John Johnson, in the Press Warehouses. We desire to thank him for his very helpful courtesy in this matter.
One of the last exhibits to be transferred was the large coloured drawing of the Moon made by John Russell, R.A. It has been hung on the north wall of the staircase.'

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