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Papers of Lieutenant Cyril Corbet relating to the transit of Venus expedition, 1874.


Object connections:

Collection Archive
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleCorbet, Cyril, Airy, George Biddell

Record details:

Biographical details Cyril Corbet was the youngest son of the portrait painter Philip Corbet (1802-1877). He was born at Shrewsbury in 1850 and educated at Christ's Hospital School in London. He enrolled as a cadet in the Royal Navy in 1862. Following his promotion to lieutenant and service in HMS ZEALOUS on the Pacific station, he was requested by the Admiralty to join the expeditions to observe the transit of Venus in 1874. He was later appointed chief observer at one of the stations in the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean. Corbet died at the military hospital on the island of St Helena while serving on the sloop HMS SIRIUS. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society shortly before his death and an obituary appears in the 9 February 1877 issue of 'Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society' (Volume 37). The Caird Library holds a copy of Corbet's book printed for private circulation 'Venus at the Isle of Desolation: My Private Journal during the Transit of Venus Expedition 1874' (see PBD4500 in the Library Catalogue). His service record can be found at The National Archives, see the references ADM 196/38/227 and ADM 196/17/416.
Description File of correspondence and printed instructions received by Lieutenant Cyril Corbet during operations to observe the transit of Venus on 8 December 1874. The earliest papers date from July 1873 and concern the recruitment and training of candidates in the use of instruments at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Letters from Captain G.L. Tupman, Sir G.B. Airy and others provide details of arrangements for the transport of Royal Navy and Royal Engineers personnel to the Cape of Good Hope and then to Port Palliser in the Kerguelen Islands. Some papers concerning the receipt of signals from the observation station and Corbet's expenditure are included.
Date made 1873-1875

Finding Reference HSR/Z/38
Catalogue section Manuscript documents acquired singly by the Museum
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Extent 1 folder
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