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Hydrographic Department, Chronometer Records


Object connections:

Collection Archive
Gallery locationNot on display

Record details:

Biographical details The Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty was established by Order-in-Council in 1795 for the purpose of supplying up-to-date charts and hydrographic information to ships of the Royal Navy, in the first instance from a mass of undigested material accumulated at the Admiralty. In 1809 the Department also became responsible for supplying the fleet with chronometers. Through the nineteenth century the scope of the Department was steadily expanded until by the 1880s Great Britain became the first nation to offer a world coverage of charts and sailing directions on sale to shipping of all nations.
Description The papers records were transferred from the Hydrographic Department in 1972 by arrangement with the Ministry of Defence. They are located in the Astronomy Section in the Old Royal Observatory. They consist of sixty-three volumes of registers, digest books, indexes, trial records and correspondence, 1821 to 1950. Issues and receipts of chronometers are registered in twenty-eight volumes, 1821 to 1936, and on a series of record cards, 1936 to 1950. Digests of chronometer repairs comprise nine volumes, 1836 to 1933; indexes to these registers and digests are contained in twelve volumes, 1820 to 1939. Other subjects include records of observations of standard mean solar clocks, 1951 to 1961 (2 vols). Single volumes include a list of contracts, ca.1917 to 1918; a list of chronometers, ca.1920; a departmental address book, ca.1913 to 1922; a record of instruments which were not government property (including loans), 1940 to 1947; valuations and reports on second-hand instruments, 1943 to 1944. Single volumes of internal reference and communication sheets (with some external correspondence) relate to returned instruments, 1938; to those removed from departmental books, 1930 to 1939; to chronometers issued on loan, 1930 to 1937; to sales of instruments, 1932 to 1936; to those returned from service, 1937 to 1938; and to chronometers formerly belonging to Royal yachts, 1930 to 1935.

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Date made

Finding Reference CSR
Catalogue section Public records: records of the central administration of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy
Creator Hydrographic Department, Chronometer Records
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Extent Overall: 4 m
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