Longitude Project and Blog

My blogging loyalties are now divided (or perhaps cross-fertilised) as I am also blogging at the new Longitude Blog, set up for all the researchers involved with an AHRC-funded project on the history of the Board of Longitude at the National Maritime Museum and Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge.

[I was about to link in that sentence to the Wikipedia page on the Board, but see that this needs a health warning and would benefit from the input of some of the team! The Board did a great deal more than focus on John Harrison and the lunar distance method, not least more or less becoming the Admiralty‘s general scientific advisory board by the late 18th and early 19th century. Magnetism, Arctic exploration and the establishment of the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, could all be mentioned, as can an array of well-known men of science and naval officers, plus a host of as-yet-unknown seamen, inventors and artisans. However, let’s save this for another day.]

The Longitude Project logo: a detail from 1763 edition of Hogarth's 'The Rake's Progress', showing lunatics at Bedlam driven mad by searching for a solution to the problem of Longitude. Note the 'cleverly' doctored date: 2014 is the tercentenary of the first Longitude Act.

If you hop over to the project’s website, hosted by the NMM, you can find out a bit more about the project, the team, useful links and forthcoming events. As we go on there will be, as well as more blog posts, a page collating existing and new resources generated by the researchers. There will, we hope, be a couple of small temporary museum displays happening in 2012-13 and a big international conference and exhibition in 2014, marking the tercentenary of the first Longitude Act. We will also be employing an outreach/engagement-type person in the lead up to this, who should help us plan relevant events and provide a legacy of useful educational resources for the future. Plenty of publications should be appearing too.

I will, from time to time at least, cross-post some of the Longitude blog to this site, but please do visit both, and come back often!

About Rebekah Higgitt

Rebekah Higgitt completed a PhD in the history of science at Imperial College London in 2004 and did postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh. She was Curator of History of Science and Technology at the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich between 2008 and 2013 and is now a senior lecturer in the School of History at the University of Kent. Her research and publications have mainly focused on scientific institutions, scientific biography, history of science and the relationship between science, government and the public in 19th-century Britain. She became Principal Curator of Science at National Museums Scotland in August 2020 and is currently also Acting Keeper of Science & Technology.
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6 Responses to Longitude Project and Blog

  1. Thony C. says:

    A double dose of Becky H. what more could the HOS blogahedron wish for? 😉

  2. Will Thomas says:


  3. Rebekah Higgitt says:

    Thanks Thony! Not sure everyone will see it as an unmixed blessing… I hope, though, that some of the rest if the team will prove to be eloquent bloggerati.

    Will – I hope that’s not sarcasm I hear 😉

  4. Will Thomas says:

    Rebekah, my wife asks whether I’m being sarcastic all the time! No, though, I’m genuinely excited by both the project and the fact that it has a blog outlet.

  5. Great news about your new blog, but it doesn’t appear to have an RSS feed. Please could you have a word with your web gurus and get one set up?

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