Read our blog to get the lowdown from our experts and go behind the scenes at Royal Museums Greenwich.
Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-92)
Within the Caird Library’s collection of rare books is the personal library of the seventh Astronomer Royal, Sir George Biddell Airy. It features a plethora of scientific and astronomical research, as well as some of the Library’s most historically significant works such as Copernicus’s influential De revolutionibus orbium coelestium and Flamsteed’s controversial Historiae coelestis, which was published without his consent.
HMS 'Erebus' passing through the chain of bergs, 1842 (BHC3654)
Ghost ships, sometimes also called phantom ships, are vessels with no living crew aboard. These may be real derelict ships found adrift with their crew missing, such as the 19th century HMS Resolute, or fictional and folkloric ones, like the apocryphal Octavius.
October’s Item of the Month looks at a practical astronomical work written by the husband and wife team of Walter and Annie Maunder. The Maunders worked in the Solar Department of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich in the early 1890s.
The Charlotte Dundas
The Caird Library’s display case has a new display featuring items which tell the story of early steam vessels.
Malta, rich in history, is visited by millions of tourists every year, myself included. Famous for its home of the Knights of Saint John, records of Malta’s history can be found as far back as the Neolithic period. No matter where you turn on the island you run into a historical building. One such building often mentioned in the manuscripts is Fort St Angelo.
Captain Death, bravely resisting the Vengeance
When browsing the shelves in the library you occasionally come across a title or name that makes you want to investigate further. One such title that stood out for me was an account of the unusually named Captain William Death and his final voyage as commander of the Terrible privateer operating from London during the Seven Years War.
Great Britain's Coasting Pilot
At the recent Caird Library Open Day it was great to welcome more than 400 people to look at some of the fascinating items we have in the library and archive collections. Two of the items on display were a volume of Navy Board In Letters and Orders and an edition of Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot by Greenville Collins both from the latter part of the 17th Century. We discovered recently that these two items have a very interesting link.
View of the Naval Gallery in the Painted Hall, Greenwich Hospital
Whilst cataloguing a collection of papers from the early 19th century, relating to the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, I came across a printed address dated 23 October 1823, written by the Hospital’s secretary, Edward Hawke Locker, to its Directors.
A zebra and giraffe on board the Chindawara at the Royal Albert Dock (1950)
Exotic animals have a long history in Britain. The Royal menagerie at the Tower of London was probably created in 1204 (during the reign of King John). There was an aviary at Greenwich Palace constructed for Queen Anne, which probably included both native and exotic birds, and there were other Royal menageries at Windsor, Richmond Lodge and Kew.
Mariner’s Marvellous Magazine
An intriguing item in the Caird Library rare book collection: ‘The Mariners' Marvellous Magazine : or wonders of the ocean : containing the most remarkable adventures and relations of mariners in various parts of the globe’ was begging to be introduced.