The Longitude Act – 300 today

Today is the big anniversary of the first Longitude Act, which gained royal assent 300 years ago on 9 July 1714. From this Friday you can see the original Act on display – for the first time – in Ships, Clocks & Stars. Let’s start with some basics. The Act’s full title was ‘An Act More…

Why longitude mattered in 1714

We’re nearly there. Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude opens on Friday and hopefully people will think it looks good. With that in mind, it’s a good moment to think about the historical context of the 1714 Longitude Act and that deceptively simple question: why did longitude matter? The Longitude Act gives a More…

Irregularity – new stories inspired by the history of science

Today we’re really pleased to announce the publication of Irregularity, a new speculative fiction anthology. Published by Jurassic London, Irregularity has been put together to complement our new exhibition, Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude, which opens next week. It’s a really good match, since the challenge of finding longitude at sea was More…

Decoding Harrison

Richard mentioned in his recent post, Looking for a New Harrison, the three accurate longcase clocks that were made by John and James Harrison in the latter half of the 1720s and it prompted me to post a little about an ongoing Museum research project that investigates Harrison’s unusual mechanical approach to the pendulum clock. Harrison claimed More…