KEW OBSERVATORY AND METEOROLOGY 225
The history of the Kew Observatory is far too complicated to be fully described here. It was first instituted owing to the desire of many of the foremost men in physical science, in the early days of the British Association, to have access to a place where physical experiments might be made, and new instruments tested. The Observatory stands in the Old Deer Park, Richmond, adjoining the Kew Gardens. It was originally built for the amusement of George iii., while he was more or less insane, and it was begged for by the philosophers and allotted by Government to their use. Its maintenance was defrayed by considerable grants annually voted by the British Association, that mounted at one time to as much as £boo. This became far too onerous a charge for their means, so various changes were made in its government and maintenance. At length it fell into the hands of the Royal Society, and was managed by a committee appointed by that body from among its members. I t paid its way by charges made for standardising instruments, supplemented by occasional grants. Later on, the interest of a handsome endowment of £ i o,ooo made by Mr. J. P. Gassiott, of whom more presently, placed it in a fairly firm position.
At the time when Sir Edward Sabine caused me to become a member of the Managing Committee, the Kew Observatory had obtained, through his exertions, a high and wide reputation for the exactness of the observations made there, and it had become the place where the outfits of all magnetic observatories, English and foreign, were standardised, and where intending observers were instructed. It was, in fact, the Central