The National Maritime Museum and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, are currently working on a five-year research project on the British Board of Longitude, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The Board of Longitude was set up by the British government to encourage the submission of ideas, instruments and data that would help solve the navigational problem of finding longitude at sea. As a result it helped to realise two solutions: the lunar distance method, and the timekeeping method pioneered by John Harrison. In its 114 years of existence, however, the Board also judged and supported a much wider range of projects relating to the improvement of navigation. The project aims to study the whole range of activity of the Board and to examine its role as a mediator between government, Navy, commerce, scientific expertise and artisans.