Eóin Phillips (University of Cambridge)

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Project: Making Time Fit: Astronomers, Artisans and the State, 1770-1820

My thesis focuses on the relationship between the clock- and watch-making communities in
London and the institutions and personnel associated with the Admiralty, East India Company and
the Board of Longitude, in the British effort to manage an effective solution for finding longitude at
sea. It identifies a distinct cohort of Greenwich-trained personnel (mostly astronomers) and
instruments (timekeepers, textbooks, tents) that emerged from the Royal Observatory from the
1770s onwards. It follows their production, testing and training in England, their experience and
deployment around the world on a range of voyages, through to the impact made by their journeys
back in the metropolis. By following the paths traced by these instruments, makers and users, the
thesis proposes a new account of the relations between industrial transformation and imperial power
in the period 1770-1820.

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