Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest of Longitude

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© National Maritime Museum
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© National Maritime Museum
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© National Maritime Museum
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© National Maritime Museum
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© National Maritime Museum
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© National Maritime Museum

Just over 300 years ago the Georgians were boldly heading out to sea with no way of knowing whether they'd managed to get as far round as Ireland or Iceland. They took to their newfangled coffeehouses to mull the problem over and solved it in 1714 with the creation of the Longitude Act. This exhibition looks at the history of longitude and how it changed our view of the world, telling how John Harrison, Galileo, Isaac Newton, James Cook and the team at Greenwich's Royal Observatory all played their part in the progress. Exhibits include John Harrison's five original timekeepers, a padded silk observing suit from 1760 and the Longitude Act of 1714 itself, which has never previously been displayed to the public.

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