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Associated People

Mees, Chales Edward Kenneth (1882-1960), born Wellingborough, a photographic scientist who first worked for Wratten and Wainwright Ltd. developing the first panchromatic film emulsions.  After the company was taken over by the Kodak Eastman company, he moved to their photographic laboratories in Rotchester, NY.  Later after taking American citizenship he developed sensitive photographic emulsions for use in astronomy (Clark, W., Charles Edward Kenneth Mees. 1882-1960’, BMFRS, 7 (1961), 172–96).

Usherwood, William (1821-1915), a portrait, miniature painter and photographer based in Dorking (1860-1907). He is noted for being the first person to successfully photograph of a comet using a portrait lens – Comet Donati, 1858 (Report of the Council to the Thirty-ninth Annual General Meeting of the Society, MNRAS, 19 (1859), 138-9; Pasachoff 1996).


Astronomy Groups


Optical Services Limited, founded 1962 to produce specialist scientific optics for space, astronomy and high energy physics uses.  Based at Kenley they have established an international reputation supplying optics to NASA, ESA and CERN.

15 Responses to Surrey

  1. John Murrell says:

    Assuming that the list of Astronomers includes theorists one addition is Sir James Hopwood Jeans who lived at West Humble see More details on his acheivements on wikipedia at He was president of the RAS. Details of his gravestone are at

    • Survey of Astronomical History says:

      Dear John

      We already have a brief entry for Jeans on our Lancs. page as his birth place. I will add this extra information to the Cambridge and Surrey page with suitable links.


  2. John Murrell says:

    Does the scope of the history of individual counties include places that manufactured astronomical equipment and universities involved in astronomical research such as MSSL in Holmbury St Mary & Surrey University in Guildford ? If so I can contribute a few locations for Surrey.

    • Survey of Astronomical History says:

      Dear John

      Such information would be welcomed both for the current manufacturing centres and universities past and present. So far only university observatories have been included, but I see no reason why astronomical research institution should not be included especially if an observing facility is included.


  3. John Murrell says:

    Does the scope of observatories include magnetic observatories ? They could be taken to be observing the Earth or could be taken to observing the Sun in a different way to visual soalar observatories ?

    • Dear John

      There is no simple answer to your question as magnetic observations both impinge upon both astronomy and geology. I would be inclined to only list magnetic observatories if they were associated with the British observatories such as the ROG/RGO etc. However I am open to suggestions.


  4. John Murrell says:

    I have found another Surrey Astronomer,

    Usherwood Wiiliam, while his principal occupation was a painter and photographer see he took the first ever photograph of a comet when he photographed Donati’s comet on the 27th September 1858. More information is in The Journal for the History of Astronomy 1996JHA….27..129P. and MNRAS 1859MNRAS..19..105. (pg138). The report to the RAS meeting states this was the only succesful photograph of the comet they were aware of though some may have been taken in America. Unfortunatly the photograph and a copy sent to America appear to have been lost.

  5. John Murrell says:

    Kenneth Mees was a chemist from Croydon Surrey who was responsible for the invention of the first panchromatic dry plates used for astronomy by various people including Huggins. He was head hunted by Kodak and moved to the states where he was responsible for the development of the emulsions used on various astronomical plates and films. Does this qualify him as ‘an astronomer’ or should there be another category for people associated in some way with Astronomy ?

  6. John Murrell says:

    Hello Kevin,

    One notable ommision to the list is John Evershed – Born in Surrey and carried out his early work in Kenley before moving to India. He returned to Ewhurst in Surrey when he retired. He was also a founder member of the BAA. His obituary at 10.1093/mnras/117.3.253 gives a summary of the work he did and also his two observatories at Kenley ( I think this was in the window of his house !) and at Ewhurst. The Evershed Effect is also named after him. Suggest that you summarise the key points of his obituary for this site.


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