Printer Friendly

The BAA Annual Dinners of the 1930s.

In the years preceding World War II the BAA held a number of truly astronomical annual dinners in London, attended by many of the keenest observers of the 1930s. (Perhaps it should be stressed, to avoid any confusion, that these were astronomical dinners merely in their nature, rather than being of such a cosmic size that they were likely to trigger an imminent heart attack!)

Sadly, none of the 1930s-era diners is alive today, but a few of the senior BAA members of the 21st century still have fond memories of mingling with some of these legendary characters from the era when the visual observer was king and space probes to the planets were decades away. The surviving photographs from the dinners provide a fascinating insight into the BAA of the 1930s, not only from the physical appearance of those present at the tables, but also from a seating perspective. At such functions observers typically sat next to their friends and colleagues and so historic allegiances can sometimes be better understood by studying the group photographs.

It is important to remind ourselves that in this era between the two World Wars the main form of correspondence was by typed or hand-written letter. While it is blatantly obvious that e-mail and the Internet were not even dreamed of at this time, most British households in the 1930s did not even have a telephone and certainly not a car. In fact, for many families of the 1930s, even an indoor lavatory would have been a luxury! One only has to think of George Alcock (1912-2000), struggling to secure a permanent post as a humble schoolteacher in that decade, to realise that many BAA members of the 1930s had little or no spare income.

Having said all this, the typical BAA member of that era, between the World Wars, was certainly far wealthier than the average British citizen and a surprising number of members were highly ranked military officers, members of the clergy, or distinguished doctors, surgeons and scientists. Nevertheless, even for the wealthier car and telephone owning BAA members, the meetings and annual dinners of the 1930s were eagerly awaited events where keen observers could meet and discuss astronomical matters in detail, rather than by exchanging letters in the post.

Some detective work

Sadly there does not seem to be a list of restaurant attendees of the annual BAA dinners retained in the Association's records, but with some detective work many of the names of those present can be deduced from the photographs, occasional dinner reports, and information on the preceding meetings at Sion College. An impressive number of past, incumbent and future BAA Presidents, Section Directors, Secretaries and post-holders was always present.

During the 1980s a few of the younger attendees of the 1930s dinners were still alive, as were a number of BAA members from the 1940s and '50s who could recognise the faces on those old photographs. With the BAA Centenary year of 1990 less than ten years away the surviving Annual Dinner photographs were reexamined, and G. E. Patston, E. A. Beet, J. V. Thomson (all active in the BAA of the 1930s or 1940s) and S. R. Dunlop were able to identify a few of the faces, some of which were of a distinctly Victorian nature. Much of this face identification detective work was originally carried out by Dr Richard McKim when working on the BAA Centenary Memoirs entitled The First Fifty Years and The Second Fifty Years (Volumes 42, Parts 1 and 2).

The most regular pre-war annual dinner attendees were, not surprisingly, those members based near London, those with senior positions in the Association, and those who could simply afford to take a day out in London, and attend a meal, all in the middle of the working week. For the average factory worker in the 1930s, when flexi-time was unheard of and annual holidays amounted to a single fixed week in August, a trip to London was out of the question; but then it is true to say that the average BAA member of the time was not a factory worker.

Table 1 lists members identified as, or suspected of, being present at one or more of the 1930s Annual Dinners, along with their positions in the BAA. The oldest BAA members at these 1930s functions, such as Walter Goodacre, had dates of birth in the 1850s or 1860s and had known a time well before the Association was formed. In addition, it is remarkable to think that, as children, they may well have known grandparents born in the late 1700s, not long after the discovery of Uranus!

The BAA of the 1930s was a very different organisation to the one we know today. While the target of 'One Thousand Members', first achieved between 1895 and 1905, had briefly been re-attained around 1927/1928 the 1930s financial depression had plunged the membership figures down to 830 in 1935, and by 1939 the start of a second World War in the space of 21 years further dented the membership; the conflict would also put an end to the Annual Dinners during Bertrand Peek's term as President.

Against this backdrop of financial depression and a looming War it is perhaps surprising that a relatively modest organisation, covering a hobby which was mostly for the wealthy or well-educated, could arrange such grand annual events in London at which between 60 and 80 members (10% of the membership) attended. The names of some of the attendees at these 1930s functions could hardly have been more impressive. This was an era when BAA Presidents could also be RAS Presidents and even hold the post of Astronomer Royal. Distinguished present and future knights at these functions included the likes of Sir Arthur Eddington, Sir Edward Appleton, Sir William Bragg (a Nobel prize winner), Sir Frank Dyson (BAA President 1916-1918), Sir Harold Spencer Jones (BAA President 1934-1936, and knighted in 1943) and Sir Richard Gregory. When you add the occasional appearance of the stage and screen entertainer Will Hay (1) into that guest list the BAA Annual Dinners were functions where you could mingle with distinguished scientists and even a film star.

Putting names to faces ...

Identifying many of the faces on the photographs taken at the Dinners has proved to be a real challenge. At least nineteen past, present (in the 1930s) and future BAA Presidents attended these functions and in these cases Presidential portraits can be compared with those seated at the tables, along with the notes from Patston, Thomson, Beet and other sources. The latter two joined the BAA in the 1940s but knew many of those present. However, facial characteristics can change dramatically over decades and so even a Presidential portrait is sometimes of only limited use.

Meeting reports from that era, especially those mentioning the names of those present at the preceding London meeting, together with who held the posts of President and secretaries and who was a meeting speaker, provide additional clues. Also, when a prominent BAA member seated near to the camera in one restaurant picture has been identified, it makes it easier to identify them in other years when they are further from the lens, especially if they are seated near the same friends.

Richard McKim kindly supplied the author with additional 'Out-of-London' photographs taken in the late 1940s and early 1950s, where some of the 1930s diners are clearly identifiable. These were RAS group photographs taken on 1948 October 29 at The Royal Observatory Edinburgh, 1949 July 1 at Jodrell Bank and 1951 July 25 at Exeter; they originally appeared, with identity charts, in The Observatory magazine.

In many cases there are written accounts of who were the official guests at the Annual Dinners, but the biggest help in identifying diners from the 1930s is simply ticking off members with such a distinctive physical appearance that they cannot possibly be mistaken for anyone else. The large framed figures of Captain Ainslie (2) and F. J. Sellers are unmistakeable. The faces of Lydia Brown, J. H. J. Burtt, Dr A. C. D. Crommelin, F. J. Hargreaves, Will Hay, Gerald Merton, H. W. Newton, Gordon Patston, Bertrand Peek, Dr J. G. Porter, Dr Harold Spencer Jones, Dr W. H. Steavenson, Prof F. J. M. Stratton and Reggie Waterfield are also impossible to mistake for anyone else when captured favourably by the camera. Many of these names were regular attendees and often did sit near to the same people, which proved a big help. In some of the less familiar cases, as for example with Donald H. Sadler, the RGO Chief Assistant and then HM Nautical Almanac Office superindendent, a distinctive face, along with an official RAS portrait, can confirm the identity beyond doubt.

Some of the best-known BAA members of that era can be identified on all, or almost all, of the photographs taken at the 1935 to 1939 dinners. This is certainly the case with those aforementioned multiple dinner attendees of Captain Ainslie, Lydia Brown, J. H. J. Burtt, F. J. Hargeaves, Gerald Merton, H. W. Newton, Gordon Patston, Bertrand Peek and W. H. Steavenson. It is also true for the Rev Martin Davidson, Harold Thomson and Miss Maureen Tindall. The author scoured the photographs for any indication that Horace Dall (1901-1986) attended an Annual Dinner, as he occasionally travelled to BAA London meetings in that era; however, there is no evidence that Horace was present at any of these events.

As can be seen from Table 1, some 90 BAA Dinner attendees, over the years, can be accounted for with a high degree of certainty by studying all of the photographs available, from reports of the Annual Dinners and, in some cases, assuming a speaker or senior post-holder at the preceding afternoon meeting, or Council meeting, made it to the Annual Dinner. The table indicates the number of cases where a positive photographic ID (on photographs taken between 1935 and 1939) was made (P) and what years the member attended. An 'A' after the year means the person was strongly assumed to have attended and was, as a minimum, at the preceding meeting (sometimes abbreviated to mtg) and/or a BAA post-holder who regularly attended the meals. A 'C' or 'Council' signifies that a member's signature has been identified in that day's Council attendance book, at least if other evidence is lacking.

A question mark indicates a good likelihood of attendance but with less certainty; for example, in the case of non-post-holders, who were sometimes at the Annual Dinners, but were impossible to identify on that year's photograph, despite being at the preceding Exhibition. A two-digit year, or span of years, in the final column, with no suffix, indicates solid evidence of the person attending. For example, W. H. Steavenson is listed as 34C and 35-39, because he has been identified on all five dinner photographs from 1935 to 1939, but there is no proof he was at the 1934 dinner, except that he did sign the Council attendance book that day.

Studying the pictures in detail, and knowing the reputations of the observers and the topical news items (astronomical or not) of the era, the researcher feels that a time machine has been opened and with just a slight leap in technology we could eavesdrop on their discussions, in a time when Pluto had only just been discovered and a young East Grinstead boy named Patrick Moore had only just been elected to BAA membership. It was also an era when, as mentioned earlier, the stage and screen comedian Will Hay was an attendee at the annual dinners and even at occasional meetings of the Association.

The BAA dinners of the 1930s followed the Association's annual April Exhibition Meetings which were held on the last Wednesday of the month at Sion College on Victoria Embankment. These meetings commenced at 5 p.m. and finished around 7 p.m., and the subsequent dinners, at the restaurant in Piccadilly, commenced at either 7.30 or 7.45 p.m. In those days the number of exhibits on display was fairly modest but a break in the meeting allowed members between 30 and 45 minutes to study the work of the different observing Sections. In an era fifty years before e-mail and sixty years before the modern Internet the exhibition meetings provided a unique opportunity to study the work of others, rather than wait a year or more for a Section Report or Memoir to be published.

Although the BAA dinners were fairly informal affairs, there was a specific format to the evenings and a number of prominent astronomers and physicists were always invited as 'guests'. The principal guest was often the main speaker at the preceding meeting. A toast was invariably made to the King and to the Royal Family during the dinner. A further toast was also given to the BAA itself by a distinguished guest, such as the Astronomer Royal, to which the BAA President would officially reply. A fourth toast, typically from a prominent BAA member, would be made to the invited guests whose spokesperson would also say a few words in response. Some musical performances were also a feature of these events.

The Restaurant Frascati

The venue for the biggest BAA Annual Dinners of the 1930s (19331939) was the impressive Restaurant Frascati, whose address was 32 Oxford Street and whose frontage occupied nos. 26 to 32 Oxford St. The location is approximately 100 metres west of Tottenham Court Road Underground station, on the northern side of Oxford St.; in other words, west of the junction between Oxford St., New Oxford St., Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road. The Centre Point office block dominates the nearby area today. Sadly, no sign survives of the spectacular Restaurant Frascati and the space is currently occupied by various uninspiring and rather depressing shop frontages, namely Sports World, a doorway to the large Oxford House College building, a mobile phone shop called 'Mr Mobile' and a Lloyds TSB branch. Restaurant Frascati was less than one mile from the BAA meetings' venue at Sion College on the Embankment and so arriving at the venue in the thirty to forty-five minutes between the meeting ending and the dinner commencing would not have been a problem.

From the information available within a couple of 1920s era books, (3,4) and via the Internet (5) it appears that the Restaurant Frascati opened in 1893 and was a highly fashionable venue with a large frontage renovated in the 1920s, which included a gold portico. The entrance, via a yellow and gold revolving door, led the visitor into a vestibule containing thick red pile carpets and large gilt chandeliers. The main restaurant was an enormous room referred to as 'The Winter Garden', which rose up to a massive glass dome and featured a wide balcony. The owners of the restaurant put great emphasis on floral decorations throughout the interior and exterior, and each St George's Day (April 23), just days before the Annual BAA Dinners on the last Wednesday in April, Frascati's was bedecked with red roses everywhere for the special St George's Day gala dinner. An Internet search reveals that although Frascati's suffered damage in the 1940 Blitz, the year after the final BAA meal, it seems to have survived the War and was still in business during the 1950s.

The Meetings and Dinners in detail

The BAA seems to have held some form of Annual Dinner from its earliest years until the start of World War II, but details of the earliest events are very hard to track down. The practice seems to have been initiated (6) by Dr A. M. W. Downing when, as the retiring second BAA President (1892-1894), he invited the Officers and Council to a 'pleasantly informal evening in Holborn Restaurant'. In 1896 another dinner was arranged to greet the BAA members who had been to the August 9 Eclipse Expedition of that year in Norway, aboard the ship Norse King. (7)

It would seem that, initially, the dinners were sparsely attended and presumably dominated by members of the Officers and Council, and a comment in The Observatory magazine seems to bear this out. A report of the 1897 October 27 BAA meeting states: 'In conclusion the President [Nathaniel Green] suggested that the Annual Dinner might be made a more popular gathering, or that occasional conversaziones might be held for the purpose of bringing the Members together and making them better acquainted.' (8)

With the Annual Dinners rarely being described in the BAA Journal and just a few descriptions recorded in The Observatory it has proved hard to assess the regularity and popularity of these dinners prior to the major gatherings held at the Restaurant Frascati in the 1930s, where all the high quality photographs were taken. Of course, the First World War and The Great Depression all played their part in making life difficult in that era, but the combination of holding a BAA Exhibition-style meeting in April, just prior to the Annual Dinners, does seem to have helped greatly in increasing the attendance at these functions.

1931 Annual Dinner (Criterion)

At the 1930 December 31 meeting the BAA President Major A. E.

Levin 'drew the attention of members to the change in the date of the Annual Dinner, which is to be held on April 29 [1931] instead of after the January meeting.' (9) Two months later Major Levin reiterated this at the 1931 February 25 meeting when he 'reminded members that the Annual Dinner of the Council and Members was to take place on Wednesday, 1931 April 29, in the Criterion Restaurant.' (10) This restaurant in Piccadilly (no. 224), was established in 1874, and the venue still survives today, close to the statue of Eros and Piccadilly Underground Station. In that era it was a popular venue for RAS Dinners and with many BAA members also being RAS Fellows it was a logical choice.

Sadly, no account of that 1931 Dinner at the Criterion Restaurant seems to survive, but at the BAA meeting preceding it Dr Knox-Shaw spoke about the work at Helwan Observatory (Egypt) and the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, explaining that the principal instrument at Helwan was a 30-inch reflector presented to the Egyptian Government by J. H. Reynolds. (11) Dr Fotheringham spoke about Hipparchus, and A. C. D. Crommelin delivered a paper regarding computations associated with the orbit of Tempel's Comet. Walter Goodacre then spoke about Mt Wilson lunar photographs and bright lunar rays, and there were quite a few subsequent lunar questions from Mr H. Tompkins, Mr Bartrum and Mr Doig.

One can assume that many of those present, including the President, Major Levin, and the secretaries Sellers & Bartrum, attended the Annual Dinner at the Criterion, but no further details have been located, so maybe the attendance was poor? For this reason, and the fact that no photographs appear to have been taken at the Criterion Restaurant, 1931 is not included in the Table 1 data. The BAA Journal Editor (1930-1937 and 1947-1952), Peter Doig, may have been at the 1931 Dinner, but he did not sign the BAA Council attendance book during any of the later 1930s April meetings and so is not included in Table 1.

No Annual Dinner took place at all in 1932. A brief note in the December 1931 Journal stated the following: 'Association Dinner It has been decided by the Council, in view of the exigencies of the times, that there will be no Association Dinner held this session.' (12)

This, of course, was a reference to The Great Depression or 'Great Slump', the economic crisis which had started in the USA in September and October of 1929 and was at its worst in the UK in the closing months of 1931, with unemployment of almost three million, wage cuts of 10% and an unpopular income tax rise to add to the misery.

1933 Annual Dinner

By the end of 1932 the economic situation in the UK had eased slightly and so at the November 30 meeting of the Association the President, W. Alfred Parr, announced that the Council had, that afternoon, re-opened the question of holding the Annual Dinner; (13) it had been decided to get the opinion of the meeting members, regarding the desirability of having one this Session. The President stated that from his experience while BAA Librarian, in which position he had heard the views of a number of members, it appeared to him that the dinner was held by many to be a function of great value, socially and otherwise, to the Association. He therefore proposed to ask those who would attend a dinner in April to signify their intention by voting in favour of the proposal. The response indicated that good support would probably be forthcoming, and the President then stated that 'the Council would consider the matter and that a notice would appear later in the Journal.'

According to a report in The Observatory, (14) after 'being held in abeyance', the 1933 BAA Annual Dinner took place on Wednesday April 26 at the Restaurant Frascati in London's Oxford Street. A total of 74 members and their friends attended the event. At the BAA Exhibition Meeting held prior to the dinner, (15) with President W. Alfred Parr in the chair, the members were able to listen to Dr Harold Spencer Jones, the Astronomer Royal, deliver a lecture about work being carried out at The Cape Observatory, to deter mine the solar parallax and the mass of the Moon from observations of the close passage of asteroid (433) Eros in 1931. A. C. D. Crommelin posed some questions to the Astronomer Royal, as did Major A. E. Levin. The speaker had recently returned to public life in England after fulfilling the post of HM Astronomer at the Cape.

After this talk the comedian Will Hay, in his alternate guise as a serious astronomer, delivered a detailed description of the blink comparator which he had constructed and even brought along to the meeting (this was less than four months before Hay would famously discover the white spot on Saturn). Mr Hay explained that his blink comparator had cost only 5 [pounds sterling] to construct, whereas a celebrated firm of opticians would charge 200 [pounds sterling]! Other highlights of the meeting were a demonstration of a commercial epidiascope (for projecting observations made on paper, onto a screen), which involved the President, Dr Gerald Merton and Mr F. J. Sellers.

In addition, a talk by Dr R. L. (Reggie) Waterfield about an attempt to observe the occultation of Regulus also included contributions from Will Hay, Dr Knox-Shaw, Walter Goodacre, Mr Lee and Mr Burtt. One can assume that many of the subjects covered at all the meetings preceding the Annual Dinners were discussed enthusiastically during the evening meals, which is the prime reason for including the details here; it simply helps greatly in setting the historical scene.

At the restaurant, immediately following the meeting, (16) the official guests were Dr Harold Spencer Jones and his wife, Sir William H. Bragg (Director of the Royal Institution), Miss Todd, Professor F. J. M. Stratton (RAS President and known to everyone as 'Chubby') and Dr H. Knox-Shaw (Director of the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford). Following the usual toasts to the King and Royal Family and 'not forgetting our patron the Duke of York', the Astronomer Royal toasted the Association's health. He mentioned how much the BAA Journal and Memoirs were valued in South Africa and paid special tribute to the work of the Variable Star and Computing Sections.

The President duly replied and the Rev T. E. R. Phillips proposed a toast to the guests, whose spokesman, Sir William Bragg, replied on their behalf.

Sir William said that it was undoubtedly the astronomers, largely through the eloquent writings of Jeans and Eddington, who had captivated public opinion. In addition, in his short address to the Restaurant Frascati diners that evening, Sir William concluded that 'although man's intrinsic littleness was increasingly borne in upon him by modern cosmogonic speculation, certain reassuring factors persistently emerged which went to show that, if relatively insignificant in the midst of immensities, this world of ours was undeniably unique in many of its manifestations.'

Concluding events the President W. Alfred Parr then announced that Mrs Nancy Thomas of St Albans, 'who possessed a fine contralto voice', had kindly consented to sing a series of Lieder (a German word for songs, usually of a romantic nature) by Schubert and Schumann, and requested Major Levin, the immediate past-President of the Association, to take the chair while he accompanied her at the piano. The songs selected were Schubert's Stdndchen and Aufenthalt, Schumann's Widmung and Lotosblume, and Carl Bohm's Still wie die Nacht, and concluded with Roger Quilter's O Mistress Mine. Mrs Thomas' 'beautiful rendering of these items' (the first five being delivered in German) justly evoked loud applause, and the President, after himself contributing a piano solo by Karg-Elert, then concluded what was generally declared to have been a most interesting and enjoyable evening. The BAA report also noted that the Steinway grand piano had been generously loaned for the occasion by Messrs. Strong & Jackson, of Soho Square.

1934 Annual Dinner

Clearly the 1933 Annual Dinner, following on from an Exhibition-style meeting immediately beforehand, had been a great success and so the format was followed precisely in 1934, on Wednesday April 25. At the preceding meeting at Sion College, (17) the President W. Alfred Parr was again in the chair alongside secretaries F. J. Sellers and C. O. Bartrum. On this occasion the meeting was privileged to hear a presentation from Prof E. W. Brown of Yale University in the USA, who spoke about the work he was carrying out analysing the motion of the Moon. Following Prof Brown's talk Dr L. J. Comrie spoke about a related matter involving the Nautical Almanac and, not surprisingly, the orbital computation expert A. C. D. Crommelin also had a few comments to make.

After Crommelin's queries were dealt with Mr A. W. Long of the Astronomical Society of South Africa spoke, and 'The Skipper', Captain Ainslie, who had just himself returned from a long stay in South Africa visiting his daughter, spoke about the skies he had seen from the southern hemisphere. Mr C. Walker, from the company Metropolitan-Vickers, then addressed the meeting, explaining the new aluminising process which the company was offering. He later clarified that the approximate cost of aluminising a single 8-inch mirror was around 20 [pounds sterling]. The President, together with Sir Frank Dyson, Mr Macintyre, Prof Stratton, the Rev Davidson and Mr Sellers had plenty of questions regarding the aluminising process.

A break of 45 minutes was then granted for members to peruse the exhibits on display and, after a final brief talk by Crommelin and questions from A. M. Newbegin and Mrs Maunder, the President said that 'as the hour was well advanced and most of the company had (he hoped) an important 'engagement' that evening at 19h 30m at Frascati's in Oxford Street, he would declare the meeting adjourned.'

Well, as the President had hoped, the attendance at Frascati's was again healthy for that 1934 April 25 meal with a total of 80 diners being recorded. (18) Maybe one of the subjects of conversation that evening was whether anyone could afford 20 [pounds sterling] to have a mirror aluminised? The guests of honour on this occasion included Lord Rayleigh (Robert Strutt, the fourth Baron Rayleigh) who was the first person to differentiate between the two types of natural light from the night sky, namely the aurora and the airglow. Another distinguished guest was Prof H. H. Plaskett (the new Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford), Mrs Plaskett, and Miss Edith Archibald M.A. (Headmistress of St Albans High School). Both the present and past Astronomers Royal attended (Dr Harold Spencer Jones and his predecessor Sir Frank Dyson) as well as Prof F. J. M. Stratton (the RAS President). In addition, Prof E. W. Brown of Yale University who, as mentioned earlier, had given the Association an account of his work on lunar motion during the afternoon meeting at Sion College, was also included in the company of guests. Prof Plaskett proposed the toast to the Association, pointing out the interdependence of professional and amateur astronomers, and that 'the amateur, through sheer enthusiasm for his work, was in many cases able to rise superior to his instrumental equipment'. The President, addressing the guests, mentioned that Lord Rayleigh was known the world over, not only for his purely physical re searches but also for his systematic photometric observations on the light of the night sky. The Rev Martin Davidson then proposed a toast to the distinguished guests.

As in 1933 Mrs Nancy Thomas of St Albans had kindly consented to sing. On this occasion she delivered some Lieder by Schumann, Rubinstein & Brahms and the President, W. Alfred Parr, called upon Mr A. F. Bennett, a Vice President of the BAA, to occupy the chair while, as he had done in the previous year, he accompanied Mrs Thomas at the piano. Two of Mrs Thomas' performances were delivered in German and one in French and 'she was greeted accordingly with long and well-deserved applause'. Following this applause the President, after adding a piano solo by Brahms (Op. 39, Nos 15 and 16), concluded what was pronounced to have been a very enjoyable evening. Once again the Steinway grand piano was loaned by Messrs. Strong & Jackson of Soho Square.

The careful reader may have suspected a link here between St Albans, where the singer Nancy Thomas and the guest headmistress Edith Archibald lived, and the musical BAA President. In fact W. Alfred Parr was a Doctor of Music, trained by Professor Barth of Berlin; he was also a member of the St Albans Orchestral Society. (19)

1935 Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner in 1935 was again held on the last Wednesday in April (the 24th) at Frascati's restaurant in Oxford Street. (20) The preceding BAA meeting, (21) chaired by the President, Dr Harold Spencer Jones, featured talks on the work of the Variable Star Section by M. (Monsieur) Felix de Roy (22) and a lecture on the work of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia, by Dr J. S. Plaskett. As had become the norm, the April meeting also featured an exhibition of members' work carried out in the previous year. The guests of honour at the meal were Sir Joseph Petavel as well as Dr J. S. Plaskett and Mrs Plaskett, the parents of the previous year's guest, Prof H. H. Plaskett.

Fortunately a high quality photograph of the 1935 annual dinner was taken inside the restaurant and has been studied in great detail; many prominent BAA members are easily identifiable amongst the seventy or so diners (see Figures 1 and 2, page xxx). These include Miss Lydia Brown, J. H. J. Burtt, A. C. D. Crommelin, Dr W. Alfred Parr, Dr Harold Spencer Jones, Gerald Merton, H. W. Newton, Gordon Patston, Bertrand Peek and W. H. Steavenson. The distinctive head of Will Hay is visible occulted by a lady's head (she was sitting next to a pillar) but his hairline is so distinctive there can be little doubt it is Hay, especially as he is sitting at the same table as his friend Steavenson and Steave's companion Maureen Tindall. [Steavenson was often referred to as 'Steave' in BAA circles, but he was also nicknamed 'Pongo', according to Reggie Waterfield, who informed Denis Buczynski of this fact during the 1980s. 'Pongo', or Reginald 'Pongo' Twistleton, was a popular character in P. G. Wodehouse's 1930s novels, which seems the most likely source of this bizarre nickname.]

It is possible that one of the women sitting next to Hay in that 1935 photo is his wife. He separated from her later in 1935 when he moved from Norbury to Hendon. It seems unlikely that M. Felix de Roy would not have been at that Dinner as he had delivered a paper at the preceding meeting (and signed the attendance book at that day's Council meeting). The most likely candidate for Felix de Roy in the 1935 photograph is a face near the upper centre of the image, furthest from the camera, peering around one of the substantial Restaurant Frascati pillars, seated next to the Rev T. E. R. Phillips. The hairstyle of this individual features a distinctive central parting, worn by Felix de Roy but not by anyone else in that photograph. Also, being seated next to Rev Phillips seems appropriate, as although Phillips was known for his planetary work he was also a variable star observer. Even so, the identification of M. de Roy, while tantalising, is far from certain.

1936 Annual Dinner

The successful format of an exhibition style meeting within an ordinary BAA meeting, (23) followed by an annual dinner was also adopted in 1936 with the last Wednesday in April being April 29. (24) The President, Dr Harold Spencer Jones, was again in the chair. The main meeting started with the very sad news of the deaths of Dr W. Alfred Parr (the President just two years earlier, who had played the piano at the 1933 and 1934 dinners) and Mr Alphonso King. Papers were given by Dr Crommelin, Mr Evershed, Mr Peek and Dr Steavenson, who spoke about the delivery of the 200-inch mirror to Mount Palomar. One of the exhibits was a selection of sheets from H. P. Wilkins' proposed 300-inch Moon Map. There was also a presentation about the Michenden School Observatory by Mr Cameron Walker.

The BAA Dinner itself, once again held at Frascati's restaurant, saw more than 60 BAA members and their guests attend. This year the official guests were Sir Richard and Lady Gregory and Professor E. V. Appleton. Once again a high quality photograph taken inside the Restaurant Frascati has been studied in an attempt to identify BAA members (see Figure 3) and this time a young W. M. Baxter and Lydia Brown are easily recognisable on the same table (see Figure 4).

Regular BAA diners such as W. H. Steavenson, the unmistakeable large framed and bearded 'Skipper' Captain Ainslie, Hargreaves, Harold Thomson, Newton, Patston, Prof 'Chubby' Stratton, Peek, Levin, Gerald Merton and J. H. J Burtt can also be recognised with certainty (many of these are shown in Figure 5). However, it can be quite a challenge to distinguish people of a similar facial appearance; no more so than when trying to resolve the difference between the Rev T. E. R. Phillips and the Rev Martin Davidson. Both wore dog collars at the meals and both had similar faces from a distance. (The main trick to distinguishing these Reverends apart is that the younger Rev Martin Davidson had a more lean and 'chiselled' face, with a noticeably more pointed head!)

So what about Will Hay? Well, seated in almost the same position and, again, with most of the head occulted (this time by the pillar) is a hairline that looks remarkably like Hay's. Sadly, this time the occultation is so severe that one can perhaps only be 60% sure it is indeed the stage and screen entertainer.

1937 Annual Dinner

At the 1937 April 28 meeting (25) the President, the Rev Martin Davidson, was in the chair and the secretaries were F. J. Sellers and C. O. Bartrum. Mr M. A. Ellison described the observation of a fireball train and Captain Ainslie confirmed that he had seen the fireball in question from Bournemouth. Mr W. B. Housman showed and described slides of magnetic disturbances recorded during recent auroral displays. The President then spoke about the relative merits of photographic and visual methods in the determination of the positions of comets.

There was a half hour break so that members could examine the exhibits on display. Mr M. Dermul, a Belgian member of the Association, addressed the members and brought greetings from the Antwerp Astronomical Society. Mr F. J. Hargreaves then addressed the meeting on the subject of using colour filters to observe bright stars and the meeting was adjourned at 7 p.m., allowing members plenty of time to get to the Restaurant Frascati. The meeting minutes also recorded the presence of Collinson, Hollis, Newton, T. E. R. Phillips, and the Astronomer Royal (and previous BAA President) Dr Harold Spencer Jones The exhibits on display were provided by Wilkins, Richardson, McEwen, 'the librarian' (Mrs Vera Reade), Patston, Haughton, Ellison and Hammond.

Sadly, many of the diners seated on the furthest left hand table in the 1937 meal photograph (Figure 6) are well outside the picture boundary, although the unmistakeable face of F. J. Sellers, closest to the camera, is well recorded. This is probably why regular Annual Dinner attendees such as Bertrand Peek, Gordon Patston and Captain Ainslie cannot be located on the photograph, despite the fact that they either attended the 1937 afternoon meeting, were regular BAA dinner attendees, or, in Peek's case, was the next BAA President in waiting. Ainslie was definitely present at that day's Council meeting as his signature is clearly recorded in the attendance book.

However, although the table surely accommodating these diners was so badly framed, the 1937 photograph does capture some 50 diners and provides the best shot of Will Hay taken at any BAA annual dinner (Figure 7). For once his head is not occulted by another guest or a pillar and he is looking directly at the camera. Perhaps the photographer chose his restricted vantage point for that sole reason? Hay's good friend W. H. Steavenson is sitting almost opposite Hay and the Astronomer Royal, Dr Harold Spencer-Jones, is not far away on the main guest table. Seated on the central table the faces of Lydia Brown, Gerald Merton, Burtt (near the left hand pillar in the wide angle photo) and Greaves (behind Hay and with a full head of hair) are well recorded. The Figure 7 caption provides further information.

1938 Annual Dinner

For the 1938 April Exhibition meeting, the Rev Martin Davidson was still in the chair, with Sellers and Bartrum continuing to act as secretaries. (26) Mr Sellers addressed the members on the subject of solar activity during the first quarter of 1938 and Mr Newton read a paper by Mr Witchell about the magnetic storm of 1938 April 16. Dr A. C. D. Crommelin then spoke about the return of comet Gale, discovered eleven years earlier. Following a half hour pause to stroll around the exhibits the President introduced the new Lunar Section Director, T. L. MacDonald, who spoke about lunar observation and mentioned with deep regret the recent illness of Mr Goodacre.

Once again the Annual Dinner was held at the Restaurant Frascati commencing at 7.45 p.m. on that April 27 evening. On this occasion it was the guest Professor H. C. Plummer FRS who proposed the toast to the Association's health, to which the Rev Martin Davidson replied, and Major A. E. Levin proposed a toast to the invited guests; Rear-Admiral J. A. Edgell, CB, OBE replied.

A custom BAA Dinner Menu, supplied by Ian Howard-Duff to Richard McKim prior to the BAA Centenary, lists the following courses on that 1938 evening:


Hors d'txuvres Assortis

Queue de Btxuf Claire au Madere Potage Marcilly

Turbotin Florentine Pommes Nature

Cbtelette de Mouton Boulangere Tomate Duxelles

Pintade Rotie a l'Anglaise Salade Melangee

Poire Glacee Melba Gaufrettes


The 1938 dinner photograph (Figures 8 and 9) captured sixty BAA diners with, for once, the majority looking clearly at the camera. There is no evidence of Will Hay attending this meal but a large number of faces can clearly be identified, including regular attendees Rev Martin Davidson, Captain Ainslie, W. H. Steavenson, Maureen Tindall, Bertrand & Mrs Peek, Harold Thomson, Gordon Patston, J. H. J. Burtt, H. W. Newton, F. J. Sellers and F. J. Hargreaves. In addition a number of other BAA members can be found, such as J. G. Porter, L. J. Comrie, Reggie Waterfield, R. Congreve-Pridgeon, Bazin, Green, Heath, Ellison, Kellaway, Fry, Haughton, the Royal Navy Cartographer rear-Admiral J. A. Edgell and the electric clock pioneer Frank Hope-Jones.

1939 Annual Dinner

With tension rising in Europe and the declaration of War a little more than four months away the 1939 April 26 Annual BAA Dinner would be the last ever held. By late 1940 even the regular BAA meetings were seriously disrupted. In 1939 April Bertrand Peek, a regular Dinner attendee, was now the BAA President and so would be the last to preside over an Annual Dinner.

At the exhibition meeting at Sion College preceding that final evening dinner (27) the President announced that Secretary Cyril Bartrum was seriously ill and Frank Holborn was standing in as an acting secretary alongside W. Macintyre. Sadly, Mr Bartrum died just two days later. At the meeting Mr James Young delivered a paper entitled 'The brightness of the totally eclipsed Moon, 1938 Nov 7'. Reggie Waterfield and Cicely M. Botley asked questions following the paper. The members were granted half an hour to look at various exhibits before a paper delivered by Sir Arthur Eddington about 'The Expanding Universe'. Following this talk Reggie Waterfield mentioned the discovery of a new comet named Jurlof-Achmarof-Hassel 1939d, which had been independently discovered by Captain E. W. Barlow, who was also present at the meeting. W. H. Steavenson also commented upon the comet.

A high quality photograph taken at the Restaurant Frascati at the dinner for once captures all three dining tables in their entirety and while there may be a couple of members obscured by pillars it is clear that almost all of the sixty or so attendees are visible (see Figures 10, 11 and 12). The tall figure of F. J. Sellers, once more seated on the end of a table, is unmistakeable, as is Captain Ainslie. W. H. Steavenson again sits at the top of the right hand table not far from Dr Harold Spencer-Jones on the guest table. The distinctive figure of President B. M. Peek is standing at the main table and other dinner regulars, including the Rev Martin Davidson, Dr J. G. Porter, Lydia Brown, Burtt and Hargreaves, are easy to find.

A lady seen side-faced, on the middle table, may be Miss Cicely M. Botley and this is the most likely evidence that she attended a Dinner; as she attended the preceding meeting this makes her presence even more likely. Miss Botley was certainly attending BAA meetings during the 1930s and was probably the only adult member from that era who was also present at the BAA Centenary in 1990. George Alcock was an active and prominent observer during both the 1930s and the 1990s, but rarely attended meetings in either period. Finally, Sir Arthur S. Eddington is identifiable as the main guest on the dignitaries' table at that 1939 Annual Dinner.

After the War

Of course, the Second World War did not last for ever. Victory in Europe day was declared on 1945 May 8 and Victory over Japan day on 1945 Aug 15. The BAA had survived the War with the membership almost doubling (from fewer than 900 to almost 1500) during its duration. Towards the end of 1946 the Council decided to resurrect the Annual Dinner at the Restaurant Frascati and they placed a note in the 1947 January Journal (28) which stated:

'Association Dinner, 1947 May 28--The Council requests members who intend to be present to forward their names to the Assistant Secretary, 303 Bath Road, Hounslow West, not later than May 24. The dinner is to be held in the Restaurant Frascati, Oxford Street; morning dress to be worn. Applications should be accompanied by a remittance for a ticket (price 13s. 6d., exclusive of wines). Tickets for friends can be purchased.'

Note that the meal date is set as being after the May meeting and not the April meeting. Just after this announcement, the next paragraph stated that the 1947 April 30 meeting, at Burlington House, would be an exhibition and conversation meeting, whereas the pre-war format had the April exhibition meeting preceding the meal. Whether this was a poor decision is impossible to tell, but it appears that the May 1947 Annual Dinner did not take place. Ernest Beet (President 1962-1964) mentions, with regard to the proposed 1947 May Dinner, that: 'eventually it was cancelled due to lack of support'. (29) Of course, this post war period was one of strict food rationing and therefore the menu on offer might not have been as appealing as those enjoyed in the pre-war years.

So, the grand era when the BAA held Annual Dinners in a magnificent Piccadilly restaurant, with Astronomers Royal, RAS Presidents, knights of the realm, Lords, highly ranked military men, Nobel Prize winners, and even the most popular comedic film star of the day in attendance, slipped into history more than seventy years ago. Sadly the practice did not survive World War II. At the end of the 1939 meal Bertrand Peek was not only the last of the four Presidents of that seven year, 1933-1939, Restaurant Frascati era (see Figure 13), he was the last of that entire grand Annual Dinner period. The BAA Christmas lunches, some sixty years later, while memorable, were not really in the same league!

Closing thoughts

On the 2010 total solar eclipse expedition, Paul Whiting of Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich), told me that Fortnum & Mason's (almost opposite Burlington House) do a tasty Wagyu Beef sandwich for 95 [pound sterling], so maybe that might be a substitute venue for the current BAA Council to consider if the Annual Dinners are ever resurrected? Alternatively, stroll along Oxford Street just 60 metres east of where the Restaurant Frascati used to be, and you will stumble across a major branch of McDonalds. But finding dignitaries of the calibre of those attending BAA meetings in the 1930s, who would be willing to frequent a burger bar, might be a challenge too far, along with finding a President with concert pianist skills. Maybe a xylophone performance might have to do instead?


The author would like to acknowledge the considerable help received from Dr Richard McKim while carrying out the research for this paper, both in supplying critical BAA photographs and suggesting where information lay hidden within historic BAA Journals and Memoirs. Without Richard's support the paper could never have been attempted. I am also indebted to the BAA Office Manager, Mrs Jean Felles, for her help in locating the Council meeting attendance book signatures corresponding to the Restaurant dinner dates. Thanks also to Denis Buczynski for his recollections of discussions with Reggie Waterfield during the 1980s, and to Lee Macdonald for his useful suggestions at the refereeing stage.

Address: Denmara, 5 Old Hall Lane, Cross Green, Cockfield, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 0LQ. []


(1) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 119(2), 67 (2009)

(2) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 120(1), 15 (2010)

(3) Hooton-Smith E., The Restaurants of London, A. A. Knopf, New York, 1928

(4) Foster A. E. M., London Restaurants by Diner-Out, Brentano's, New York, 1924


(6) Mem. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 42, part 1, 12 (1989)

(7) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 101(3), 162-170 (1991)

(8) Observatory, 20, 445 (1897)

(9) Observatory, 54, 48 (1931)

(10) Observatory, 54, 107 (1931)

(11) Observatory, 54, 158 (1931)

(12) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 42(2), 89 (1931)

(13) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 43(2), 39-40 (1932)

(14) Observatory, 56, 171 & 185 (1933)

(15) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 43(7), 275 (1933)

(16) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 43(7), 292-293 (1933)

(17) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 44(7), 253 (1934)

(18) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 44(7), 278-279 (1934)

(19) Observatory, 59, 197-198 (1936)

(20) Observatory, 58, 189 (1935)

(21) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 45(7), 263 (1935)

(22) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 121(4), 203 (2011)

(23) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 46(7), 249 (1936)

(24) Observatory, 59, 199-200 (1936)

(25) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 47(7), 247-250 (1937)

(26) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 48(7), 265-272 (1938)

(27) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 49(7), 237-244 (1939)

(28) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 57(1), 69 (1947)

(29) Mem. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 42, part 2, 12 (1990)

(30) J. Brit. Astron. Assoc., 70(2), 103 (1959)

Received 2012 March 23; accepted 2012 June 27

Table 1. A list of BAA members and guests known or presumed
to have attended the annual April Dinners at the Restaurant
Frascati from 1933 to 1939 [Derived from Dinner records or
photographs, or presumed to have attended because they were
recorded as present at the Exhibition meeting/Council
meeting immediately preceding the Dinner and/or held a post
in the Association. The 'P' column figure denotes the number
of times a positive identity has been found on a Restaurant
Frascati photograph, with a question mark indicating some
doubt remaining. (See text).]

BAA Member/        BAA post/            P    Dinner years
guest (lifespan)   remarks                   (A = assumed;
                                             C = at Council mtg)

Mr F. Addey        Solar Section             39C

Capt. M. A.        President            3    34A,36,37AC,38,39
Ainslie (1869-     1928-'30;
1951)              Saturn Section

Prof Sir E. V.     Physicist            1    36 Guest

Miss Edith         Headmistress,             34 Guest
Archibald          St Albans High

Mr E. A. Atkins    BAA Councillor            33C

Mr R. Barker       Well known                38? (at mtg)
(1873-1966)        lunar and Mars

Captain E. W.      BAA Councillor            36C, 37C, 39A (at mtg)

Mr C. O.           BAA secretary             34-38 (all A)
Bartrum            1930-'39

Mrs Bathurst       BAA member           1    38

Mr W. M. Baxter    Solar Section        1    36
(1896-1971)        Dir. 1964-'71

Mr J. R. Bazin     Variable star &      1    38

Mr A. F.           BAA Treasurer             34, 35-37AC
Bennett            1936-'37 & Vice
(1871-1937)        Pres.

Miss C. M.         Author and           1?   39A (at mtg)
Botley             historian

Sir William        Nobel prize               33 Guest
Bragg              winning
(1862-1942)        physicist

Mr J. B.           BAA Councillor            33AC
Braithwaite        & solar
(1855-1934)        observer

Prof E. W.         Yale University           34 Guest
Brown              lunar motion

Miss Lydia         Asst Librarian       5    33A, 34A, 35-39
Brown              1928-'31; Asst
(1903-1971)        Sec 1931-'70

Mr J. H. J.        Curator of           4    33A, 35-38
Burtt              Instruments
(1875-1952)        1943-'47

Mr A. Coleman      BAA Councillor/           38C
                   Solar observer

Mr E. H.           Pres. 1952-'54;           33AC, 37A (at mtg)
Collinson          Mars Sect. Dir.
(1903-1990)        1956-'79

Mr L. J. Comrie    Computing Sect.      3    34-35AC 36, 38, 39
(1893-1950)        Dir. 1919-'22

Mr R. Congreve-    Saturn Sect.         2    36, 38
Pridgeon           observer

Dr A. C. D.        Pres. 1904-'06;      1    35, 33-38C
Crommelin          Comet Sect.
(1865-1939)        Dir. 1897-1939

Rev Martin         Pres. 1936-'38;      4    34 & 35AC, 36-39
Davidson           Comet Sect.
(1880-1968)        Dir. 1939-'45

Mr M. Dermul       Belgian                   37A (at mtg)
                   spoke at 1937

Sir F. W. Dyson    Astron. Royal             34
(1868-1939)        1910-'33; BAA
                   Pres. 1916-'18

Sir Arthur         Astrophysicist       1    39
Eddington          spoke at 1939
(1882-1944)        mtg

Rear-Adm. J. A.    Royal Navy           1    38 Guest
Edgell             hydrographer

Mr S. W. H.        BAA Councillor/      1    39
Elliott            meeting
(1904-1989)        projectionist

Mr M. A.           Solar expert;        2?   37A, 38A, 39C
Ellison            Sherborne
(1909-1963)        science teacher

Mr J. Evershed     Solar expert;        1    36
(1864-1956)        RAS Gold

Mr H. P.           BAA Librarian             33AC
Folkard            1932-1934

Mr R. M. Fry       BAA Journal          1    38, 33 & 36-39AC
(1896-1980)        Editor 1937-'43

Mr W. Goodacre     Pres. 1922-'24;           33, 34, 36, all AC
(1856-1938)        Lunar Sect.
                   Dir. 1896-1938

Dr W. M. H.        Astronomer           1    33-35, 37, all AC
Greaves            Royal for
(1897-1955)        Scotland

Sir Richard        Prof at QMC               36 Guests
(1864-1952) &      London, then
Lady Gregory       Editor of

Mr W. Green        BAA member from      2    38, 39

Mr F. J.           Pres. 1942-'44;      3    36, 37A, 38, 39
Hargreaves         Photographic
(1891 -1970)       Sect. Dir.

Mr W. T. Hay       Comedian;            3?   33A, 35, 36?, 37
(1888-1949)        Saturn observer

Mr M. B. B.        Saturn Sect.         2    38, 39
Heath              Dir. (1951-'63)

Mr F. M.           Sec. 1939-'46;            33-39 (excl. 36) AC
Holborn            Curator of
(1884-1962)        Instruments

Mr H. P. Hollis    President                 37A (at mtg), 33&35C
(1858-1939)        1908-' 10

Dr J. L.           BAA Treasurer        1    37A, 38. 39C
Haughton (died     1938-'40

Mr Frank           Electric clock       1    38
Hope-Jones         pioneer

Mr W. B.           Aurora/Zodiacal           37A (at mtg)
Housman (d.        Light Sect.
1955)              Dir. 1928-'51

Dr Harold          Astron. Royal        4    33-39, excl. 38?
Spencer Jones      1933-'55; BAA
(1890-1960)        Pres. 1934-'36;
                   KBE 1943

Mr G. F.           Photo Sect.          2    37, 38
Kellaway           Dir. 1937-'50

Dr H. Knox-Shaw    Director,                 33 Guest
(1885-1970)        Radcliffe Obs.;
                   RAS Pres.

Mr A. W. Lane      BAA Councillor            37C

Mr Lee             BAA member                33A (at mtg)

Major A. E.        Pres. 1930-'32;      2    33, 36, 38 (33-37C)
Levin              Comput. Sect.
(1872-1939)        Dir. 1936-'38

Mr W. M.           Variable Star             35C, 37C
Lindley (1891      Sect. Dir.
-1972)             1939-'58

Mr A. W. Long      Astron. Soc. of           34A (at mtg)
                   South Africa

T. L. MacDonald    Lunar Sect.          1?   35? 38A (at mtg)
(1901 -1973)       Dir. 1938-'46

Mr W. Macintyre    Treasurer            1    34A, 38, 35-39C
(1875-1947) +      1937-'38; Sec.
wife               1938-'45

Mr J. D.           Comput. Sect.             34C
McNeile            Dir. 1934-'35

Mrs Annie          Mathematician.            34A (at mtg)
Maunder            Journal Editor
(1868-1947)        1894-'96 &

Dr G. Merton       Pres. 1950-'52;      3    33A, 34C, 35-37
(1893-1983)        Comet Sect.
                   Dir. 1945-'58

Prof. E. A.        Oxford               1    37
Milne              astrophysicist
(1896-1950)        & mathematician

Mr A. M.           Solar Sect.               34A, 33 & 36 & 37C
Newbegin           Dir. 1925-'37

Mr H. W. Newton    RGO solar            3    35, 36, 37C, 38, 39?
(1893-1985)        expert

Dr W. Alfred       Pres. 1932-'34;      1    33-35
Parr               Librarian
(1864?-1936)       1919-'32

Gordon E.          Variable star        4    35-39 (37A)
Patston            observer

Mr B. M. Peek      Pres. 1938-'40;      4    35-39 (37A)
(1891 -1965)       Jupiter Sect.
                   Dir. 1934-'49

Sir Joseph         Physicist            1    35 Guest

Rev. T. E. R.      Pres. 1914-'16;      2    33, 35, 36, 37?, 39C
Phillips           Jupiter Sect.
(1868-1942)        Dir. 1901-'34

Prof. H. H.        Savilian Prof.            34 Guest
Plaskett           Oxford. Son of
(1893-1980)        JSP (below)

Dr J. S.           Director,            1    35 Guest
Plaskett           Dominion
(1865-1941)        Observatory

Prof. H. C.        Astronomer &              38 Guest
Plummer            mathematician

Dr J. G. Porter    President            2    38, 39
(1900-1981)        1948-'50;
                   Comput. Sect.
                   Dir. 1938-'59

Mr J. P. M.        Meteor Sect.              35C, 36C
Prentice           Dir. 1923-'54

Lord Rayleigh      (4th Baron):              34 Guest
(1875-1947)        Robert John

Mrs V. Reade       BAA Librarian             37C, 38C, 39C

Mr H. W. P.        Comput. Sect.             35C
Richards           Dir.1935-'36

Mr F. Robbins      BAA Treasurer             33AC
(1861?-1945)       (1927-'31) &

M. Felix de Roy    Variable Star        1?   35A,C (at mtg + Ccl)
(1883-1942)        Sect. Dir.

Donald H.          RGO Chief            1    39, 34 & 35C
Sadler             Asst/HMNAO
(1908-1987)        Superint.

Mr F. J.           Pres. 1940-'42;      3    33-36 AC, 37-39
Sellers            Sec. 1928-'38
(1875-1959)        Solar Sect.
                   Dir. 1937-'51

Dr W. H.           Pres. 1926-'28;      5    34C, 35-39
Steavenson         Saturn/Mars/
(1894-1975)        Methods of Obs.

Miss C. O.         Meteor Sect.         1    37
Stevens            Dir. 1905-'11

Prof. F. J. M.     Astrophysicist;      1    33 Guest, 34, 36
Stratton           RAS Pres.
(1881-1960)        1933-'35

Mrs Nancy          Guest singer              33, 34
Thomas             from St Albans

Mr H. Thomson      Pres. 1918-'20;      5    35-39
(1874-1962)        Mars Sect. Dir.

Miss Todd          Relative/Guest            33 Guest
                   of Sir William

Mr H. Tompkins     Lunar observer            38? (at mtg)

Miss Maureen       BAA friend of        4    35, 36, 38, 39
Tindall            Dr W. H.

Mr Cameron         Associated with           36? (at mtg)
Walker             Michenden

Mr H. H. Waters    Liverpool            1    38
+ wife             astrophotographer/

Dr R. L.           Pres. 1954-'56;      1    33A, 35C, 38, 39A
Waterfield         Mars Sect. Dir.
(1900-1986)        1932-'42

Mr J. Young        Spoke at mtg              39A

                   prior to dinner
COPYRIGHT 2013 The British Astronomical Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Mobberley, M.P.
Publication:Journal of the British Astronomical Association
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2013
Previous Article:First results in Perseid meteor spectros.
Next Article:The lightcurve of supernova 2011fe in Messier 101.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters