The Newlyn Tidal Observatory
Compiled by Richard Cockram, Linda Holmes, Ron Hogg and Frank Iddiols
Edited by P Lomax
Published by Newlyn Archive 2018
The new book tells the story of the small unassuming building next to the lighthouse on Newlyn’s South Pier. It is the Newlyn Tidal Observatory and it houses a simple domed brass bolt set in a recess in the floor, the top of which is the bench mark for all height measurements in mainland Great Britain.
The Observatory opened in 1915, when the first world war was already underway. Its job was to collect sea level data which was used to calculate a mean sea level that became the bench mark for all heights in Great Britain and is known as the Newlyn Datum. The book describes the original equipment installed in the Observatory, the people who acted as official tidal observers, and how the work evolved over the next hundred years. The story has never been told with such detail, because the authors had available the original Newlyn Harbour Logs, Minute Books and Account Books, meticulously written by various harbour clerks, covering the period from when the Tidal Observatory was first conceived until the records held in the Archive end in 1986.
The iconic painting on the cover of the book is The South Pier, Newlyn by Edwin V Forrest RCA, 1918-2002 Courtesy Anne Forrest.