Friday 17 April 2020

Astronomy in the North West # 8 April 17th 1873 John Stanistreet Liverpool Navigator and Horologist

John Stanistreet

A native of Liverpool he was the son of an eminent solicitor. He had great interest in science and mechanics but sadly his health was never strong. He decided to follow his father’s profession as a solicitor. The family firm became one of the top solicitors in Liverpool. They were involved in negotiating some of the largest land sales in the commercial city of Liverpool.

Due to a problem with his lungs he spent the winter 1840 and 1841 on the island of Madeira where the air was cleaner. While travelling by ship he gained a great interest in navigation and the positions of the stars. He spent some time travelling to the Greek island and impressed the captains of ships with his navigational skills due to knowing the positions of the stars.

In 1851 he travelled to Sweden with his friends William Lassell and George Williams (see North Western Astronomy News 07.04.20), to watch an eclipse of the Sun, he travelled to Spain in 1860 to see another but the weather was cloudy.

His health continued to decline and he was forced to withdraw from the family business. He decided to converted a dressing room at his house as a laboratory.

It was hear that he made the Stanistreet A1 clock which was described and figured in the English Mechanic of March 1872. The smallness and the regularity of rate of the A1 in very unequal temperatures was really a marvel. The clock was as good as any that were used at the Royal Observatory. I don’t know if the Stanistreet A1 clock still exists and if it does its location.

Sadly John Stanistreet’s health continued to decline and sadly he died on April 17th 1873

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