Liverpool Observatory and Tidal Institute, Bidston, Birkenhead



From the catalogue of the collection: The Liverpool Observatory & Tidal Institute was the amalgamation of two different organisations. The origins of the Liverpool Observatory go back to the 1830s when the need for accurate time and weather forecasts for the ships of Liverpool port were publicly recognised. In 1857 the Observatory became the responsibility of the newly formed Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. The Tidal Institute was established in 1919 under the control of the University of Liverpool. It was intended principally to be a research institution with a special interest in improving tide tables. On 1 January 1929 the two organisations officially amalgamated after several years of close co-operation. This coincided with the reduction in importance of the work of the Observatory. Astronomical work tailed off at the beginning of the twentieth century as ships could then receive accurate time via radio signals. Meteorological work then became more important but within a decade of the amalgamation forecasting ceased as did the regular transmissions to the Meteorological Office in London. The work of the Tidal Institute offset this decline. The Institute became world renowned for its work in the development of scientific storm surge and tidal predictions and the development of Tide Predicting Machines. The Institute took a prominent part in international activity on tidal and other branches of physical oceanography. Today the Observatory at Bidston is still in operation and continues to collect meteorological data, as the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (named after the first Director of the amalgamated Observatory. This collection covers the years 1927-1939 and 1943-1958. The collection was originally 8 boxes of correspondence and other related papers bound up together in roughly chronological order. Some papers were individually bundled, others were loose. Considerable arrangement was required to elucidate the collection, which has been described at bundle level. The collection is stored offsite and will be recalled upon request. Please contact The Archives Centre with details of the items you wish to consult and to arrange a visit to the Searchroom. Names: Liverpool Observatory & Tidal Institute, or L.O.T.I. (1929-1961) Bidston Observatory, unofficial title (1867-present) Liverpool Observatory (c.1845-1929) Liverpool University Tidal Institute (1919-1929) University of Liverpool Tidal Institute and Observatory (1961-1969) Institute of Coastal Oceanography and Tides (1969-1973) Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (1973-1987) The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, or P.O.L. (1987-present)