Illustration of H-4 © National Maritime Museum,
1714 the English Parliament offered a prize of £20,000 to
whoever could solve the problem of identifying longitude accurately
and reliably at sea. Several scientists took up the challenge by
pursuing the lunar method, imagining it would be imposible to invent
a clock that would withstand the sea's rocking and accompanying
changes of temperature. Only a self-educated carpenter turned clockmaker
from Lincolnshire, John Harrison, dared challenge the lunar scientists
and invent the perfect chronometer.
a genius, John Harrison was also a prickly and combative character.
In their dealings with him the members of the Board of Longitude
– the 'priests and professors' as he dubbed them – spent
over forty years discovering how stubborn he could be.
– the Play (based on the book Longitude
by Dava Sobel) was premiered at the Greenwich Theatre, London in
October 2005. (Cast 9+m, 1f)
invigorating piece of theatre”
Billington, The Guardian
with passion and intelligence”
The Sunday Times