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History of Astronomy Group – ‘Agnes Mary Clerke – from Skibbereen to the Universe’ by Janice McClean

February 25 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Agnes Mary Clerke

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Agnes Mary Clerke was a quiet home educated Victorian lady born in a small village in Co Cork. She went on to become one of the most renowned and respected writers of historical astronomy and problems of the cosmos. She had connections with the directors of most of the world’s greatest observatories in her time and her opinion and good advice was sought by them all on their publications. She spoke several languages including Latin and was an accomplished pianist.

This talk is the story of her life, how she came to leave her small village in the midst of the Irish famine, moved to Dublin then London where she spent most of her adult life, being finally buried in Brompton Cemetery. She lived in Italy for several years then finally settled with her brother and sister in a house in Redcliff Square in Belgravia.

She published widely in the Edinburgh Review, Nature, Enclopedia Britannica – her biographies are still quoted in research, and she wrote seven major books – mainly on astronomy, but also on Plato and the lives of Caroline and William Herschel. She was one of the founder Council members of the British Astronomical Association. The Royal Astronomical Society at this time did not admit women as members.

Later the RAS relented and issued a medal in her name for History of Science. She also has a crater on the moon named after her, close to the site of one of the Apollo landings.

Speaker biography:

Janice McClean is a retired specialist in financial and proceeds of crime who took up astronomy to “restore her sanity”. She drags her 80mm William Optics refractor around the world and is an active member of Crayford Manor House Astronomy Society Dartford, and Flamsteed. Janice has been a member of BAA Council for 4 years and has just concluded a three year stint on the Board of Trustees. Regular observer at Kelling Heath Star Parties. Also, a keen musician, gardener and a bit of birdwatching thrown in.

Booking details:

The talk is free to Flamsteed members. If you plan to come along it would help us if you registered for the talk so we know how many people to expect (and seats to provide!).


Please do not book a place on this event if you are not a member of the society. Your booking will be cancelled if your name does not appear on our membership database.


February 25
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Royal Observatory Greenwich
Blackheath Avenue
London, SE10 8XJ United Kingdom
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