HC Deb 12 June 1884 vol 289 cc73-4

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, in the proposed transfer of the Royal Edinburgh Observatory to the University of Edinburgh, (sec. 17, Universities (Scotland) Bill), it is intended to pass it over in its present inefficient state, or after being duly equipped and furnished with instruments as recommended by Lord Lindsay's Commission?


My best reply to this Question would be to tell my hon. Friend how the recommendations of Lord Lindsay's Commission have been dealt with. As regards the instruments, Lord Lindsay made some detailed recommendations in 1879, and it was decided to carry them out. There has been much delay in doing this, owing to the great care required, and to the many calls on the time of the representative of the Office of Works in Scotland; but some progress has been made, and the Government are prepared to complete the work, or to pay over the cost of it to the University. Arrangements have been made for relieving the Staff, on its transfer to the University, of the meteorological work it now performs. A proposal has been made to the Royal Society of Edinburgh as to the printing of the Star Catalogue, which, it is hoped, will lead to a settlement of this very difficult question. Provision has been made for a residence for the second assistant. The Government are prepared to ask Parliament to make a further grant of £400 to the University on the transfer, to enable it to settle any outstanding claims of the Professor or others. There remains only the suggested increase of salaries; and as to that it would be most improper if we were to raise salaries at the very time when we are proposing the transfer of the staff to another Body.