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National Maritime Museum

Mackay, Doctor Andrew (c 1760-1809)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 MKY

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Mackay, Doctor Andrew (c 1760-1809)

Date(s): 1787-1806

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 1ft; 30cm

Name of creator(s): Mackay | Andrew | c 1760-1809 | astronomer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mackay was in charge of the astronomical observatory at Aberdeen from 1781 to 1795. In 1793 he published The theory and practice of finding the longitude at sea or land (London, 2 vols). When the chair of Natural Philosophy at Aberdeen fell vacant in 1800, MacKay was proposed but the election was contested. In 1802, Nevil Maskelyne (1730-1811), the Astronomer Royal, suggested that he should go to Australia to join the expedition led by Matthew Flinders, as their astronomer had returned home early in the voyage. Mackay, however, still hoped that he might win the Aberdeen election and, in addition, felt the pay offered by the Board of Longitude was too small. In 1804, his hopes having failed, he came to London. He was appointed mathematical examiner to Trinity House in 1805 and to similar posts with the East India Company and Christ's Hospital during the year following. As well as teaching and examining, he published further works on astronomy, navigation and mathematics.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Doctor Andrew Mackay, consisting of letters received including several from Maskelyne, 1787 to 1805, and a series, written between 1794 and 1806, by Francis Maseres (1731-1824), the mathematician. In addition, there are several papers relating to his career, a manuscript copy of 'The theory and practice of finding the longitude' and several of his printed works.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were presented in 1941 by A.L. Mackay, on behalf of his aunt, Andrew Mackay's grand-daughter, and in 1961 by Mrs M. Thresher, Mackay's great-great-grand-daughter.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Longitude | Geodesy | Geophysics

Personal names
Mackay | Andrew | c 1760-1809 | astronomer
Maseres | Francis | 1731-1824 | mathematician, historian and reformer
Maskelyne | Nevil | 1732-1811 | astronomer

Corporate names