Edward Joseph Lowe - Astronomer, Meteorologist, naturalist etc of Highfields House (affectionately k
About this image
Edward Joseph Lowe was born in 1825 at Highfield House, near Nottingham (Highfield House was sold by the Lowes family in 1881 and passed through various hands until it was sold to Sir Jesse Boot in 1919-20 and it now forms part of The University of Nottingham.) He began to make meteorological observations there when he was fifteen years of age and continued to do so until 1882, when he removed to Chepstow, Monmouthshire. He published A Treatise on Atmospheric Phenomena in 1846 and also wrote several papers on meteors and fireballs. He observed the solar eclipse of 1860 near Santander in northern Spain and during it made a series of meteorological observations, among them measurements of temperature at various heights above the ground. He was an authority not only on meteorology but also on ferns, grasses and conchology. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and also a Fellow of the Linnaean, Zoological, Geological and Royal Astronomical Societies. He died at his residence (Shirenewton Hall, Monmouthshire) on 10 March 1900, by coincidence the same day that another distinguished member of the Royal Meteorological Society passed away, namely George James Symons (about whom a pen portrait was published in Weather in 1993, Volume 48, No.3, pages 75-77). Edward Joseph Lowe was a son of Alfred Lowe (1789-1856) and brother of Captain (later Colonel) Arthur Swann Howard Lowe (1826-1888) who both joined the British Meteorological Society on 7 May 1850. For an obituary of Edward Lowe, see the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 1901, Volume 27, page 220. For an obituary of Alfred Lowe, see the Report of the Council of the British Meteorological Society read at the Seventh Annual General Meeting, 27 May 1857, pages 5-6. For an obituary of Arthur Lowe, see the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 1889, Volume 15, page 89. Alfred made meteorological observations at Highfield House until ten days before his death (which occurred on 10 August 1856). He was a keen astronomer and built an observatory, and he also grew rare and exotic plants in the grounds of his house. He was a Justice of the Peace for the County of Nottingham. Following is an account of the forming of the Royal Meteorological Society (taken from their web-site):- 'On 3 April 1850, ten gentlemen assembled in the library of Hartwell House, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. According to the minutes of the meeting, they gathered 'to form a society the objects of which should be the advancement and extension of meteorological science by determining the laws of climate and of meteorological phenomena in general'. They called the society the British Meteorological Society and appointed as its president Samuel Charles Whitbread, a grandson of the founder of the famous brewing firm. The society they formed still exists and flourishes. It became The Meteorological Society in 1866, when it was incorporated by Royal Charter, and the Royal Meteorological Society in 1883, when Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted the privilege of adding 'Royal' to the title. Besides Whitbread, those present at the meeting on 3 April 1850 were Dr John Lee, the owner of Hartwell House, the Reverend Samuel King of Latimer, near Chesham, the Reverend Joseph Bancroft Reade of Stone Vicarage, near Aylesbury, the Reverend Charles Lowndes of Hartwell Rectory, James Glaisher, Superintendent of the Magnetic and Meteorological Department of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, Edward Joseph Lowe of Highfield House, near Nottingham, Vincent Fasel of Stone, near Aylesbury, John Drew of Southampton and William Rutter of Haverstock Hill, north-west London. Mr Glaisher was appointed Honorary Secretary and Dr Lee Honorary Treasurer.