Sir William Peck

1862 - 1925

'City Astronomer' and scientific instrument maker. Peck was born in Castle Douglas (Dumfries and Galloway) and, despite the lack of a formal education in astronomy, was lecturing on the subject in Edinburgh by 1883. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1885. Peck was employed to run a private observatory for Robert Cox, a glue manufacturer from Gorgie (Edinburgh) and a Member of Parliament. He was an ingenious maker of telescopes and instruments, who carefully documented his work. His works include the Popular Handbook and Atlas of Astronomy (1890). In 1896, the city council appointed Peck as first Director of the City Observatory on Calton Hill, which he ran ably until his death. In 1898, he founded a company to build electric motor carriages. Madelvic House and Works remains in Granton in Edinburgh. He was knighted in 1917 and elected Honorary President of the Edinburgh Astronomical Association in 1924.

He died in Edinburgh and lies buried in Warriston Cemetery.

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