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Thomas Holmes Blakesley

Male 1847 - 1929  (81 years)



  • Name Thomas Holmes Blakesley  [1, 2, 3
    Birth 08 Jul 1847  Vicarage, Ware Find all individuals with events at this location   [1, 3, 4, 5
    • July 8th, at Ware Vicarage, Herts, Mrs. Blakesley, of a son. [The Standard]
    Baptism 13 Aug 1847  St Mary the Virgin, Ware Find all individuals with events at this location   [5
    Education 1860 - 1865  Charterhouse, Smithfield Find all individuals with events at this location ; Saunderites  [6, 7, 8
    Residence Apr 1861  Charterhouse, Smithfield Find all individuals with events at this location   [6
    Education 1865 - 1869  King's College, Cambridge Find all individuals with events at this location   [7
    Degree/Qualif. 1869  Cambridge University Find all individuals with events at this location ; BA  [7
    Occupation Apr 1871  BA, Student Civil Engineer  [9
    Residence Apr 1871  The Village, Charlton, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location   [9
    • lodger
    Degree/Qualif. abt 1872  Cambridge University Find all individuals with events at this location ; MA  [3, 7
    Degree/Qualif. abt 1877  M Inst CE  [3
    Marriage 23 Dec 1885  Christ Church, Hampstead Find all individuals with events at this location   [2, 3, 10, 11
    Edith Tatham,   b. 15 Jan 1844, North End, Hampstead Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Mar 1919, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation Mar 1901  Instructor, Royal Naval College  [12
    Residence Mar 1901  3 Eliot Hill, Lee, Lewisham Find all individuals with events at this location   [12
    Post/Rank/Title 1902  Master, Mercers Company  [13
    Occupation Apr 1911  Civil Engineer  [14
    Residence Apr 1911  7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Find all individuals with events at this location   [14
    Residence 1922  7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Find all individuals with events at this location   [3, 15
    Death 13 Feb 1929  7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Find all individuals with events at this location   [16, 17, 18
    • On Feb. 13, 1929, at 7, Cromwell-crescent, S.W.5, Thomas Holmes Blakesley, second son of the late Very Revd. J. W. Blakesely, Dean of Linciln, aged 81. Service at St. Philip's Church, Earl's Court-road, Kensington, at 11 o'clock on Tuesday. Interment at Brompston Cemetery. Pirmasens (Germany) papers, please copy. [The Times]
    Burial 19 Feb 1929  Brompton Cemetery Find all individuals with events at this location   [16
    Probate 23 Mar 1929  London Find all individuals with events at this location ; £4,418 0s. 1d.  [18
    • Blakesley Thomas Holmes of 7 Cromwell-crescent Earls-court Middlesex died 13 February 1929 Probate London 23 March to Edwared Holmes Blakesley retired civil servant. Effects £4418 0s. 1d. [NPC]
    Notes 
    • Mr. T. H. Blakesley, to whom science is indebted for important researches in physics, died on Wednesday at his home in London at the age of 81.
      Thomas Holmes Blakesley, M.Inst.C.E., was born in 1847, the second son of the Very Rev. J. W. Blakesley, Dean of Lincoln. From Charterhouse he went up to King's College, Cambridge, and took his degree as a Wrangler in 1869. With a mind eager to apply itself to practical problems, he accepted early in his career an appointment under the Government of Ceylon as an engineer for irrigation works. It was during this period that he studied the ruins of Sigiri, concerning which, in 1875, he contributed an account to the Royal Asiatic Society. He also carried out some engineering work in Central Europe, but his real bent was for physical science. When he began his scientific researches with definite purpose, he was attracted to the measurement of alternating currents of electricity.
      It was fortunate therefore that in 1885 a vacancy occurred at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, for an instructor in physics and mathematics. Professor W. D. Niven, F.R.S., who was then Director of Studies, knew of Blakesley's contributions to electrical theory, and selected him for the appointment. The college provided the facilities necessary for experiments, the results of which may be said to have strengthened the foundations of the science and practice of accurate measurement of alternating currents.
      Blakesley's publications on the subject began in the Electrician, and the first edition of his famous treatise entitled "Papers on Alternating Currents of Electricity for the use of Students and Engineers " appeared in 1885. Three more editions were called for, and the book was translated and published in Germany, France, and Russia. The French translator added an appendix of his own, and the Russian publisher embodied the French appendix in his edition.
      At the time that Blakesley began this work most electricians were content with Ohm's law and simple equations. Wilhelm Weber had produced an electro-dynamometer which Siemens had: improved for measurements of direct current, and it was with an instrument of this kind and a primitive alternating-current dynamo that Blakesley demonstrated the principles of which he had given geometrical proofs. He separated the two coils of the instrument - "split" them, as he called it - and he sent alternating currents through each, sometimes from two independent sources, to illustrate the measurement of "power." For this reason, and because they were somewhat perplexed by the calculations, electricians gave the Blakesley instrument the nickname of the
      "head-splitting dynamometer." Further, he showed that, by a combination of three such instruments, "phase" could be determined. He also carried on a spirited discussion on the question of magnetic "lag," and he made valuable contributions to the theory of the transmission of "power," telephony through long cables, and the application of hyperbolic functions to electrical problems. Moreover, recognizing thus early the need that must arise for them, he constructed a table of numerical values for those functions.
      It will surprise many who are acquainted with his electrical investigations to know that, looking back upon his achievements, late in life, he regarded his chief work to have been the reform of the teaching of geometrical optics. He attacked with vigour, and with pleasant sarcasm, the academical definition of "focal length." In his opinion, the defect of this definition was in the difficulty of applying it in certain cases where the thickness of the lens introduces ambiguity. He therefore suggested a definition depending on a simple relationship between magnification, the radius of the lens, and a change in the position of the image. His book entitled "Geometrical Optics" appeared in 1903, but he described the principles of his proposed reforms in optics in a paper which he read before the Physical Society of London in 1897. A year later he contributed to that society an account of a new barometer, called the "Amphisbaena," and in 1907 a paper which deserves more attention than it has yet received on "Logarithmic Lazy-tongs and Lattice-works." His synthetic spectroscope superimposes three homogeneous portions of the spectrum in one view, and is consequently a colour-mixer of a refined type. An example of this beautiful instrument was given by the Mercers' Company to Finsbury Technical College.
      With failing health in recent years he sought to continue his studies in optics and in lattice-works, but his strength was insufficient to enable him to publish his results. He retained his appointment at the Royal Naval College until 1904. He was Master of the Mercers' Company in 1902 and 1903.
      As hon. secretary for some years of the Physical Society, Blakesley did much to impart to that body the fraternal spirit that continues to unite academical and industrial physicists. His fame will be perpetuated by his electrical and optical work; remembrance of him by his disposition, and by the high principles that illuminated the actions of his modest life.
      His qualities were of a kind that restrained him from any endeavour to seek recognition for his achievements.
      [The Times, obituary, 15 Feb 1929]
    • Mr. Rollo Appleyard writes:- The obituary notice in The Times of Mr. Thomas H. Blakesley recalls the fact that the father of this distinguished physicist was J. W. Blakesley, Dean of Lincoln. The Dean was one of the youthful band of friends that included Trench, Maurice, Alford, Hallam, and Tennyson. He was for many years a contributor to The Times, and it is recorded that "he illuminated its pages with practical wisdom." He it was that described Tennyson as "truly one of the mighty of the earth," and it was of him that Tennyson said "he ought to be Lord Chancellor, for he is a subtle and powerful reasoner, and an honest man."
      Thomas inherited these qualities, together with a nature quick to perceive human need, apt in knowing how to give help, and aglow with a desire to give relief. In recent years his declining health restricted his activities, but his zeal for physical science never diminished. During this time, his attention was directed chiefly to the study of mechanical linkages - particularly those of the Bricard type - and to geometrical optics. To the last few days of his life he insisted upon the need for a definition of focal length, i.e., in his own words, "that the focal length is the distance you have to move an object in order to change its lineal size, relatively to its image, by unity." From this definition he recently developed a table of optical properties of lenses, thus greatly amplifying the cases dealt with in his book, now, unfortunately, out of print. Although his presentation of the theory of optics is in some respects less convincing than his treatment of the many other advances in physics with which he was identified, these tables will be of permanent value. He took delight in astronomy, and in his final observation of Jupiter, from his bedroom window, he collapsed, bringing the telescope down on his Head.
      Naval officers, many of whom were instructed in nautical surveying at Greenwich, will like to know that in his solitude in 1914 he applied his skill in the endeavour to solve one of the many mysteries of the Battle of Coronel. He derived all his data from The Times report, of November 19, 1914, relatlve to the dispatch from H.M.S. Glasgow. Taking into account the latitudes, the time of sunset, the difference between apparent and mean time, and assuming a southerly course and a speed of 25 knots, he concluded that the position of the battle was widely different from that said to have been entered in the ship's log. [The Times, 18 Feb 1929]
    • Blakesley, Thomas H. MA; MInstCE. Born 1847; 2nd s of Very Rev. J. W. Blakesley, late Dean of Lincoln; died 13 Feb 1929. Education: Charterhouse; King's College, Cambridge. Career: Civil Engineer and Man of Science; contributed an account of the ruins of Sigiri in Ceylon to the Royal Asiatic Society, 1875; and discovered a large mass of meteoric iron by the local effect on the magnetic declination; has improved the methods of defining and measuring the properties of optical instruments, and has devised new forms of lenses and spectroscopes; in electricity he has worked on alternating currents, and allied problems in telegraph cables, and electrical power transmission; his tables of the hyperbolic functions were published by the Physical Society, and an integrator for measuring them directly has been described in the Philosophical Magazine; has invented a portable mercurial barometer (the amphisbæna) having a mercury column of only a few inches; has written on the properties of the logarithmic spiral, and devised a linkage for developing families of these curves; has invented various mechanical methods of solving cubic equations and allied problems; has pointed out the connexion of logarithmic curves with those of Spanish-Arabian architecture. Publications: Alternating Currents of Electricity, 1899; Geometrical Optics, 1903; Scientific work on various subjects; writes on the mathematical treatment of problems in physics, principally in geometrical optics, and electricity; most of his work has been published in the Proceedings of the Physical Society of London, and the Philosophical Magazine. Club: Athenæum. Address: 7 Cromwell Crescent, South Kensington, SW. [Who's Who]
    • Thomas Holmes Blakesley (1847 - 13. Februar 1929) war ein britischer Mathematiker und Practical Scientist. Nachdem er 1869 an der University of Cambridge graduiert hatte (34th Wrangler, 1869) machte er eine Lehre im Bauingenieurwesen und wurde dann freiberuflicher Berater. Er interessierte sich für elektrische Übertragung, insbesondere Telephonie und Telegraphie. ... . Ein seinerzeitiges Problem war die Zeitverzögerung durch Selbstinduktion auf langen Strecken wie in Seekabeln. 1884 erhielt er ein Patent auf einen, von J. T. Mair & Co. London gebauten Apparat zur Messung der Zeitkonstanten von Stromkreisen. Ab 1885 war er am Royal Naval College Dozent für Mathematik und Physik.
      Werke [Bearbeiten]
      * Electricity at the Board of Trade, by Thomas Holmes Blakesley, M.A. Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.; London; Sampson Low, Marston, ...; 1883 ;
      * A New Heliograph; In RUSI Journal 31 (1887) pp. 593-94;
      * A table of hyperbolic cosines and sines; Taylor and Francis, 1890 (evtl. maschinell erstellt; soll Fehler enthalten);
      * Papers on Alternative Currents of Electricity for the use of students and engineers; 3. ed.; London, 1891;
      * Die elektrischen Wechselströme : zum Gebrauche für Ingenieure und Studierende; Springer u. Oldenbourg, 1891.
      [German Wikipedia accessed 11 Jan 2009]
    • Thomas Holmes Blakesley: Adm. at King's, Oct. 1865. 2nd s. of Joseph Williams, Vicar of Ware, Herts. b. 1847. School, Charterhouse. Matric. Michs. 1865; Exhibitioner; Prizeman; B.A. (34th Wrangler) 1869; M.A. 1872. Government Engineer in Ceylon; designed irrigation works there, 1872-5, and also carried out engineering work in Central Europe. Instructor in Physics and Mathematics at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1885-1904. Widely known for his researches in Physics. His treatise Papers on Alternating Currents of Electricity for the use of Students and Engineers (1885) was translated and published in France, Germany and Russia. Reformed the teaching of geometrical optics. During the Great War worked on 'buoyancy of the atmosphere' and apparatus connected therewith. Hon. Secretary of the Physical Society for many years. Author, Geometrical Optics, etc.; contributed a number of Scientific papers to the Philosophical Magazine. Died Feb. 13, 1929, aged 81, in London. Brother of George H. Blakesley (adm. 1864), etc. [Cambridge University Alumni]
    • Author of "Electricity at the Board of Trade" Publ. London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1883
    • Blakesley, Thomas Holmes. b. 8 Jul l847, 2nd s. of Rev.Joseph Williams Blakesley, V. of Ware, Herts., later Dean of Lincoln. Saunderites, Sep 1860-May 1865. Exhibitioner of King's, Camb.· B.A. 1869; M.A. 1872. Gov. Engineer in Ceylon 1873-6. M.I.C.E. 1885. Instructor in Physics and Maths at R.N.C., Greenwich, 1885-1904. Gov. of St. Paul's Sch. 1898-1903 and 1916-29. A very distinguished scientist and mathematician. Author of 'Papers on Alternating Currents of Electricity', 'Geometrical Optics', etc. m. 1885, Edith, 4th d. of Joseph Tatham, solicitor, of Hampstead. d. London 13 Feb 1929. [Charterhouse School Register]
    Person ID I1495  Tatham | Bloxham branch | Spouse
    Last Modified 01 May 2014 

    Father Joseph Williams Blakesley,   b. 06 Mar 1808, 38 Coleman St, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Apr 1885, Deanery, Lincoln Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years) 
    Mother Margaret Wilson Holmes,   b. abt 1823, Bungay Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jul 1880, Deanery, Lincoln Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years) 
    Marriage 21 Aug 1845  Blything Find all individuals with events at this location   [19, 20
    Notes 
    • 7s & 4d [20]
    • resid Mar 1851: children George, 4; Thomas, 3; Margaret, 2; Philip, 6w; + sister Esther Williams Blakesley; + 6 serv.
    • resid Apr 1871: 10 children: George H, 24; Margaret, 22; Philip H, 20; John H, 18; William H, 15; Elizabeth, 14; Mary, 12; Alicia, 10; Arthur H, 7; Edmund H, 2; + 5 serv.
    Family ID F0562  Family Group Sheet

    Family Edith Tatham,   b. 15 Jan 1844, North End, Hampstead Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 02 Mar 1919, Kensington Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Marriage 23 Dec 1885  Christ Church, Hampstead Find all individuals with events at this location   [2, 3, 10, 11
    • On the 22d. Dec., at Christ Church, Hampstead, by the Rev. George Head, Vicar of Christ Church, assisted by the Rev. Joshua Kirkman, Vicar of St, Stephen's, Hampstead, Thomas Holmes Blakesley, second son of the late Dean of Lincoln, to Edith, fourth daughter of the late Joseph Tatham, of The Mount, Hampstead. [The Times]
    • marr 25 Dec 1884 per Curtis
    Thomas Holmes Blakesley & Edith Tatham
    Thomas Holmes Blakesley & Edith Tatham
    Marriage register
    Notes 
    • no children [1911 census]
    • 2 serv Mar 1901, Apr 1911
    Last Modified 16 Sep 2012 
    Family ID F0071  Family Group Sheet

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 08 Jul 1847 - Vicarage, Ware Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - 13 Aug 1847 - St Mary the Virgin, Ware Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - Saunderites - 1860 - 1865 - Charterhouse, Smithfield Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Apr 1861 - Charterhouse, Smithfield Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsEducation - 1865 - 1869 - King's College, Cambridge Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDegree/Qualif. - BA - 1869 - Cambridge University Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Apr 1871 - The Village, Charlton, Kent Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDegree/Qualif. - MA - abt 1872 - Cambridge University Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - < - 23 Dec 1885 - Christ Church, Hampstead Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 23 Dec 1885 - Christ Church, Hampstead Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Mar 1901 - 3 Eliot Hill, Lee, Lewisham Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Apr 1911 - 7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1922 - 7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 13 Feb 1929 - 7 Cromwell Crescent, Earl's Court Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 19 Feb 1929 - Brompton Cemetery Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsProbate - £4,418 0s. 1d. - 23 Mar 1929 - London Link to Google Earth
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  • Sources 
    1. [S02] BMD Index, birth reg Ware, 3Q1847.

    2. [S02] BMD Index, marriage reg Hampstead, 4Q1885.

    3. [S04] H Curtis: Notes for a Pedigree of the Tathams of Co. Durham.

    4. [S11] Newspaper, Standard, 16 Jul 1847.
      birth notice

    5. [S06] Parish Registers, baptisms, St Mary-the-Virgin, Ware, 1558-1950 (IGI), 13 Aug 1847.

    6. [S01] Census, UK, 1861.
      age 13 b Ware

    7. [S15] Cambridge University Alumni.

    8. [S20] School and College Registers, Charterhouse.

    9. [S01] Census, UK, 1871.
      age 23 b Ware

    10. [S06] Parish Registers, marriages, Christ Church, Hampstead, 23 Dec 1885.

    11. [S01] Census, UK, 1911.
      marr 25 yrs

    12. [S01] Census, UK, 1901.

    13. [S07] Other Sources, Mercers Company website, 11 Jan 2009.

    14. [S01] Census, UK, 1911.
      age 63 b Ware

    15. [S38] City & County Directories, London Court Directory, 1921.

    16. [S05] The Times, death notice, 15 Feb 1929.

    17. [S02] BMD Index, death reg Kensington, 1Q1929.
      age 81

    18. [S14] National Probate Calendar.

    19. [S02] BMD Index, marriage reg Blything, 3Q1845.

    20. [S21] Dictionary of National Biography.