The Nautical Almanac & Its Superintendents

1831: W. S. Stratford, Superintendent 1831-1853


William Samuel Stratford (1791-1853) came from a family 'remarkable for their mathematical attainments' [10]. In 1806 he joined the Royal Navy as a first-class volunteer on board H.M.S. Pompée, gaining promotion to lieutenant in 1815.

Stratford was secretary (1825-1831) of the Astronomical Society of London (which only became the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) on the grant of the first Royal Charter by William IV in 1831 March 7) and one of its earliest and most active members.

He was a member of the influential committee of the RAS to whom the state of the Almanac (NA & AE) was referred by the Admiralty in 1830. One of the problems that was found was that a computer and comparer had worked together and were not doing the work independently, thus allowing through more errors than would normally be the case.

This resulted in his appointment, in 1831, as Superintendent, with the task of setting up an Office and improving the quality of the Almanac.


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