150A. Edward Stanford / G J Symons 1872


G J Symons began his reports on rainfall in 1860 and the series was published annually until the 1900s. George James Symons (1838-1900) was a Member of the Scottish Meteorological Society and a leading proponent of gathering annual and detailed rain tables which were compiled from reports from stations throughout Great Britain and Ireland. First published in 1860 (statistics from 168 stations) Symons´ records were able to accurately show the records of rainfall in the UK. Symons appears to have been solely responsible for compiling the reports until 1889 when H Sowerby Wallis joined him. Together they prepared the reports until 1899 (from 3528 stations) when Hugh Robert Mill took over from Symons (after Symons´ death in that year). From 1903 H R Mill was responsible for publishing the reports. In June 1878 Symons was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.1

Symons´s work was an important effort to describe and predict rainfall and the volumes included illustrations, mainly of gauges and instruments to measure rain. Some volumes in the series had a frontispiece plate; experimental rain gauges at Rotherham, Yorks (1869); an illustration of the experimental weather station at Hawsker, Whitby (1870); and a map of rain stations in parts of Devon and Cornwall (1871). Besides using providing statistics on British rainfall, the 1867 report included a detailed chapter on rain in Americas, Europe, Australia, Pacific, by city, based on many years of observations.2

The guide (1872) contains 206 pp. followed by 2 unnumbered pages of adverts for Symons´ own Rain: How, When, Where, and Why it is Measured (published 1867); his monthly Meteorological Magazine; and for registration forms for fledgeling rainfall recorders. The frontispiece map is smaller and less detailed (fewer roads but inclusion of hills) than Stanford´s later map included in the Parliamentary County Atlas and clearly shows the rain gauge stations, each numbered. The stations can be cross-referenced using the table on pages 174-176, although this is not mentioned in the report as such.

Size: 178 mm x 110 mm.                                                                                                                SCALE OF (10 + 10 = 45 mm) STA. MILES.

RAIN GAUGE STATIONS IN PARTS OF DEVON AND CORNWALL CaOS). Note: Corrected to May 1872. (AeOS). Scale bar below map centrally. Note on rain gauges in/not in operation (Aa). Railway from Exeter towards Oakhampton to Stampford Courtney (sic) only.

1. 1872                  British Rainfall, 1871. On The Distribution of Rain over the British Isles during the year 1871 …  
    London. Edward Stanford. 1872. KB.

[1] Wikipedia (English edition, 2012); George James Symons.

[2] Catalogue of Thomas Rare Books Co. (2012).