Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Weather man of the Lake District

The Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre in the UK, contains the detailed daily weather log of John Fletcher Miller (1816-1856). The logs span from the writings of a 15 year old boy through to the mature writings of a 40 year old man. The logs are rich in evocative descriptions and written in beautiful  italic script.

Image courtesy of Clip art pal
Miller was the founder of the British (now Royal) Meteorological Society and set up his own observatory from which to make meteorological recordings. In his logs, he also noted down strange phenomena including meteors and seasonal events, such as the the first annual appearance of cuckoos and butterflies. Here is a particularly vivid description of a violent thunderstorm in May 1850:
"At Westfield House, near Bowness, Carlisle, Mrs Harrison and the servant-man were milking the cows during the storm, when the electric fluid struck the man dead on the spot, killing four cows at the same time. The stool upon which Mrs H was sitting was literally, split in two and she was thrown to a considerable distance by the violence of the shock. Strange to say, not the slightest mark was found to be on the man or the cattle. The storm was not felt at Whitehaven which is peculiarly exempted from thunder-storms".


Read more about this fascinating man, who left a mark on the world in his own unique way.

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