Knox-Shaw H.


Professional Astronomer

Born: 12 October 1885, Sussex, U.K.
Died: 8 April 1970, Cape Town, South Africa

In brief :
Famous for:
Director of
Radcliffe Observatory 1939 – 1951

Historical background :
Knox-Shaw  was an astronomer in Egypt. When he became director of Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford (1924), he did not like the British  seeing conditions. Knox-Shaw decided to move the Observatory to a better view sight.  The correct opportunity presented itself and the Observatory was moved from Oxford to
Pretoria in 1939.  Thus Knox-Shaw was director of the Radcliffe between 1924 to 1951.   (Radcliffe Oxford: 1924 – 1939 / Radcliffe Pretoria: 1939 – 1951)
“Knox-Shaw was a man of great charm and sense of humour as well as absolute dedication. There is a story that on one occasion he had a bet with Eddington about the value of a certain mathematical constant. As it was unlikely that the matter would be cleared up during  their lifetimes, it was agreed that the loser should ultimately present the winner with a new harp. Most astronomers agree that by now the bet has been fairly and squarely won by Knox-Shaw..”. [Copied from Moore, p.115.]
Trinity  College, Cambridge. (Sixth Wrangler 1907)
1908?:   Assistant at Khedivial Observatory, Helwan Egypt.
1913:  Superintendent at Khedivial.
1924 – 1939:  Director Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, U.K.
1939 – 1951:  Director of Radcliffe Observatory, Pretoria.1951:  Retire.
1885 October 12: Born at St Leonards on Sea, Sussex.
Educated Wellington College
1951:  Retire to Elgin Valley, Western Cape.
1970 April 8: Died Cape Town.


Link to the Telescope Manufacturers.


Link to the Main Bibliography Section and more information about Sources.

Remaining Artifacts:
Moore, P. & Collins, P., Astronomy in Southern Africa, pp.114 – 119.    (General Source)
Smits, P., A Brief History of Astronomy in Southern Africa. (Unpublished)
By Knox-Shaw:

Related Internal Links:
Radcliffe Observatory.
Related External Links
Historical Astronomical Posts in Britain and Ireland