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Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society

    Naturevolume 140page59 (1937) | Download Citation

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    THE one hundred and third annual report of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, besides containing the usual list of members, financial statements and an account of the work of the Falmouth Observatory, has several contributions of general interest. One of these is by Miss R. Beckett, who, in a paper on "Public Library Service", traces the growth of public libraries due to the Library Acts of 1850, 1855 and 1919. The Act of 1850 limited the rate to be levied to ½d. in the £ and that of 185.5 to 1d. These sums proved quite inadequate, but it was not until 1919 that the penny rate limitation was abolished. In practice to-day, the average expenditure is Is. 4rf. per head of population, though some authorities expend as much as 2s. 6d. In another contribution, Mr. S. Furze deals at length with the operations involved and the machinery used in tin dressing, while in a third, Mr. J. H. Rowe gives the early history of Hayle Foundry, which was founded by John Harvey (1730-1803) and developed by his son Henry Harvey (1775-1850). This foundry was the earliest in Cornwall, and became ultimately the most important engineering works in the west of England. The well-known engineer Arthur Woolf (1766-1837), the pioneer of the compound steam engine, was at one time superintendent of this works, and it was there that he built some of the finest Cornish pumping engines of the time. The history of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society inevitably recalls the Fox family, and the report has a tribute to Mr. Wilson Lloyd Fox, who died on February 10, 1936. He gained one of the Society's prizes in 1860, became a member in 1865, served as president in 1922-24, and was secretary of the Committee of the Falmouth Observatory from 1877 until 1931.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/140059a0

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