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John Murray (1841-1914)

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June 1894.

Sir John Murray (1841–1914), marine scientist and oceanographer

1841 born at Cobourg, Ontario on 3 March, the second son of Robert Murray, an accountant from Scotland.

c.1869 Studied in the physics laboratory at Edinburgh University until 1872, under Peter Guthrie Tait, doing experimental work on thermal conductivity and on the construction of an electrical deep-sea thermometer.

1872 contributed to the scientific apparatus for the Challenger expedition. Almost at the last moment, he was appointed as one of the naturalists on the expedition, which led to the great work of his life.

c.1875 On the return of the expedition, Murray was put in charge of the collections made during the expedition. Murray was appointed chief assistant in the Challenger Office in Edinburgh.

1882 Murray became director of the office and editor of fifty volume "Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of HMS Challenger (1880–95)".

1880 and 1882 Murray and Captain T. H. Tizard explored the Faeroe Channel in the government surveying ships Knight Errant and Triton.

1895 When the Challenger office closed, Murray bought a house near his home, in Wardie, to serve as a library and laboratory. This housed Murray's samples of oceanic sediments, Challenger samples and records until 1921, when the collections and the greater part of his library were moved to the British Museum (Natural History).

1896 Elected FRS

1898 Created KCB

1904 MURRAY, Sir John, K.C.B., F.R.S., D.Sc., Challenger Lodge, Hardie, Edinburgh. Car: 8-h.p. Albion. Total distance travelled since becoming a motorist: 15,000 miles. Hobbies: Yachting, golf. Used his car while carrying out the bathymetrical survey of the Scottish fresh-water lakes in 1902-1903. Clubs: Athenaeum, Royal Societies', Royal and Ancient (St. Andrew's), New (North Berwick), United Service (Edinburgh), A.C.G.B. & I. [1]

1909 Murray urged the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea to conduct an oceanographic expedition of the north Atlantic.

He offered to pay the operating expenses of a four-month expedition on condition that the Norwegian government lent the research vessel and scientific staff for the purpose, which led to the 1910 expedition. The resulting understanding of oceanography was a prime text for many years.

1914 Murray was killed in a motor accident at Kirkliston, near Edinburgh, on 16 March 1914.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book 1904
  • Biography of Sir John Murray, ODNB