Sir Gerald Lenox-Conyngham: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content

[I] Diaries: (1-2) 1895-96; (3-39) 1920-56; and (40) Diary of Elsie, Lady Lenox-Conyngham 1957.

[II] Survey of India: correspondence and papers, 1881-1957, relating to Survey of India projects, the Government of India decision not to appoint Lenox-Conyngham Surveyor-General in 1919, news of former Survey members, geodesy projects in England, and preparation of R.H. Phillimore's Historical Record of the Survey of India.

[III] Sir Sidney Burrard, correspondence with Lenox-Conyngham, concerning health, second marriage, disputes with members of the Royal Geographical Society and others over Himalayan nomenclature, efforts to secure the election of James de Graaff Hunter as a Fellow of the Royal Society, and attempts to prevent Kenneth Mason's election as Professor of Geography at Oxford. The papers also include a retirement appreciation of Burrard, probably by Lenox-Conyngham, Survey of India Notes (1919); Burrard's summary of his Survey of India Career; 'A few criticisms of... New Survey Theory that Plains of Bengal are rising'; Ethel M. Hewitt, 'A Hampshire house. The Burrards of Lymington', Western Gazette, 13 October 1933; and obituary notices by Lenox-Conyngham (1943-44) in The Times, Nature, Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, Royal Engineers Journal, and Empire Survey Review.

[IV] Japan: letters to Lenox-Conyngham, visits by Joji Sakurai to UK, and recollections of the Lenox-Conynghams' visit to Japan in 1926. There is also the printed 'Anglo-Japanese Cultural Relations: Speech' by Joji Sakurai (1937); and obituaries of Baron Joji Sakurai (1939), with a photograph of Sakurai with grandchildren.

[V] Letters of condolence to Enid Lenox-Conyngham (1956).

[VI] Scrapbooks: (1) Newscuttings on the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, Melbourne, 1923; (2) Newscuttings, scientific, family, poetical and biographical notices (1931-47); and (3) Scientific off-prints from the Royal Engineers Journal, under the headings 'Survey', 'War', 'Memoirs', 'Photogrammetry', and 'RE' (1920-27).

[VII] Photographs, including the Pan-Pacific Science Congresses, Australia (1923) and Tokyo (1926); Sir David Orme Masson (1923); scientists at the grave of Fusakichi Omori, Japan (1926); Matsuye and Katsumi Matsuyama (1926); 'Empire Conference of Survey Officers, 1928'; Sir Charles V. Boys (1935); International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, Edinburgh (1936); Cambridge, Dept. of Geodesy and Geophysics (1946-47); and Gerald and Elsie Lenox-Conyngham (1950).

[VIII] Notebooks: Draft examination questions (c.1944) and a List of Survey of India publications (c.1945).

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Gerald Ponsonby Lenox-Conyngham (1866-1956), joined the Royal Engineers and was posted in 1889 to the Trigonometrical Section of the Survey of India. His work in gravity measurements using a pendulum apparatus was an important contribution to early geodesy. He was knighted in 1919, and left India in 1920. In 1921 he became a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1922 Reader in Geodesy, running a new School virtually single-handed. With the support of the Darwin family, the School of Geodesy became the Department of Geodesy and Geophysics in 1931. Lenox-Conyngham retired in 1947, aged 81.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Lady Barbara Bottomley, cousin of Lenox-Conyngham's only daughter Enid (d.1992), per Dr. Carol Williams, 1994.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Summary Catalogue. A full catalogue is also available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.