Authorised form of nameFitzRoy; Robert (1805 - 1865); hydrographer and meteorologist
Other forms of nameFitzroy, Robert
Fitz Roy, Robert
Dates1805 - 1865
Dates and placesBirth:
Ampton Hall, Suffolk, England (05 July 1805)
Upper Norwood, London (30 April 1865)
ActivityResearch Field:
Hydrography, meteorology
Rottingdean; Harrow School (1817-1818); Royal Naval College, Portsmouth - winner of mathematical prize (1819)
Volunteer, later midshipman, 'Owen Glendower'; served on the 'Hind' and 'Cambrian' in the Mediterranean; served on the 'Seringapatam' on the English Channel; Lieutenants examination - first out of 27 candidates; served on the 'Thetis' as lieutenant, flag-lieutenant, 'Ganges'; commanded the 'Beagle' charting the coasts of southern South America under Captain Philip Parker King - spent 33 days in an open whaleboat during subantarctic winter; carried four Fuegians back to England, one of whom died, educated the remaining three at his own expense; sailed in the 'Beagle' to return Fuegians to their homeland and continue survey, accompanied by Charles Darwin (November 1831 - October 1836); published a narrative of the 'Beagle' voyages (1839); elected elder brother of Trinity House (July 1839); Gold medal, Royal Geographical Society (1836); MP for Tory seat in Co Durham (1841); Governor of New Zealand (1843-1845); Superintendent, Woolwich Dockyard (September 1848); retired from active service (February 1850), Rear Admiral (1857), Vice Admiral (1863); managing director, General Screw Steam Shipping Company; personal secretary to Lord Hardinge (his uncle); member of Athenaeum (1852); meteorological statist, Meteorological Department, Board of Trade (1854); committee of management, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (1859); co-ordinated first storm warning signals (February 1861), published in newspapers (August 1861); initiated use of term 'forecast'; published 'Weather Book' (1863); Board of Trade demanded that forecasts cease; committed suicide at his home, Lyndhurst, Westwood Hill, Upper Norwood, Surrey.
Royal Society activityMembership:
Election Date:
RelationshipsSon of Lord Charles Fitzroy (1764-1829) and Lady Frances Anne Stewart (d 1810); married (1836) Maria Henrietta (d 5 April 1852), daughter of Major General Edward James O'Brien; married (1854) Maria Isabella Smyth
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; DNZB; authority from Charter book signature and Obituary notice
Proc Roy Soc 1866-1867 vol 15 pp xxi-xxiii
Sir Gavin de Beer, ed, 'Some Unpublished Letters of Charles Darwin' in NR 1959 vol 14 pp 12-66
Gregory Estes, K Thalia Grant and Peter R Grant, 'Darwin in the Galapagos: his footsteps through the Archipelago' in NR 2000 vol 54 pp 343-368
D Carr Agnew, 'Robert Fitzroy and the myth of 'Marsden Square': Transatlantic rivalries in early marine meteorology' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 21-46
F Kurzer, 'The life and work of Charles Tomlinson FRS: A Career in Victorian Science and Technology' in NR 2004 vol 58 pp 203-226
Royal Society codeNA6774
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
AP/16/12Magnetic Observations at the Royal Observatory Cape of Good Hope1836
MM/17/13Letter from Robert Fitzroy to the Secretary of the Royal Society5 March 1863
MS/743/1/57Letter from Robert Fitzroy, Meteorological Office, to [John Hall] Gladstone10 March 1863
IM/001428Fitzroy, RobertMarch 2000
MM/14/74Memorandum on the Meteorological Office by Edward Sabine1865
IM/Maull/001427Fitzroy, Robertnd
IM/005750Fitzroy, Robert2000
IM/005752Fitzroy, Robert2000
IM/005749Fitzroy, Robert2000
IM/005751Fitzroy, Robert2000
IM/005620Fitzroy, Robert2001
IM/005743Fitzroy, Robert2000
CMB/42/15Meeting of the Kara Sea Bottle Committee17 November 1853
IM/005618Fitzroy, Robert2001
MS/743/1/30Letter from Robert Fitzroy, Board of Trade (and Admiralty) Meteorological Department, to John Hall Gladstone13 November 1858
MS/426/702Copy letter from W [William] Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Admiral [Robert] FitzRoy8 November 1860
MS/426/662Copy letter from B C [Benjamin Collins] Brodie; President of the Royal Society; to Ed [Edward] Hammond Esq, Foreign Office26 February 1859
MS/426/681Copy letter from C R [Charles Richard] Weld, the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society; to Admiral FitzRoy 21 December 1859
MS/426/593Copy letter from W [William] Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Captain [Francis] McClintock R N6 June 1857
EC/1851/07Fitzroy, Robert: certificate of election to the Royal Society
MS/743/1/31Letter from Robert Fitzroy, 2 Parliament Square, to [John Hall] Gladstone19 November 1858
IM/005619Fitzroy, Robert2001
IM/005741Fitzroy, Robert2000
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