Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Screen has a make over.

Every now and again the screen housing the thermometers needs renovating. With no spare available, a little improvisation is called for to maintain reliable temperature readings. The 'Official' box, temporarily absent for repair, spent many years housing thermometers on State House, a high-rise office block in High Holborn, London. The block succumbed to concrete rot and has since been replaced, and the 'London Weather Centre' that used to take readings from it's base opposite in Penderel House has long since moved on. The Stevenson Screen, the official name for the louvred 'bee-hive' box was invented by Thomas Stevenson in 1864. He was a civil engineer responsible for the design of many lighthouses but the screen is maybe his enduring legacy. The World Meteorological Organisation recognize the Stevenson Screen as the standard housing for meteorological instruments. It has to be in an open area between 1.25 and 2 metres above the ground. Originally this screen was around 80 metres above street level. It has led a Jeckyll and Hyde existence, perhaps appropriate considering the inventor was the father of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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