August 1879 weather chart for Sherborne.

A series of charts recording the weather in Sherborne between 1874 and 1886 have been digitised and are now available online.

The daily readings taken from a weather station at Sherborne School reveal the temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ozone and rainfall during a period known as the Agricultural Depression.

Between 1873 and 1896 a series of bad harvests following a run of cold, wet summers coincided with a flood of cheap imports of corn and cheese from the USA, Canada and Australia.  Dorset farmers were particularly badly hit with the result that between 1870 and 1900 the sheep population in Dorset fell by 40% and arable crops were no longer worth growing.  Dairy farmers also suffered, with poor hay crops and cattle disease.

The weather charts were kept methodically by Sherborne schoolmaster William Lonsdale Hetherington (1845-1912) and his pupils from readings taken from a weather station located on the Fifth Form Green, a sheltered area to the south of the School chapel.  The charts were found in a cupboard in the School archives where they had remained untouched for over 130 years.

Find out the story behind Sherborne School’s Weather Station.

View the Sherborne School weather charts 1874-1886.

Posted 2 August 2019 by Sherborne School Archives.

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