ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The White Tower, showing the north east turret. The White Tower is the oldest part of the Tower of London, begun by William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest and finished by Henry III. It has had many uses throughout history including as a Royal Observatory when John Flamsteed (1646-1719) erected his watchglasses at the top of the north east turret in 1675. However, he soon found his astronomical duties were disrupted by the ravens. King Charles II ordered their destruction but was told that if the ravens left the Tower of London that disaster would befall England. He instead decreed that at least six ravens should be kept at the Tower at all times and Flamsteed was moved to the observatory at Greenwich.
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