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Robert Hooke

A memorial for Robert Hooke, one of the most brilliant and versatile of English scientists, was unveiled on 3rd March 2005. The stone is in the lantern area, near the grave of Dr Richard Busby, Head Master of Westminster School when Hooke was a pupil there. Hooke was born on 18th July 1635 at Freshwater, Isle of Wight, a son of the Reverend John Hooke and his wife Cecily (Gyles). His brother was John. He was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford and in 1662 became curator of experiments at the Royal Society. In the following year he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1665 became professor of geometry at Gresham College. A condition of this appointment was that he was to remain celibate. He was a true polymath and as an inventor was second to none. When he was at Oxford he had first become interested in the earth's gravitational attraction. Disagreements with Isaac Newton and others led to his reputation being denigrated after his death. He designed and built the church at Willen in Buckinghamshire for Busby and repaired the chapel at Lutton in Lincolnshire for him. Author of the influential Micrographia he was one of the leading natural philosophers of his day and he also played a major role in the rebuilding of London after the great fire of 1666. From 1690-1696 he was College Surveyor at the Abbey. Hooke died unmarried on 3rd March 1703 and he was buried at St Helen's church, Bishopsgate in the city of London. But his remains, together with those of his niece Grace, and many others were exhumed from the church in the late 19th century and they are assumed now to be buried in the City of London cemetery in Wanstead.

Further reading

Stephen Inwood "The man who knew too much: the strange and inventive life of Robert Hooke", 2002

M. Cooper "Robert Hooke and the rebuilding of London" 2003

H.W. Robinson & W. Adam (editors) "The diary of Robert Hooke", 1935

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

18th July 1635

Died

3rd March 1703

Memorial

3rd March 2005

Field

Scientist

Location

Sacrarium

Memorial Type

Stone

Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke by Rita Greer
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke stone

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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