At the Town Hall in Lochgelly, there is a series of plaques commemorating notable individuals, yet not much information is provided on the plaques, nor is their history readily available to the local community.

One of our volunteers has been doing some research, and the first of this series focusses on Professor Andrew Gray.

Gray_AndrewAndrew Gray was born in Lochgelly (Auchterderran) on the 2nd July 1847, and died on 10th October 1925 at the age of 78. Andrew was educated at Lochgelly School and studied at the University of Glasgow, when in 1876 he was appointed the Eglinton Fellow in Mathematics.

A year prior to his appointment, he had become the assistant and private secretary of Professor William Thomson, who is more widely known as Lord Kelvin. He held this post until 1884 at which point he had been appointed Professor of Physics at the University College of North Wales which had just been newly founded.

Andrew Gray remained in Bangor, Gwynedd until 1899, when he returned to Glasgow to become the Professor of Natural Philosophy. He succeeded Lord Kelvin to the Chair at Glasgow, and continued to follow his mentor’s research interests. Professor Gray remained in this position as chair for 24 years, before stepping down in 1923, shortly before his death.

Andrew Gray was Senate Assessor on the University Court, 1904 to 1912, and was a member of council of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Andrew Gray had published many papers with his most noted papers;

  • A Treatise on Gyrostatics and Rotational Motion (1919)
  • The Scientific Work of Lord Kelvin (1908)

Other papers and publications included;

  • ‘Absolute Measurements in Electricity and Magnetism’ (1889)
  • ‘Theory and Practice of Absolute Measurements in Electricity Magnetism’ (vol i, 1888; vol ii, in two parts, 1893)
  • ‘A Treatise on Magnetism and Electricity’
  • ‘On the Determination in Absolute Units of the Intensity of Powerful Magnetic Fields’ (Phil Mag, 1883)
  • ‘On the Dynamical Theory of Electro-magnetic Action’ (ibid, 1890)
  • ‘On the Calculation of the Induction Coefficients of Coils’ (ibid, 1892)
  • ‘On a New Reflecting Galvanometer of great sensibility, and on New Forms of Astatic Galvanometers,’ jointly with T Gray (Proc Roy Soc, 1884)
  • ‘On the Relation between the Electrical Qualities and the Chemical Composition of Glass and Allied Substances,’ Part I, jointly with T Gray and J J Dobbie (Proc Roy Soc, 1884)
  • ‘On the Electro-magnetic Theory of the Rotation of the Plane of Polarized Light’ (Rept Brit Assoc, 1891)

The National Archives reference two special collections for Professor Andrew Gray, a series of 18 letters written between 1882 – 1895 held by the Glasgow University Library, and correspondence between Professor Gray and Lord Kelvin between 12876 – 1905 held by Cambridge University Library. We have contacted both institutions for the possibility of receiving a copy of the data, which we hope we can get made available in Lochgelly.

On a sidenote, our volunteer also discovered that the Lochgelly Town Hall, built in 1892, was utilised as a Drill Hall during World War I, and was once the home of the 7th Battalion, Black Watch (B Company).

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