List of new memorials to Robert Hooke 2005 – 2009

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robert Hooke, a major figure of 17th-century England, died essentially unmemorialized. With no immediate family, and with personal disputes with many members of the Royal Society, no memorials were erected in his honour on the occasion of his death. On the occasion of the tercentenary of his death in 2003, several efforts were made to address this situation.

Carved Stone Memorials[edit]

Westminster Abbey[edit]

Inscription to Hooke in Westminster Abbey.

Eddie Smith, former Undermaster and archivist at Westminster School of which Hooke was a member, worked tirelessly on Hooke's behalf to get him a small memorial in Westminster Abbey. The work took years but eventually in 2005 one was unveiled. The inscription reads "Robert Hooke 1703" and is carved from one of the black marble tiles in the floor beneath the Lantern, near the pulpit. This is appropriate as Hooke was responsible for the laying of this floor.

The Monument[edit]

Inscription to Hooke on The Monument, London.

Hooke's name was omitted from the Monument to the Great Fire of London (known generally as just "The Monument"), erected to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666, as Sir Christopher Wren has generally been given credit for the design of this monument. The new inscription acknowledges Hooke’s role in the monument's development.[1][2]

As part of a project to improve the area around the pillar in 2007 it was possible to take a space in the paving for a large (16 square feet (1.5 m2)) carved stone. The stone was quarried at Caithness and made its long journey down to London to be carved at the workshop of Richard Kindersley. It can be seen from the entrance to the Monument Underground Station and is now included in sightseeing tours for tourists.

The wording on the memorial was written by Dr. Allan Chapman.

St Paul's Cathedral[edit]

Inscription to Hooke in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Hooke's memorial at St. Paul's Cathedral[3][4][5] is on the wall in the crypt of the cathedral, next to the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren. The quotation around the edge is from Micrographia, Hooke's amazing book, published in 1665.

At the bottom of the memorial is an engraved metal bookworm in brass and chrome, recessed into the stone surface.

As the crypt is rather a dark place, a pale, ivory-coloured stone was chosen and the carved letters were painted with blue and brownish-red watercolour to make them more easily readable.

The memorial was dedicated by the Dean of St. Paul's after a special Evensong.

Painted Memorials[edit]

Artist Rita Greer has created several new images of Hooke and donated them to various sites.

Gresham College, City of London[edit]

This portrait in oils is the first of a series of memorial portraits. It shows a list of Hooke's interests and skills. It now hangs in the hall at Gresham College[6] in the City of London. Hooke was Professor of Geometry for many years at the original Gresham College, at the site where the NatWest Tower now stands.

Isle of Wight[edit]

This painting shows Hooke as a child on the Isle of Wight, holding the model boat he made, with the church of All Saints (where his father was curate) in the background and the river medina.

The Open University, Milton Keynes[edit]

This memorial painting now hangs in the Seminar Room of the Robert Hooke Science Building at the Open University[7] in Milton Keynes. It shows Hooke concerned with minute objects and huge objects. The emphasis is on astronomy. It was unveiled in February 2009.

Willen Church near Milton Keynes[edit]

Church of St Mary Magdalene is Hooke's only remaining church, not far from the Open University. He designed it for Dr. Richard Busby, the first headmaster of Westminster School. The memorial painting shows the church in the background.

University of Oxford[edit]

This memorial was commissioned for the Master's office at the Department of Engineering Science [8] of Oxford University in 2009. It shows a portrait of Robert Hooke as an engineer with a few of his inventions – the universal joint, wheel barometer and pocket watch. Other features of his work are the spring, an optic and his microscope with open pages of his book Micrographia. He holds a chain to make a catenary arch. Through the window can be seen the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre, linking him with Oxford where he was an undergraduate.


  1. ^ "Hooke at last remembered". Petersfield Post: 13. 7 February 2007.
  2. ^ Monument. Dept of Planning and Transportation, City of London. 2008. pp. 13–14.
  3. ^ "Photograph of the new memorial in St. Paul's Cathedral to Robert Hooke". Dome, The magazine of the Friends of St. Paul's Cathedral (46): 16.
  4. ^ "Robert Hooke - A memorial in St. Paul's". Tablets. Masons livery company (49): 7. Spring 2009.
  5. ^ "Memorial to Hooke is highlight of year". Petersfield Post: 13. 17 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Rita's portraits of Hooke sought after across UK". Petersfield Post (May 21): 13. 2008.
  7. ^ "Unveiling of memorial portrait of Robert Hooke as astronomer and inventor". Openhouse. Newspaper for the staff of The Open University (421). 2009.
  8. ^ "New Portrait of Robert Hooke, FRS, unveiled". Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University. 11 June 2009.