Some Famous Members of the British Civil List


There are many famous people who have been awarded Civil List Pensions directly from the British Head of State. The Pension was formalized in an Act of 1837, and defined as an expression of gratitude of Great Britain for distinguished service. A list of some of the Civil List Pensioners in science is given by Kerry Pendergast in his biography on this site and in his book, “Crystal Spheres” following some historical research of mine.


1) Sir Isaac Newton, who was awarded the equivalent of a Pension in 1696 as Warden of the Mint, and 1699 as Master of the Mint, generally considered among the greatest of scientists of any era.
2) Sir William Herschel, Astronomer Royal.
3) Sir James Ivory,Scottish mathematician, awarded a Pension in about 1830.
4) Robert Brown, Scottish botanist, discoverer of the cell, the Brownian motion and several thousand species.
5) Sarah Bowditch, early Victorian botanist and zoologist.
6) Mary Fairfax-Somerville, Scottish science educator, translated Laplace into English.
7) John Dalton, atomic theory.
8) Michael Faraday, generally considered among the greatest of experimentalists.
9) James Joule, who inferred the subject of thermodynamics.
10) Sir George Airy, astronomer royal and mathematician.
11) John Couch Adams, mathematician, planetary discoverer.
12) Alfred Russell Wallace, O.M., naturalist and socialist, who catalysed the Darwin theory.
13) Oliver Heaviside, engineer, physicist and mathematician, who inferred relativity, vectors, the vector equations of electrodynamics, and who made many original disoveries in mathematics.
14) W. F. Denning, astronomer and science educator.
15) Frank Wild, explorer, four polar medals.

Oliver Heaviside was my predecessor in chemical physics.


1) George Gordon, Lord Byron.
2) Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate.
3) William Wordsworth, Poet Laureate.
4) Walter de la Mare, C.H., O.M.
5) James Joyce.
6) Frances Browne, the blind poetess of Donegal.
7) Thomas Moore, Irish poet.
8) Hugh MacDiarmaid, (Christopher Murray Grieve), Scots and English language poet, co founder of the Scottish Nationalist Party.
9) Harold Pinter (playwright).
10) W. S. Graham, Scottish poet.
11) George Barker, poet.
12) Vernon Watkins, Welsh poet, selected for Poet Laureate, friend and mentor of Dylan Thomas.

There have been several other famous people in literature, science, music, art, and the humanities.


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