2 cassettes, abridged
Read by David Rintoul
Calculating latitude was easy, but the want of a means to measure longitude had, over the centuries, cost thousands of lives. By 1714, a desperate Parliament had offered a King's ransom of twenty thousand pounds to the provider of any "Practicable and Useful" method.
'Longitude' tells the true story of John Harrison, a man who dared to be different. In stark contrast to the scientific establishment fruitlessly seeking a celestial solution, Harrison recognized that the only prerequisites were two accurate clocks aboard ship - one reset daily at the sun's zenith to record local noon and the other to keep the true time at a point of known longitude - the home port. From this time difference the navigator could calculate his geographical position.
Of course, there was a drawback. There were no accurate clocks, neither on land nor, especially at sea.
Tracing Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, 'Longitude' is a tale full of herosim and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, and every word of it true.