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Jean Houzeau in Jamaica

And after that ...

Success in Belgium, and a return to the New World.

In his years as director of the Brussels Observatory Houzeau carried out a re-organisation of the institution, and continued to write prolifically on a wide variety of subjects, not only astronomy, but also general scientific topics, philosophy and the classics. Before he retired in 1883 he headed an expedition to South America in 1882 to observe a transit of Venus. Sometime in 1882 or 1883 he spent a few months rest in Jamaica with his sister; they rented a cottage at No. 24 Rae Street, in Rae Town, then a pleasant residential area near Kingston Harbour. By this time he was in his early sixties and his health had deteriorated. He spent some time in the south of France, but in 1886 he returned to Brussels, where he died on July 12, 1888. During his retirement he spent his time completing his 'Bibliographie Astronomique', which he had worked on in his spare time for some forty years.

Houzeau in later life


J. L. Pietersz, whose paper on Houzeau was presented to the Kingston Athenaeum early in 1915, and printed in the Jamaica Times on March 6, 1915, wrote of him:
'My dim recollection of him on his return to the Island, is that of a brave looking man of medium height, with a full iron-grey beard. From one who knew him I learnt that though reserved in manner he was a firm and constant friend, most kind to those who assisted him in his work and charitable to his poorer neighbors.'

The famous astronomer, Camille Flammarion said of him, 'Houzeau was a laborious student, an independent man, a noble heart and a grand character. He always placed the love of science and truth above personal interest and the vain ambitions to which many students sacrifice their lives. His name will remain nobly associated with the history of contemporary astronomy of which he was one of the most genuine representatives.'

The story of his life to 1868 . . .

In Jamaica 1868-76




written by Joy Lumsden - October-November 2001

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The story of his life to 1868 ...

In Jamaica 1868-76

And after that ...

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  joy lumsden 2004