S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Blore, Mr William Luck (meteorology)

Born: 26 September 1821, Cape Town, South Africa.
Died: 1904, Place not known.

William L. Blore was the son of John Blore, an auctioneer and commission agent in Cape Town, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Townsend. William attended the South African College during 1829-1830, and was a prominent citizen of Cape Town from about 1845 to 1877. For example, in 1856 he was the senior partner in the firm Blore & Bartaan, auctioneers; was a member of the committee of the Sailors' Home and Seaman's Friend Society; one of the ten "Managers" of the Savings Bank; a director of the Equitable Fire Assurance and Trust Company; and a director of the South African Mining Company. He also supported various scientific and educational movements. In 1845 he was one of the supporters of a proposal to establish a botanic garden in Cape Town. Three years later public subscriptions in support of the venture were first called for and Blore contributed one pound sterling. The next year annual subscribers were sought and again Blore responded, this time with an annual contribution of one pound. Similarly, when the Cape Town Mechanics' Institute was founded in 1852 to provide lectures and reading matter aimed at adult education, Blore was scheduled to teach mechanics (gratuitously) and was a member of its committee of management to 1855, serving as treasurer during the last year. He was also a member of the Meteorological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope from 1867 or earlier to about 1877 and for some time served as its secretary. In January 1869 he was elected as a member of the South African College council, and re-elected five years later.

Blore's more direct contributions to science were modest. From 1857 for at least five years he kept a record of rainfall at his home in Wynberg. He probably made other meteorological observations as well, for in 1858 he requested to be supplied with meteorological instruments. His rainfall observations, compared to those made at the Royal Observatory, indicated that the total annual rainfall could differ substantially from place to place in the vicinity of Cape Town. Blore explained the much higher rainfall at Wynberg in terms of its elevation above sea level in an article on "The weather and its effects" in the Cape Monthly Magazine of September 1858 (Vol. 4, pp. 174-177). The last page of this article is a "Barometric scale for the Commercial Exchange, Cape Town". This is a table which gives, for each week of the year, the range of barometer readings to be expected during fair, stormy, rainy, and changing weather.

Blore also compiled a statistical account of the Cape Colony, including some information on the Free State, under the title Statistics of the Cape Colony. It first appeared in the Cape Argus in 1870-1871 but was also published as a monograph. He was married to Charlotte Elizabeth Shaw. After her death in 1872 he married Margaret Hodgson in Lancaster, England, in August 1873.

List of sources:
Cape Monthly Magazine, Vol. 4, 1858, article by Blore.

Cape of Good Hope almanac and annual register, 1854 to 1877.

Cape of Good Hope Meteorological Commission. Meteorological Report: Report of the Commission on Meteorology in South Africa adopted July 7th, 1862.

Cape Town Mechanics' Institute. Laws, July 1852. Cape Town: Saul Solomon, 1853.

Family Search, at https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NXYB-RQZ

Geni, at http://www.geni.com/people/William-Luck-Blore/6000000003139067972

Heese, J.A. South African genealogies. Pretoria and Stellenbosch, 1986-2005.

History of meteorology in South Africa. Weather Bureau Newsletter, No. 139 (whole number), October 1960.

Mendelssohn, S. South African bibliography. London, 1910.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Blore, William Luck.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1918.

South African Commercial Advertiser, 5 April 1845, p. 1; 10 May 1848, p. 4; 25 April 1849, p. 1: "Botanic garden"; 8 October 1853, p. 2: "Mechanics' Institute".

Compiled by: C. Plug