The Man: Chronology


Early Years
1850   John Milne born 30th December in Liverpool.

1851   Moved to Rochdale.


  • Liverpool Collegiate Institute.
  • King’s College, London.
  • Royal School of Mines, London.
  • School of Mines, Freiburg, Saxony.

    Visits Ireland.

    Father dies Mother remarries and living at Richmond, Surrey.

1871   Sailed to Iceland explores glacier Vatna Jokul with friend W. L. Watts.

Vatnajokull Glacier

1872   Rewrote Icelandic journal as a narrative (manuscript in IW Record Office).

1873   Starts Newfoundland geological survey with Cyrus Field
            Geologist & artist on Charles Beke’s expedition to find ‘true’ Mount Sinai.
            Elected fellow of the Geological Society, London.

1874   Paper on the physical features of Newfoundland.

1875   Appointed to teach mining and geology Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo.
            Paper on the extinct Great Auk.
            Starts epic overland journey across Europe and Asia to Japan.

Milne's Overland Journey 1875-76


1876   Arrives in Japan and on 8th March experiences his first earthquake.

1877   Paper on the action of coastal ice.
            Visited volcano on Oshima, Hokkaido for the first time and perhaps Hakodate.

1878   Travelled to the Kurile Islands.
            Stays at the Ganjo-je Temple ­ Jokye Horikawa of which Toné’s is the Abbot.
            ‘Sinai in Arabia’ by Charles Beke is published with illustrations by John Milne.

1879   Paper on John Milne’s journey to Japan is read at the Royal Geological Society
            'Notes on Crystallography and Crystallo-physics' published.


1880   TheTokyo-Yokohama earthquake on 22nd February produces major turning point in Mile’s life.
            First working meeting Seismological Society of Japan takes place on 26th April.
            'The Stone Age in Japan' paper published.

1881   Tonć and John Milne married at the Rananza-kõ in Tokyo.
            Paper on The Stone Age in Japan published.
            The Gray-Milne seismograph manufactured in Britain.

1882   Travelled back to Britain via San Francisco.

1883    'Earthquake and other Earth Movements’ First edition published.

1885   Essay prize awarded in East Indian section of the Dutch Royal Institution of Engineers.

1886c   'Colonial Facts and Fictions’ published under the name of Mark Kershaw  (See also>>).

1887   Elected a Fellow of The Royal Society.
            Read paper 'Earthquake Effects - Emotional and Moral’.

1888   Appointed a member of the ‘Committee of Building’ by Minister Arinore Mori.
            Decorated by Emperor 'Order of Merit’ with the ‘Cordon of the Sacred Treasure’ elevated to Chokunin.

1889   Visited Britain again  McDonald-Milne vibration recorder manufactured.

1892   'The Great Earthquake of 1891’ published with W.K.Burton (See also >>).
            ‘The Volcanoes of Japan’ published with W.K.Burton.

1893   Milne Horizontal Pendulum Seismograph had been designed and tested.
            'The Miners Handbook’ published in London.
           Short visit to Britain.

1894   Awarded the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London.

1895   Fire destroyed home and library on 17th February.
            'Catalogue of 8331 Earthquakes in Japan 1885-1892’ published.
            Formal marriage to Tone again at British Consulate in June.
            Awarded the Third order of Merit with the Order of the Rising Sun by Emperor.
            Life pension of 1000 yen per year.
            Resigned from University.
            Returns to Britain.

Shide, Isle of Wight

1895   Arrived Shide Hill House July.

1898   'Seismology’ published by Kegan,Paul,Trench,Trubner and Co.

1900   Gift from M.H.Gray sued to built the Laboratory at Shide.  (Visitors >>)

1902   Given title of Emeritus Professor of Seismology Tokyo University.
            More than 30 recording stations around the world operating in the Milne network.

1908   Received the Royal Medal  from the Royal Society of London.
            Honorary Doctorate from Oxford University.

1911   Vocal critic of the Daylight Saving Bill.

1912   'A Catalogue of Destructive Earthquakes’ published.
            Subject of ‘Eminent Living Geologists' in the Geological Magazine.

1913   Final development of the Milne-Shaw seismograph.
            John Milne dies at Shide after a short illness on evening of 31st July.
            Buried at St. Paul's Church, Barton, Newport, Isle of Wight.
            H.H. Tuner runs Shide Observatory  Tone Milne continues to live at Shide Hill House.

Post Milne

1919   Earthquake Observatory move to Oxford Tone Milne returns to Japan.

1926   Tone  Milne dies.    Memorial to John & Tone  Milne erected in Hakodate.

1927   Charles Davison wrote 'Founders of Seismology' stressing the importance of the work of John Milne.

1939   A. W. Lea re-writes Milne’s 'Earthquake and Other Earth Movements'.

1950   Exhibition on Milne at Carisbrooke Castle by Pollard a local seismologist and chemist.

1963   Commemorative exhibition by University of Tokyo in Japan.

1974   University Tokyo presents trees to IW planted at Shide and IW College by Ambassador Mori.

1975   Before the Royal visit to Japan John Milne featured as a major figure in publicity by Japanese Embassy.

1980   John Milne, Father of Modern Seismology’ A.L.K.D Herbert-Gustar and P.A.Nott published in English.

1981   John Milne, Father of Modern Seismology’ Published in Japanese.

2007   John Milne - the man who mapped the shaking earth’ published Paul Kabrna, Craven & Pendle Geology Soc.

2010   Exhibition and related workshops at Carisbrooke Castle Museum.

2013   Will be centenery of Milne's death - events to promote recognition of his achievements planned.

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