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John Milne FRS 1850 - 1913

JOHN MILNE FRS 30.12.1850 - 31.07.1913
"Father of Modern Seismology"

John Milne - Painting

Why history and why John Milne?
St. Paul’s Church today represents not only the past but also the present and the future.

It reminds us of a tradition of Christian worship and a presence over many years in what is now called “the community”.  In old world language, here is the cycle of “parish” or village life - the births, marriages and deaths along with an on-going recognition and worship of God.

Set against a today’s congregation of believers our history can only represent a snapshot of the past.  As we take the opportunity to recognise John Milne some 100 years after his passing we thank God for a man of such obvious energy, adventure, insight and ability whose scientific work was so useful to others and is still recognised today.

History does not tell us if Milne was a man of faith, however after his death Professor John Perry a friend and confidant summed him up in the following words.

“Milne’s success was greatly due to his power to interest all sorts of people in his work.  But it was something much deeper which gave him the help of scientific men.  He took an interest in all scientific work and perhaps thought too highly of the work of other men.  He was very modest as to the value of his own services to the world.  He grudged no time or trouble spent in helping other people when his help, scientific, social or pecuniary could be of value.  Both in Japan and at Shide he was very hospitable.  As one who lived with him in great intimacy in Japan for nearly four years I put it on record that Milne never talked scandal  or detraction, and hated to listen to such things and I cannot remember one expressed thought or action of Milne that was ungenerous or mean.  Many people admiration but his intimate friends gave him affection also.”

Nearly a century later John Milne’s work has been built upon and developed but for those with believing hearts and open minds there is the recognition that faith takes over where science leaves off.