The discovery of Oxygen in Wiltshire

We all like to think that for the most part all of our inventions and genius work is centred around London. As this is the home of the Royal Society it’s not a bad guess but for many scientific breakthroughs you can look out into the countryside to see what the rural environment was just as fruitful in the field of scientific discovery. If these scientists had a great community like that of a Park homes Wiltshire then they would certainly have great support. Check out http://www.parkhomelife.com/our-parks/blunsdon-abbey-park-homes-swindon-wiltshire/, as here is an example from that county now.


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Back in 1774, Joseph Priestly, who was a local Earl’s librarian experimented with separating air and mercury and he also used candles to analyse how oxygen worked. He has been credited with discovering the element of Oxygen in the Wiltshire town of Calne. Priestly was a much travelled individual who had been born in Yorkshire and had lived throughout the UK and been on a grand tour with the local Earl, Lord Swinburne. Swinburne relied on Priestly for education and advice but he also gave him the time, and the room to work on his scientific studies. You can still see the place it happened at Bowood House in Wiltshire.

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Scientists knew that Air and atmosphere existed but it was Priestly that proved it was a composition and not just one element. He was a deeply religious person and saw that all he was doing was proving God’s plan and how intricate it was. Priestly was also a very outspoken support of the French and American Revolutions. This made him deeply unpopular and he was forced to flee England and continue his writing and research in the USA until the end of days.

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