The Edinburgh City Observatory sits atop Calton Hill at the East end of the city centre adjacent to Burn's Monument, Scotland's National Monument modelled on the Parthenon, and Nelson's Monument with the time ball that falls at 1pm every day except Sundays.
The second Astronomer Royal of Edinburgh was Charles Piazzi Smyth (Jan. 1819 - Feb. 1900). Smyth was a man of many and varied interests including meteorology, producing weather observations that still form an important part of UK climate records to this day.
Building on the work of James Taylor, Smyth became fascinated by the Great Pyramid of Egypt at Giza. He travelled there to do his own measurements of its dimensions, latitude and longitude, as well as the lengths and angles of its passageways. Playing around with the numbers he noted 19 "coincidences" and became convinced that the pyramid was the work of God - and that the British system of measurements was divinely inspired. In 1864 he published a book "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid" which in later revisions became "The Great Pyramid: Its Secrets and Mysteries Revealed".
Smyth became the only scientist to resign from the Royal Society of London when they refused to permit him to use their platform to espouse his radical ideas.
A diagram Smyth produced for his book will be familiar to anybody who has read Charles Taze Russell's writings on the significance of the Great Pyramid in bible prophecy. According to the Pastor the Great Pyramid was nothing less than the "Bible in Stone". In "Thy Kingdom Come" Russell includes a copy of a letter from Smyth giving Russell his permission to use his diagram and measurements.
The picture below appears both in Smyth's book published in 1864 book and in Russell's in 1891.
Either by accident or design Russell actually changed one of Smyth's measurements from 3461 inches to 3416 inches when he used it to calculate the date 1874 for the "beginning of the period of trouble". When 'The End' failed to materialise Russell changed the measurement in 1910 to 3457 inches and announced a new date of 1914. Not only had Russell now corrected his transposition of earlier he also removed four inches from Smyth's measurements in order to back up his revised chronology.
Anybody who had access to Smyth's original work would have been able to see Russell's deception; deceptions which have continued unabated ever since.
The significance of Russell's pyramid-shaped tombstone has been the subject of much speculation. I think the answer is simply that it was a note of respect or homage to Charles Piazzi Smyth who died 16 years before Russell, and whose grave in St. John's Church in the village of Sharow near Ripon, England is marked by a stone pyramid.
Russell copied and misrepresented Smyth's work in life and imitated him in death.
Smyth's Tomb 1900 compared with Russell's Tomb 1916.