Elijah Howarth was born in Liverpool, 1853, the son of a labourer. At the age of 18, he began working as an assistant at Liverpool Museums. In 1876, he accepted the post of curator at the newly constructed Public Museum in Sheffield. Although only 23 at the time of his appointment and probably one of the youngest curators in the country, Howarth was already very well rounded and experienced. His exhibition work at Liverpool kickstarted the development of the Walker Art Gallery. He was a gifted art conservator, but also an expert in the sciences. He had been tutored in astronomy by John Couch Adams, a well known mathematician. In 1880, he set up and operated Weston Park Observatory and in 1882 established Weston Park Weather Station, which gained him the nickname, Elijah 'the Prophet' for his forecasting skills.
Howarth was the Curator for Sheffield museums and Art Galleries for more than 50 years. During his time, he had vastly increased the size and scope of Sheffield's collections and overseen the establishment of the Mappin Art Gallery and High Hazels Museum. He was one of 10 founder members of the Museums Association and acted as its secretary, and later it's president, for many years. He eventually retired in 1928, but even after this, he continued to operate the weather station, only stopping in 1936, once the decline of his health forced the matter. Howarth died in hospital on the 1st of April, 1938.