Astronomers: Kent

Coleman, William (1824-1911), born in the parish of St. Mary, of independent, he erected a private observatory at his home, ‘The Shrubbery’ at Buckland near Dover.  The observatory was furnished with an 8-inch Cooke refractor to make observations of double stars that were published by the RAS (Obit., JBAA, 21 (1911), 395-6; Obit., MNRAS, 21 (1912), 247-8).

Dawes, William Rutter [Rev.](1799-1868), born Christ’s Hospital school, London. After leaving the service of Bishop at his Regent Park Obsevatory (1839-44), he lived at both Cranbrook , and Wateringbury where he established Observatories (ODNB; Denning 1913; see County of London; Lancashire).

Darwin, George Howard (1845-1912) son of the famous biologist, Charles Darwin was born at Downe July 9 1845 and was educated at Cambridge. He became Professor of Astronomy there in 1883, working mainly on tidal theory. Knighted in 1906 he died December 7, 1912 (ODNB; see Cambridgeshire).

Herschel, Sir John (1792–1871) lived at Collingwood House in Hawkhurst for thirty years prior to his death there (see Buckinghamshire).

Hussey, Thomas John [Revd.] (1792-1854/66), born Lamberhurst, and rector of Hayes both in Kent.  Here he established a well equipped observatory with an Fraunhofer refractor, making a wide range of observations.  Due to injury he gave up astronomy in 1838, selling his observatory to the new Durham Observatory in 1841. He then moved to Algier on route to Paris but disappeared, his fate is unknown (ODNB; Hutchins 2008).

Lynden-Bell, Donald (1935- ), born Dover (see Cambridgeshire).

Main, Robert (1808-78) was born at Upnor, Kent. From Queen’s College, Cambridge, he graduated sixth wrangler in 1834, and took holy orders. Appointed Chief Assistant at the ROG 1835, served there for 25 years, then in 1860 became Radcliffe Observer in Oxford (ODNB; see County of London; Oxfordshire).

Markwick, Ernest Elliott (1853-1925), born in East Acton, Kent, an original member of the BAA, President 1912-14, Director BAA Variable Star Section 1899-1909. FRAS 1879. On his 21st birthday 19 July 1874 his parents gave him a 2 3/4-inch (8cm) refractor which remained a favourite instrument, later mounted on a Wray equatorial mount and tripod. Observatories at Devonport 1898-1903; Boscombe, Hants, 1905-14, where he added an 8.5-inch (21.6cm) altazimuth Calver reflector and 4-inch Grubb equatorial refractor; lastly ‘The Beehive Observatory’ in 1919 at his retirement home in West Moors, Dorset, just north of Bournemouth, Hants, where a Romsey Observatory housed his Grubb refractor while he observed variables with the reflector. His first recorded variable star observation was 1883, and regularly from 1888 until 1924. He was also a regular solar observer. “A very distinguished astronomer”, his Calver is on view at the Auckland Observatory, New Zealand (see Shears 2012c).

Nasmyth, James Hall (1808-90), born Edinburgh, built his business in Eccles, Lancashire, retired in 1856 to Penshurst, Kent, and established an observatory at his new home (see ODNB; Lancashire).

McClean, Frank (1837-1904), born Glasgow, educated at Cambridge, inherited money and built an observatory at Ferncliffe, 1875 (see ODNB).

Peek, Bertrand Meigh (1891 -1965), as a teacher who taught at Canterbury (see Warwickshire).

Wilding, Richard [FRAS](1842-1930) , born Preston, a Lancashire cotton producer with an interest in astronomy who to Bromley around 1900 (see Lancashire).

Francis Wollaston (1731-1815), born London (see Norfolk)

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