Baily, Francis (1774-1844) born at Newbury, April 28 1774, was a stockbroker by profession, but from early years studied astronomy. He equipped a small observatory in 1825 and revised the star catalogues of earlier astronomers. In 1836, during the annular eclipse  of the sun he detected the phenomenon known as Baily’s Beads. He died August 30 1844 (ODNB).

Blagrave, John (c.1561-1611), born in Earley near Reading andstudied at Reading School and St. John’s College, Oxford. He wrote on mathematical topics, including the use of the cross-staff and astrolabe (ODNB).

Cammell, Bernard Edward (1850-1932), born Wadsley, Sheffield, steel manufacturer and farmer resided Norton Hall, Derbyshire (1881) them moved to Folly Court, Wokingham, gentleman of independent  means (1891) Joined the BAA in 1982 and contributed some very artistic drawings of the planets using a  12-inch reflector.  Acted as director of the Mars Section of the BAA from 1893-1895, and was succeeded by EM Antoniadi. (see family tree; BAA website; ODNB)

Davis, Gideon Turner (1844-1925), born Reading, joined Liverpool Astronomical Society in 1884 and founder member of the British Astronomical Association in 1890. Author of manuscript vol., Astronomical sketches by Gideon Turner Davis of Reading and others.  Compiled in 1891 by G. Turner Davis of 13 Donnington Gardens, Reading, as a guide for novice astronomers, ‘to show what a small telescope can show in Reading’. Includes sketches of observations of the Moon, planets, comets, sunspots, stars and a nova in the Andromeda nebula, made 1877-1891, with additional observations, 1896-1897(see D/EX 1808: Berkshire Records Office).

Dunn, George (1865-1912), born Bath House, Newcastle was educated at Beaumont and Stonyhurst Colleges. Although trained in law he never practised the profession.  Inheriting large estates in both Northumberland and Berkshire from his father and he settled at Woolley Hall near Maidenhead.  Dunn  developed a taste for collecting scholarly works and pursued an interest in astronomy.  To this end he established an observatory at his Berkshire home equipped with a 15-inch refracting telescope by Howard Grubb in 1893 – later transferred to Woodside, Hepple in Northumberland under Dr Wilfred Hall (see obit. The Tablet,16 Mar.,1912,15).

Evans, Rev.Lewis  (1755-1827), born Bassaleg, Monmouthshire (see County of London).

Evans, Thomas Simpson (1777-1818), the eldest son of the mathician Lewis Evans (1755–1827), the curate of Ashbury (see County of London).

Saunder, Samuel A. (1852-1912), born in London, educated at St Paul’s School, then Trinity College, Cambridge. Mathematics master at Wellington College, Crowthorne where he taught until his death. He was a selenographer who catalogued the position of 3,000 points on the Moon. In 1908 he was made Gresham Professor of Astronomy. The crater Saunder on the Moon is named after him. After marrying in 1888 he set up home in Crowthorne in Berkshire, and purchased a 7-inch Troughton & Simms refractor for his selenography. He designed his own observatory shed with sliding roof, which served as a pattern for many other modest observatories (see Obit. Notices.., MNRAS, 73 (1913), 214-3Hockey 2007; Mary Blagg Staffordshire page, & Turner 1913).


Bruce Kingsley’s Observatory (2008- ), Maidenhead.  Equipped with an 8.5-inch With-Browning reflector of 1908 in a Broadhurst Clarkson tube, acquired by Patrick Moore from the RGO in 1953, and given to Bruce in c.2006, and restored by him.

Saunder’s Observatory, Crowthorne (1894), established by S.A. Saunder’s observatory at home, with a 7-inch refractor for his selenography (Stroobant 1907; ‘Mr Saunder’s Observatory…’, MNRAS, 62 (1902), 279-80).

William Herschel’s Observatory, Dachet & Slough – see Buckinghamshire

Societies and Organisations

Abingdon Astronomical Society (AbiAS), founded 1979. members meet at All Saint’s Methodist Church Hall, Dochester Crescent, Abingdon (OX14 2AQ).

Bracknell Astronomy (BA), founded 2011.  Members meet around Bracknell(?).

Bracknell Dark Skies Astronomy Club (BDSAC), founded (?) – appears defunct (2018).

Herschel Astronomical Society (HersAS), founded 1966.  Members hold monthly meetings at the Marten Building, Eton College, Eton, Windsor.  The society has an observatory in the grounds of Eton College housing a 6-inch Cooke refractor and a 12-inch cassegrain reflector.

Maidenhead Astronomical Society (MaiAS), founded in 1957 after the launch of Spunik.  The group meets monthly at Church Hall (aka ‘The Soltau Center’) of St James-the-Less, Stubbings, Maidenhead (SL6 6QW).

Newbury Astronomical Society (NewbAS), founded 1981 to provide the Newbury and West Berkshire area of the UK with a focal point for all those interested in astronomy.  Members meet monthly (1st Fri.) at West Berkshire Mencap Centre, off Enbourne Road, Newbury (RG14 6AT).

Reading Astronomical Society (ReaAS), founded in 1972 to help promote amateur astronomy in the Reading area.   The group with around a hundred members holds monthly lecture meetings along with monthly informal meeting dealing with basics of astronomy at St Peter’s Church Hall, Church Road, Earley (RG6 1EY).


3 Responses to Berkshire

  1. Kenelm England says:

    Addition to Davis, Gideon Turner
    (1844-1925) Born in Reading. Joined Liverpool AS 1884. Founder member BAA 1890.

    Blagrave, John (c.1561-1611) Born in Earley near Reading, he studied at Reading School and St. John’s College, Oxford. He wrote on mathematical topics, including the use of the cross-staff and astrolabe [DNB].

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