Pearson’s South Kilworth ‘Rectory’ Observatory (1829-47), established by William Pearson after he moved from East Sheen. The observatory’, was constructed as an east wing, south-facing, abutting the Rectory. He had a 3¼-inch Simms transit instrument of 44½-inch focal length, and an altazimuth circle. Having set up the Observatory he then considered what work to do since he was single-handed. He decided to re-examine a table he had drawn up from several catalogues of 520 zodiacal stars likely to occult, as being useful to navigation. In 1830 he employed Ambrose Clark as assistant, a young villager who had studied mathematics privately. Clark used the transit, and Pearson the circle. Then because of smoke pollution, he built in 1834 a purpose-built observatory at the south edge of the village, 100 yards from the Rectory. He had a large portable Jones transit instrument of 1815, a Troughton altazimuth of 1822, and a 6.8-inch 12-feet focal length Tully refractor of 1825 on a parallactic equatorial ladder mount by Dollond (1827), the first of its kind. His observations established the obliquity of the ecliptic, yielded a catalogue of stars occulted by the Moon, and led to his two volume magnus opus Practical Astronomy (1824, 1829) for which he was awarded the RAS Gold Medal. The observatory building has been converted in to a private home (Frost 2010; Howse 1986).
Societies and Organisations
Central Midlands Stargazers (CMS), founded (?). An observing group for the Central Midlands area that meet for viewing sessions near Sibbertoft, South Leicestershire.
Leicester Astronomical Society (LeiAS), founded 1952 by 1952, a number of enthusiasts who met at the Leicester Museum. Members meet monthly at John Eggleston Suite, the National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester.
Melton & District Astronomical Society (MDAS), founded in 1999, members (20-2016) meet at Gaddesby Village Hall, Gaddesby (LE7 4WF).
County Record Office
The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland,
Long Street, Wigston Magna, Leicester, LE18 2AH
Telephone: 0116 2571080