Middlesex

County Co-ordinator: Simon Bell email: si_bll@yahoo.co.uk
No of SHA members resident in Middlesex (incl. London): 8

Astronomers

Brühl, John Maurice, Count von Brüh (1736–1809), diplomatist and patron of science, at Harefield House, Harefield (ODNB).

Common, Andrew Ainslie (1841-1903), established his observatory in a shed in his garden at Ealing in 1876. Pioneering astrophotographer, and pioneer in designing equatorially mounted silver-on-glass reflectors. Sold his 36-inch reflector to Crossley for £2,500. Then made a 60-inch instrument, which ended up at Harvard (ODNB).

Everett, Alice (1865-1949), born Glasgow and educated in Belfast gaining a maths tripos degree at Girton College, Cambridge.  Employed as supernumerary computer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (1890-5), Potsdam observatory on the Carte du Ciel (1895-8) and Vassar College Observatory 1899. Later she worked on Optics under her father at Queens College, Belfast (1900-4), then the National Physics laboratory, Teddington (1917-25).  A founder member of the British Astronomical Association after being barred from joining the Royal Astronomical Society (WIKIAlice EverettBruck 1994).

De la Rue, Warren (1815-89), born Guernsey. In 1852 he obtained the first good photographs of the Moon, and in 1857 of the Sun. His photographs of the total solar eclipse of 1860 finally proved that the prominences are part of the solar atmosphere, not a lunar phenomena. Established an observatory (1849-57) at Canonbury (see London page), then at Cranford (1857-73) see below .  For the definitive and handsomely illustrated account of his astronomy (see  David Le Conte, ‘Warren De La Rue – Pioneer astronomical photographer’,AntAs, 5 (February 2011), 14-35; ODNB).

Fisher, George Rev. (1794-1873), born  Sunbury, Middlesex (See County of London for more details).

Harriot, Thomas (1560-1621), born in Oxford, the first lunar cartographer of any country. At Syon House, the Duke of Newcastle’s residence in Middlesex, “He first turned his rudamentary telescope to the Moon on 1609 July 26 – some four months before Galileo’s observations – but he did not see fit to publish his chart until the summer of 1610, by which time Galileo’s drawings of the Moon had already appeared (see: Bill Leatherbarrow, ‘The Amateur’s Moon’, JBAA, 123 [3] (June 2013), 143-150 Chart, Fig 2, p. 144. Also; Allan Chapman, ‘A new perceived reality: Thomas Harriot’s Moon maps’, Astronomy & Geophysics, 50 (Feb. 2009), 1.27-33; ODNB) – see Oxfordshire page.

Hardcastle, Joseph A. (1868-1917), William Herschel’s great grandson, was born in Harrow – see Armagh page.

Irving, Ronald Nicholas (1915-2005), born Teddington, Middlesex.  The youngest son of Horace Irving the founder of the instrument & telescope making company of H. N. Irving and Son (see Nat. archives).  After serving an apprenticeship with Ottoway at the Orion Works, Ealing London he joined the family company based in Teddington – briefly relocated to Suffolk.  Later, sole proprietor, famous in amateur astronomer circles for the craftsmanship of the telescope sold (see obit. JBAA, 116 (3), 146).

Moore, Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell, CBE FRS., Hon. Vice-Pres. SHA (1923-), was born in Pinner, Middlesex – see Sussex page.

Pigott, Nathaniel (1725-1804)– born Whitton, Middlesex, but later created an observatory, at Bootham, York (1781-85 & 1792-93). (see North Riding page).

Waters, Henry Hayden (1880-1939), born in Coventry who followed a career in the timber trade in both Liverpool and London. He had a keen interest in astronomy since his childhood, inherited from his father and became a member of Liverpool Astronomical Society and in 1908.  He then joined the BAA, serving on their council and was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1919.  Waters had a well-equipped observatory at his home in Harrow with a 5-inch Zeiss clock-driven refractor on loan from the BAA. He had particular interest in photographing meteors and an active member of the Meteor and Photographic Sections of the BAA. In 1921 he published a book Astronomical Photography for Amateurs (see Obit, MNRAS, 100, 264-5) – see Warwickshire page.

Observatories

Bishops Observatory (1861-77) [2] Meadowbank, Twickenham. Upon the death of George Bishop in 1861, the 7″ Dollond refractor on its massive Old English mount, and the dome, were taken by his son George Bishop Jnr., to his home at Twickenham. John Hind moved there initially in order to continue his own observations, then George Talmage, a 24 year-old double star observer, returned until the Observatory was closed in 1877. He was assisted from 1868-74 by William E. Plummer who had been trained at the ROG. Plummer went on to be First Assistant at the new University of Oxford Observatory of 1875. The instruments and valuable library were given to The Royal Observatory, Naples, and remain there. Dawes, William Rutter (1799-1868) – Observer at Bishop’s Observatory (1839-44).

Common’s Ealing Observatory (1876-1903), Ealing Common, established by Andrew Common in a shed in his garden, with an 18″ silvered glass reflector in 1876 (later disposed of the the Duncombe Observatory, Leeds. In 1879 he designed a 36″ mounting for a Calver mirror, and used it for astrophotography. He replaced it in 1889 with a 60″ instrument.

De la Rue’s Cranford Observatory, (1857-73), established by Warren de la Rue to house his 13″ reflector, to which he fitted a clock drive. He became a pioneering astro-photographer, designed the heliometer for Kew Observatory, and in 1873 when difficulties with his eyes compelled him to cease observing, he gave his reflector and the contents of his observatory to the new Oxford University Observatory.

Count de Brühl’s Observatory (1790-1815), established Count Brühl at Harefield, Middlesex (Howse 1986).

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